I remember hearing in Government Class that there was a separation between church and state. The state couldn’t interfere with the church and the church wasn’t supposed to interfere with matters of the state (government).
BY CEDRIC NELMS
In learning more about Jesus and the Gospel, it is apparent that Jesus was very much involved with matters of the state. His involvement was based on justice, righteousness, and showing that the last will be first and the first will be last in the Kingdom of God.
ONE IN A SERIES:
HOW WOULD JESUS VOTE?
On June 5th, we will go to the polls to elect people into governmental office and to affect policy. There has been this misnomer that politics and our beliefs don’t mix. For those of us that are followers of Christ, there has always been this intersection of politics, faith, and the church.
There has been this lens of looking at politics from the perspective of: “What would Jesus do?” This level of tension was seen in our last Presidential election, where white evangelicals and black evangelicals were divided between the context of who would collect their vote. Black evangelicals were questioning if their pastors were voting and leading their congregations to vote along faith lines or from a posture of privilege. This caused some evangelical churches to see an exodus of their African American congregants.
For the church of today there has to be those hills that we will stick our sword in the ground as a testament of what we have been called to do and who we follow. As followers of Christ, we have a responsibility to not forget that there are some issues that are non-negotiable when it comes to our walk with God. In the Book of Amos 5:23-24…
Take away from me the noise of your songs;
to the melody of your harps I will not listen.
But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
Amos reminds us that we have to be mindful of not getting too caught up in the activity of our way of living (power, money, privilege) and lose the heart for justice and righteousness. Justice and righteousness need to be the bookends to WHO we are as Christ followers and WHOSE we are as children of God. If we are voting based on our status, privilege, or prejudices, then we are forsaking the least of those amongst us.
As voting followers of Christ there has to be a compassionate attitude that is taken beyond the veil of the booth, that is not concerned about voting along cultural lines but voting along what is in the best interest of the marginalized. So, when we ask the question of ‘is there a way to vote as a Christian?’ The response is yes! Yes, we should be voting with the mind and heart of Christ. We should remember that God is not a respecter of person. We should remember that Jesus was not connected to a political party but was sold out to the establishment of the Kingdom of God.
Politics encompasses ALL of society, culture, race, economics, age, and gender to name a few. When we think about politics and our faith, we should look at examples from the life of Jesus. Jesus was one that came to disrupt the political climate. Jesus was one who disturbed the status quo. One of the ways that He did that was by speaking truth to power. Jesus was speaking truth to power during his turning over the tables moment in the temple. Jesus was speaking truth to power when he told the men, those of you who are without sin cast the first stone. Jesus was speaking truth to power by detouring his agenda to have a life changing conversation with the woman at the well. He gave her the living water of righteousness instead of the contaminated water of system. Jesus was speaking truth to power when He called Zacchaeus from the tree to build a relationship with him. He looked pass his height restriction to transform his condition. Jesus was speaking to truth to power when he met the woman at the well. He loved her for who she was and was not prejudice against her.
Jesus came not to be like those politicians at that time, but to redeem them through the work and attitude of the Gospel. Our politics can’t be converted to God and not be converted to the least of us. When we vote we have a responsibility to remember Luke 4:18-19.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
Remember we have some people like Zacchaeus’, some like the woman at the well, some people like the woman that committed adultery, some people that are imprisoned like Paul was, that need us to remember our faith and the one that we follow when we vote.
Rev. Cedric J. Nelms is Lead Pastor at Chosen Generation Fellowship Church. On the web: www.cjnministries.com