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NOT Voting: A Christian Perspective, Pt. 11


So far in this series I have made 10 points in relation to NOT voting.  Before moving on to the eleventh point, I think it will be good to bring to memory the previous ones.  I will simply include today's point at the end of the list (click on any of the "points" to open those links).  Here it is:

Point #1:  Choosing between the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil.
Point #2:  NOT voting can be a VERY American thing to do.
Point #3:  Being a good citizen, even a politically active citizen, is not confined to voting.
Point #4:  Voting has the potential to divide the church.
Point #5:  Voting can cause you to compromise your deepest held beliefs.
Point #6:  Voting has the potential to become idolatrous.
Point #7:  Voting has the potential to be blasphemous.
Point #8:  Voting in this election would actually silence or negate my voice and views.
Point #9:  This election is a gross misrepresentation of politics in action.
Point #10:  Even politicians abstain from voting at times.

Point #11:  Voting is often a means of trying to dominate/have power over others.

At the core of Jesus' life on earth was a servant mentality.  This is not only explicit in the fact that he gave his life for others, but also in his claim that he came to serve others.  In fact, these two are brought together in Mk 10:45 where Jesus himself says, "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."  I think that having a look at the few preceding verses really drives the point home that Jesus was not a power-monger who sought to dominate others.  These words also provide the basis and template for how Jesus' followers should think and act when it comes to power and relationships.  Let's look at the larger literary context:

"Jesus called them together and said, 'You know that those who are regarded as the rulers of the Gentiles lord it (power) over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.  Not so with you!  Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mk 10:42-45)

This directive from Jesus comes on the heels of several of the disciples arguing about and contending for the seats of distinction and authority and power in God's coming Kingdom.  Of course, throughout Mark's story we see such discussions take place on a few occasions (cf. Mk 9:33-34 and 9:38-41).  One of the morals of the story here is that Christians are not to be power-hungry so that they might lord that power and authority over others.  This is not to say that Christians cannot be in positions of power and authority, instead, the point is that seeking power with the intent not to edify others but to dominate others is not something Jesus would do or sanction!  Jesus expressly forbids this.

When I look at the atmosphere of divisiveness created by this election, I see persons attempting to gain power over others.  Just last night in an interview, Obama said that one of his goals was to get as many Democrats in the White House for as long as possible.  If you have listened at all to Mitt Romney, he says just the opposite as he vies for Republicans.  Their drive is to keep power on their side; they want to have dominance and rule over the other side; they want to call the shots.  Unfortunately, so many Christians seem to sideline their "Christianity" during elections like this one and they buy into the rhetoric and hype of power and dominance.  Jesus said to his followers, however, "Not so among you!"  Why do we fail to listen?

One last thing:  Just last night, during Obama's interview with Jon Stewart (he was on Letterman too), the last words of the current president were, "There is no excuse not to vote."  Stewart echoed that sentiment saying, "That's for sure!"  I hope it is clear that what I have been offering up in this series is not a string of excuses but rather, some reasoned responses as to why Christians might abstain from casting a ballot.  As I have suggested here, one of those reasons is that I do not wish to attempt to lord power over others via my own political leanings.  I hope many others will begin to think along these lines as well.

(Please NOTE: I am currently taking a break from Facebook and will NOT be commenting on responses to this post made there.) 

Other posts in this series: Pt. 1Pt. 2Pt. 3Pt. 4Pt. 5Pt. 6Pt.7Pt. 8Pt. 9, Pt. 10