Tuesday, April 20, 2004
I heard a great line this morning. It was "great" because it dealt severely with two almost completely different things in my mind: politics on one hand, and the state of Christianity in America on the other. I'm having a terrible time looking up a reference - I heard it on the radio this morning, so it's already a third-person quote supposedly from last night's Nightline, and I'm not quite ready to pay for a transcript of something that might not be there anyway. If I find who said this, I'll update and give credit where it belongs. Also, I'm going to paraphrase as it stuck in my head, since no one repeated it and with all the voice between me and the original commentator, there's probably a few mistakes in the wording. Whew.
Here it is: "The President calls on God, not for direction, but for support [my paraphrase]."
Politically, that's probably a pretty fair assessment of most folks running for office, and I've got a real problem with that. The current "Jesus movement" is as much about cultural capitalism as anything else, and if you mention Christian things you're probably trying to grab votes and/or donations. I don't doubt that President Bush does call on the Lord for guidance and direction - I hope beyond hope that he's saved and has a solid relationship with the Lord. But at the same time, political machinations tend to take the heart and soul out of a person, and relying on God "for support" of our own ill-conceived and self-serving plans is far from the love relationship God is constantly pursuing with us.
Which brings me to "the other hand" - the state of Christianity in this country. That statement is an indictment against the Church as much as it's a slam against the President. Most, if not all, of us rely on God more for support than for guidance. I know that's a broad generalization, and I hate painting with that brush. But even those of us who have a good grasp on the particulars are probably still more apt to look for God for provision and protection above direction and impulse. It's not that we don't seek God's ways; it's just that we are still self-serving people, doing our own thing and claiming it's godly and divinely inspired (honestly, I hear some "plans" where the folks say, "God told us to do this", and I just want to say, "which god?!?"). Or we get caught up in doing something willfully sinful, trusting that His mercy might somehow triumph over His wrath because "we're not perfect, we're forgiven."