Friday, November 10, 2006

About the Election: We should quit pointing fingers and start looking in the mirror!

This post is in response to Dr. Dobson’s letter he posted on Citizenlink yesterday.

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While it was indeed tragic Christians stayed at home and let even worse politicians take control of Congress, we now need to assess the situation and find real answers to how this could have happened.

On one hand, there’s a side of me that says that Dr. Dobson’s letter was SPOT ON! Similar to the reason offered in the letter by Dr. Ken Hutcherson, let me first offer an explanation in this slightly self-righteous fashion:

“When the party that purports to represent socially-conservative values does not aggressive represent those values enough once in office, then there is a tendency for the social-conservative base that put them in power to become disenfranchised and stay at home come election time.”

Stated more simply, the problem for the loss in this fall’s election could be leveled at moderate Republicans usurping control of the party at large.

On the other hand, I think it is healthier – and more accurate – for us who call ourselves followers of Christ to consider whether we (the Church) are mainly to blame for the losses in the 2006 Elections.

Let the facts speak for themselves: According to figures from Focus on the Family, somewhere between 30 to 49 million self-identified Christians failed to take the time to vote in the 2000 Presidential election. The numbers were slightly better in 2004, but obviously far worse this year. I humbly ask, “When are we going to stop blaming other people – in this case, the party of the Republicans (namely, those who make up the moderate, non-social-conservative wing) – and start asking ourselves whether we are the true guilty party?” We can make whatever party better – whether Democrat or Republican, or both -- if we simply get equipped, engage, and be change agents.

Moreover, indiscretion at the top of the evangelical kingdom exposed Ted Haggard as a fraud just before the election. Sure, we can blame the other side for possibly holding the story for political reasons until right before our nation voted. But it wasn’t as if they made up this “November surprise”. The real problem was with us. We did not hold our leadership accountable. We are to blame for this blow-up and subsequent fall-out. I don’t think it was a coincidence that the last two Focus broadcasts right before this story broke centered on our need for repentance and humility. One thing is clear after taking a close look at history: if we don’t humble ourselves, God will do it for us!

Our prideful attitudes also led us into a willful and epidemic state of ignorance and complacency concerning issues that really matter to God. Christians need to admit, for example, that we are woefully ignorant regarding vital disciplines of a Christian worldview such as with the basics understanding of politics. We saw it manifested by misapplied righteous indignation towards poor Republican leadership in Washington. We should have taught bad Republicans a lesson in the spring primaries by replacing them with good Republicans. Instead, we failed to recognize the right time to discipline. We waited too long and resorted to teach them a lesson in the fall general elections. This misapplied anger hurt us more than them, by allowing even worse (liberal) leadership to take their place. The liberals are now laughing all the way to Congress by our miscues.

Don’t get me wrong; I commend those in the church, like Dobson, who worked tirelessly on behalf of the unborn, marriage, and other transcendent values that made this country so great. However, let us not forget: we are not just individuals, but a community of faith. We have failed. We must regroup. We must repent.

This election is just the latest sign of not only our times, but of our corporate hearts in the church today. We, in the American church today, have demonstrated that we are a stiffed-neck people who constantly worship the gods of convenience, worldly success, and the right to be entertained, more then we do in defending and promoting right things! We know more about our stock-market portfolios, the latest car models, and the latest hot pop-culture trends, than we do about learning the important points of life that Jesus stressed to us. We need to repent – that is, have a major change of mind and a major change of heart! We need to wake up and start doing what pleases the Lord! (Parenthetically speaking, this includes me! So the next time you see me doing something that goes against Scripture, love me enough to tell me so! Hopefully, I will appreciate you for it.) We who believe in Truth must spread this Truth to others. The Truth will set us free and bring forth life to all who believe in it. Bringing more of heaven to earth will only happen when we quit blaming others and start looking in the mirror!

In summary, I believe the problem with last Tuesday’s election wasn’t with a failure within the leadership of the Republican Party, as it was with a failure within the leadership of the Church. We must admit our mistakes and learn from them, so we don’t shoot ourselves again in the foot as we did last Tuesday. Until we Christians turn from our lives of idolatry and self-centeredness, and begin to lead lives of true sacrifice for the cause of righteousness, this world will continue to slide into the abode of darkness with many casualties along the way.

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