This blog is here to notify readers of a new post--though the discussion of the Tuesday Column is on Facebook (simply friend me there to participate)
To subscribe to the feed paste this: http://keithdrury.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
I like the attitude of 4 (I'm part of a different kingdom) with the action of 3 (If you are wrong you are wrong no matter which party you represent.That said I lead a church of roughly 100 where pretty much everyone is under 35 and I would be surprised if anyone in my church votes for Obama, or McCain for that matter and I support them in that.
How are 3 and 4 different? The only reason I ask is that my understanding is that Shane's position is more of 4.
DAVE>>> I see #4 disconnecting altogether from politics--even from any voting like the folk in AJ's church, while #3 tries to "weigh" the issues yet still votes. Both are Anabaptist approaches and you may be right that Shane is more #4?Or in a shorter answer: #4 is simple checkout while #3 is a big fat headache.
I will not do anything with them. They have a right to be wrong and it doesn't mean they are less spiritual. I don't fuss over politics in my church, just with Ken Schenck.
i "vote" for #3...but you knew that already.-dd
I'm saddened, but not surprised what perhaps 25% of the Wesleyan denomination would do to Obama voters by pushing them out of church. The traditional Wesleyan churches I've been a part of can't afford to push anyone out regardless of how they vote. We know that neither candidate is really a Christian anyway. Neither of them live the teaching's of Christ. We have seen this over and over again in their political ads. I guess the best thing to do is what I've done. My wife and I simply won't vote. We'll withdraw like your dad and let the pagans vote. But, I definately won't look at my congregation members in any different way for voting for Obama.
Since the ballot is "sacrosanct" so to speak, one might hope that after November 4th everyone will leave everyone else alone in re the issue of casting same --or not, as Pastor James chooses.Your father and mine were on the same page. Perhaps that's a good place to be.
Keith,It looks like you should have written a post about Christians who do not vote instead of this post about those who will vote for Barack Obama. For shame. I am appalled at this ignorant or apathetic attitude. I don't support Barack Obama but I will take my chances that at least 75% of you are wise enough to know that McCain is by far the lesser of the two evils. We cannot force people to change their minds, and we thus should take no course of action with that end in mind. Those who vote for Barack Obama will realize the mistake they have made - on their own - soon enough.
Nothing. At least not in the African Methodist Episcopal church! Your question probably reveals the readership of this blog.One poll suggests black voters are 95% Obama. My random, uneducated range for black church-goers would be somewhere in the 60-90% range. That puts the white evangelical % (what we're discussing) even lower (are these #s any different than 2004? I thought we were diversifying here). My church might be somewhere between #1 & 2 on your scale, but I don't think there are any McCain supporters to drive out.
How we vote is reflective of our values, and our understanding of what it means to be a Christian. Everything we do reflects what we think (whether we recognize it or not).The church should be the most inclusive group, as the Church should recognize her existence as a means of grace, which is given to "gift" the life of every person. So, why should the Church only see herself in dogmatic terms, and not as a community of dialogue over issues that matter in the "real life" of the individual, the social world of the community and the political life of the nation? Christians should seek to be educated and informed about the public issues so that it becomes clear what issues matter the most and which ones are valued enough to commit to...the political must be understood not in terms of "Christian or non-Christian", but as differences of conviction, opinion and vision. These understandings should breed an atmosphere of discussion about how Christians should be about the business of "life". Where does one fit? Where is one passionate? Where does one "connect"?Church should not be diametrically opposed to the public arena. The public arean is only the place where Christians could and should make a difference for the good...of society and for humanity.
#5. I fully expect to have people in our church vote for both candidates and that's okay. Our church will unconditionally love those that vote for McCain and those that vote for Obama and those that don't vote at all - because at the end of the day we know that God will still be on the throne, Lost people will still matter to God, and our church will still continue to reach lost people regardless of any opposition or persecution that it might encounter.I think the real problem that I'm hearing is a surprising amount of so-called "Christians" who are not voting at all. Quite frankly, my thought is that if you don't vote then you've got nothing to say about how the country is being run. It's sort of like tithing - if you don't tithe then you don't have anything to say about how the church is being run. I think we as the church need to pray about it, talk about, discuss it, chew on it, get angry, get sad, get frustrated and get over it in order to come to a decision so we can cast a vote. The church needs to take a stand in this election and in every election otherwise all were doing is just sitting on the sidelines and pouting, and pouting doesn't help anyone.
