- Scribbling Journal: Entry 2
- Jesus Wept: A Short Theological Reflection on Grief
- Being Human
- Short Reflections on Christian Politics
- Scribbling Journal: Entry 1
Happy New Year!
Voting as a Christian is hard. Why? Because (as I’ve argued in a previous post) how you engage in politics is a part of your worship. This means four things. First, it means that who you vote for is an expression of your faith, your place in, and your vision of God’s Kingdom. Second, who you vote for expresses your love towards your neighbour and the world around you. Third, who you vote for expresses your love towards God. Fourth, not only does voting impact the world around you, but it also forms and transforms you inwardly. For some Christians, this makes voting easy (whoever is pro-life, right?). For me, it complicates it. Gone are the days when I could pick a single issue and vote with it in mind. Gone are the days when I could make fun of politics (though I still do that) and not care about who influences our nation. Voting matters because, as James K. A. Smith says:
The call to follow Christ, the call to desire his kingdom, does not simplify our lives by segregating us in some “pure” space; to the contrary, the call to bear Christ’s image complicates our lives because it comes to us in the midst of our environments without releasing us from them.– James K. A. Smith in Awaiting the King
As my faith and theology mature, voting becomes increasingly tricky. If voting profoundly impacts the world around me (including myself), then my vote can’t be taken lightly. Add to that the lack of reasonable candidates to vote for is the perfect recipe for a Lamentations part II. No matter who I vote for, I compromise on something. Do I care for the unborn? Of course. Outstanding, but voting for a party with anti-abortion policies means I have to compromise on climate change policies (and the lives climate change affects around the world) and vice versa. There’s always a trade-off, and I hate that this is the reality in which we live. Trying to love one group of neighbours means I have to neglect the other groups. I understand why some people avoid politics altogether (not a luxury we have in Australia). So what do we do? Do we abstain from voting (illegal in most cases in our country)? Do I donkey vote (that feels like a waste of a vote)? Do I vote for independents and hope for the best (does that ever make a difference)? What is the appropriate Christian response here? There’s no clear answer, to be honest. However, there are perhaps a few things to consider before giving up on the system altogether. Nationwide change, where God’s kingdom comes and His will is done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:9-13), begins within the Christian, then in the church, and then extends into the world.
Whatever you do during this election, just remember to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself” (Luke 10:27).