In the last couple of weeks I have had to place blogging on hold and give priority to other matters. I hoped to write a few more posts in this series but at this point, time just does not permit. So, just a few days from the election, here I will offer my last post in the "NOT Voting: A Christian Perspective" series. Links to all of the previous posts in this series are at the foot of this post. Here then, is the final point I wish to make:
Point #13: The "Kingdom of God" and the "United States" are not synonymous.
I raise this point because as of late, I have heard many folks actually fall into the trap of equating or nearly equating the two. This is evident in rhetoric that acts as if the next president is "God's man" or depending on who gets chosen, we will either end up with a type of political "messiah" or "antichrist." Such views are terribly problematic and very flawed.
First of all, God's chosen man is Jesus. From a Christian perspective, there is just no arguing this point down. Jesus is the Messiah of God. This title cannot rightly belong to anyone else. Further, while the incarnation of Jesus was fully surrounded by the politics of Jesus' day, his intentions in coming were not strictly political. In fact, in John's Gospel (and in passing in Mk too) when the people tried to "make Jesus their king" (e.g. political messiah or political leader) we learn that he refused. He taught them that this is not why he came. Instead, as we have already seen in this series, in Mk, we learn that he came "to serve and not to be served." He did not come to rule with an iron fist or gain as much political clout or power that he could; he was not in the business of "lording it (power) over people" and he forbade his disciples from having this agenda as well.
In the same way that God's chosen man is not and never will be the president of this country, neither is America God's chosen nation/people. In the Old Testament we learn that God's chosen people are named "Israel." In the New Testament (Gal 6) we learn even more about this, namely, that this "Israel" is called God's Church or the "New Israel of God." Today, many Christians living in America have gotten things terribly terribly confused. They have essentially replaced the messiah with the president, the chosen people with American nationality, and the primacy of serving others and not jockeying for political power over them with those very things.
In short, many people have placed their nationality before their spiritual identity. Our identity in Christ should always come first, no matter what. God's Kingdom, or better yet and less confusingly, God's reign, is over God's people. And his people willingly and joyfully submit to him and follow him and strive to imitate him. Imitating the king means thinking, speaking, feeling, and living as he lived. It means serving others; it means loving others; it means not lording political power over others; it means placing your faith where it belongs, namely, in Jesus, and not in others. Frankly, that's the point I've been making over and over again in different ways throughout this series. Further, that's more of the reason I will not cast a ballot in this election. For those of you who are on the fence, why not join me in using your witness for the Kingdom of God instead of placing trust in the rulers of this world who have run campaigns based on anger, hate, lies, and corruption? Why not wash your hands of engaging in evil by resisting the temptation to vote for a lesser of two evils (see the first post for more on this!)? Why not?
(Please NOTE: I am currently taking a break from Facebook and will NOT be commenting on responses to this post made there.)