I wish people would stop calling other people "so called Christians" or using quotes around the word Christian just because they disagree with something someone says. Pastor James says, "we know that neither of them is really a Christian anyway". Wow. That is quite a bold judgment of two men who claim to follow Christ. Disagree with their politics, get fired up at other Christians you don't see eye to eye with, and so on, but for your own sake (Matt. 7:1-5) stop condemning other Christians. You ought to be ashamed of yourself...And John - Good post, but you commented about "so-called 'Christians' who are not voting at all" - some people don't vote because they sincerely do agree with #4 and last I checked following your conscience on these kinds of issues was the biblical thing to do.In all honesty, I think a church that would drive someone away for voting a certain way is a tragedy of epic proportions. That is indicative of the very evil that Jesus confronted regularly in the New Testament.My vote: #3
I guess I'm one of those 20%. I'm getting pretty tired of hearing "I don't see how a Christian can vote for Obama". If my (actually, his) kingdom were of this world, I would punch the lights out of the next person who called my faith into question over a political preference. But instead I have invited those people who want to talk about it to have a respectful conversation. Only, first, I always ask them if they are registered to vote and intend to do so. If not, we have nothing to talk about, except perhaps the need to go register (this isn't a Christian thing, it's an American thing). My pastor supports McCain and I don't and we have all kinds of discussions about politics and faith and everything else. We don't agree on quite a few things, but we love each other and do agree on the fact that we don't know or understand everything. If we want the freedom to make our own choices, then we should grant others the same right without demonizing them. That's just part of the great commandment.
I have the same experience as athada - most of my co-workers are African-American. Many will be voting for Obama. To say that a vote for Obama (and for the Democratic party) would be against the church's general flow is very telling of which church/and which subculture you are a part of.For a full presentation of both candidates' backgrounds, PBS's Frontline did a great doc called The Choice 2008. You can watch the entire program online for free...www.pbs.org/frontlineI think another interesting question would be what candidate Christians outside of America are hoping to be voted in, and why.
If we put hope in politics, we're gambling.Who knows, maybe the congress won't push their policy through! Who knows maybe both would completely change their platforms once in the Oval Office. If we have placed our hope in a politician maybe we'll be disappointed. I think we should vote, but at the same time we should actually live our beliefs. If I find abortion to be evil, I should live a life that looks to deal with this issue - voting alone isn't enough!maybe that makes me a #3? I don't know...
My answer to your question: #5 Love McCain and Obama supporters as I love myself!
If I’m reading the question correctly, “What should an evangelical church do if any of its members vote in favor of a candidate who will 1) promote and encourage laws that lead to more legal abortions; 2) select Supreme Court judges who will interpret our constitution in such a way as to protect the rights of a woman to have an abortion; and 3) help prevent by veto new legislation from being introduced that will diminish the current freedoms and constitutional rights abortionists have in killing the unborn?” If I didn’t read the question correctly, please forgive.It seems to me there could be comparable issues besides abortion. Let’s assume for a minute that the issues include slavery, euthanasia, or child pornography. For argument’s sake, let’s simply call these issues “immoral support.” With this in mind, as Christians, do we have a responsibility to the members of our local church to encourage them and train them what God’s word teaches with respect to moral issues? Also, is it important to disciple our children and new Christians in our local churches about how Christians can, or should, vote in ways that do not support “immoral support” candidates– candidates who have indicated they would promote and attempt to further immoral behavior within the context of our society? Can we stand before other Christians, or before God, and say that we have voted in support of a leader who has affirmed he/she will be an “immoral support” candidate– one who works to secure the rights of abortionists, slave-owners, suicide-assistance doctors, and propagators of child pornography? How you answer these questions may determine which approach you take with those in your local fellowship.This post really caused me to think more about the “lesser of two evils.” My wife and I debated a while on the merits of voting for the better of two candidates. My position was based on the principle that I should NOT cast a vote in support of someone whose stated platform is to further immoral support, even if both candidates are unacceptable. (Notice I spoke as if there are only two choices in America, Democrat or Republican). My wife’s position was that we shouldn’t waste a vote on someone (like a third party candidate) who obviously would lose, so we should vote for the candidate who would cause the least damage with respect to immoral support. In our case, during the primaries, when there were several choices, I voted on principle, and wasted a vote, she voted to support the better of two “top candidates,” neither of which were totally supportive of her views.In summary, this reveals two options: 1) As Christians, we have a civic obligation to vote for the best choice between candidates, even if we know there are moral shortcomings in all cases; AND/OR 2) we have a Christian obligation never to vote for someone who will lead our nation in immoral support. I’m currently leaning toward #2, and will try and disciple others in that way.If our country is in such a situation as described above, perhaps Option 5 is “Begin a new party called the Christian Party.” This would guarantee that each election, we would have a Christian candidate to vote for. He/she would not necessarily be the best qualified to lead, as has happened in the past, but would guarantee that we as Christians would never have to vote for someone who furthers immoral support.I regret to say I'm not sure I accomplished much with this comment, but it should made me think! This might make a good lesson at my church! Thanks KD!
