WHY I TRY NOT TO BE DISTRACTED BY POLITICS
I have a wonderful friend, Glenn Brown. Glenn is 94 years old. I met him when I was the Interim Pastor of Monument Presbyterian Church, Grand Junction, Colorado. Glenn has been in ministry all his adult life. He loves Jesus so much and his only motivation is to see people fall madly and passionately in love with Jesus. Our hearts beat on the same wavelength. He faithfully writes a monthly newsletter. This post is a reprint from his July 2021 newsletter. I was particularly taken with this particular article. I wrote and asked him if I could print it as a guest blog. He was very gracious and said that he would be pleased to be featured on my blog. His contact information is located at the end of the blog.
Jesus was born into a social and political situation that is hard for us to imagine. His little country had been conquered and enslaved by the mighty Roman empire. Rome installed an evil king, Herod, who was known for his cruelty. He slaughtered the innocent babies in the village of Bethlehem, and later he murdered his own wife and two sons because he thought his rule was threatened.
The great majority of Jews, even the Bible scholars, were sure that when the Messiah came he would be a political and military leader like King David who would lead the nation to rise up, with God’s help, and liberate the chosen people from the awful shackles of occupation and slavery.
When Jesus showed up, they tried time and again to make Him their King. He tried to explain that God had something different in mind - an inner, spiritual Kingdom, the Kingdom of God. Even his closest disciples who heard Him preach for three years did not understand. “Lord, when you become King, can my brother and I sit at your right and left hand and help you rule the nation?”
One of the 12 was Simon the Zealot. The Zealots are defined as: “A Jewish revolutionary group violently opposed to Roman rule over Palestine.” A generation after Jesus’ death and resurrection, the Zealots finally had their way. They convinced the nation to rise up in rebellion against the hated Romans. So in 70 AD, Roman General Titus led an army that destroyed the nation of Israel, killed over a million Jews, destroyed the temple, tore down the wall around Jerusalem, and led most of the surviving citizens out of the land to be dispersed throughout the world for the next 2,000 years.
As a reward for his military victories, General Titus became Emperor of Rome, and his son, Domitian, also became Emperor and was one of the persecutors of the early Christian church.
I don’t think that God’s plan has changed and that He wants you and me to bring in a political kingdom. But it appears to me that the spirit of the Zealots has infected our nation and a lot of Christians believe that, “My political party is the godly party, and the other political party is the evil, demonic party. So being faithful to God means that I have to focus my influence, time and money on politics. We have to win - - - for God!”
Why do we Christians try so vehemently to attain political power? Don’t we realize that Christ could have chosen power, He could have called out legions of angels, but He chose the way of weakness and vulnerability? Power corrupts. Am I saying that we should abdicate our role as citizens and not fight for Christian values? No, but we need to be careful how we go about it. If our political struggle leads us to hate people, vilify them, curse them, talk about them as if they are evil, then we are following the way of the devil, not the way of Christ. “Our enemy is not flesh and blood.”
Consider: the persecuted, powerless church always won more converts than the powerful, victorious church. In a slow, incremental process, the persecuted church won out over the mighty Roman empire. But once the church became dominant, then came the reign of the mighty Popes with their pageantry, their political power, their armies and eventually their Inquisition to torture those who didn’t bow down to their god (no longer the God of the Bible). We don’t believe in a Pope over the church, but we lust to have a political Pope
who will crush those godless heathens that don’t believe in our God. This path leads eventually to religious wars in which we kill our enemies.
When I go out yard-saling on Fridays, I don’t ask people how they voted and try to recruit them to the correct side, God’s side. I talk to them about Jesus. Jesus is the Savior, not the leader of a political party. Jesus is the one who rescued me from the sins and addictions that were destroying my life. He is the one who gave my life meaning and purpose. He is the one who gave me eternal life.
Jesus gave us our marching orders in The Great Commission and The Great Commandment:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:29)
“Go into all the world and make disciples, teaching them to obey everything I commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19)
Paul wrote to the church folks at Corinth, ”I’m afraid that your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” (2 Cor. 11:3) Please, dear friends, don’t get distracted from what is primary.
Glenn Brown 441 ½ Lark Drive Grand Junction, Colorado 81504 Telephone: 970-434-1377 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org