Keith,Your analogy of watching an NFL game is a good one. It is good to participate in the process, but we cannot let ourselves become consumed by it.Even the choice not to vote should be respected, if it is done on principle. As you alluded to, there is a long tradition of political "pacifism" in parts of the Church.We spend far too much time and energy trying to tell people what to do and what not to do. Our resources would be better spent loving people and challenging them to take Jesus' call to discipleship seriously.If we can't talk about politics passionately and respectfully in the Church, then we have some serious spiritual problems.The hope for America is not either of these candidates. The kingdom is not dependent upon what happens in American politics. In fact, it doesn't even require that there be such a thing as the United States of America.As Christians, we live here and should "seek the peace and prosperity of the city." But we have a dual citizenship, and our true home is "a better country."Good post, as always.Rod
I'm of the opinion that if someone votes for Obama because they honestly believe that he is the best (or better) candidate based on their understanding of Scripture, then God bless them. It's the same with McCain. Personally, my guy dropped out a long time ago, so neither of these is my first choice by a long shot. Therefore I don't think I'll be doing anything as a pastor to show any voter "the error of their ways," regarding candidates.
I'm pleased with stuff I'm hearing from people like Greg Boyd, Shane Claiborne, and Rick Warren. I had become terribly cynical about the dogmatic voices dominating the evangelical landscape in the Moral Majority's long wake. We've turned some kind of corner.I know a number of white evangelicals (like me) who will be pulling the Obama lever. The McCain vs. Obama supporters don't necessarily disagree on moral issues. Rather, it's a matter of prioritizing certain issues over others. I'll (probably) vote for Obama not because I'm pro-choice (I'm not), but because I've weighed a whole lot of issues and decided, "This is what I think the country needs right now." Were this 2000, I'd vote for McCain hands-down.How I vote won't matter in my local church. But being an official in a conservative evangelical denomination....
It's funny -- most of these posts are by pastors or leaders in churches and they say they won't do anything to dissuade people one way or the other. The pastors and leaders in my church would say the same exact thing. However, the way they act is quite different.Now, I don't want to throw stones or anything - I agree that I should not be judging because I am being judged. But, there is a certain amount of belief not lining up with action in most conservative, evangelical churches.For example, last year, I went to a pastor at my church and asked to lead a small group on faith-in-action (a social justice group). I was told that wasn't what the church was looking for. I then went to the head pastor later and asked about doing some ministries dealing with the hurting and forgotten in our community, dealing with issues that really plague my community. He told me he'd get back to me. That was six months ago (I've followed up twice).The whole time I am trying to do this, I kept hearing from the pulpit and leaders things that made me very uncomfortable, saying that we were a welcome church while praising those who instigated wars (as a pacifist, this is bothersome) and talking about money in a way that advocated an explicitly Conservative, Republican mindset. This has also been an issue with denominational officials I have had to deal with in my ordainment process - basically telling me to keep some of my concerns to myself.This is a long post, but it's really to say that we need to evaluate our actions in light of our words. Are we saying we welcome all people while really saying only one political ideology is correct? Are we silencing those who different ways of reading and thinking about their faith, even if it still evangelical and orthodox? I think the fact that Keith had to add the note to the end of the post makes me question whether we do, or even can.
Brownie - are you kidding me? Way to make this a one-issue election! Are you Jerry Falwell in disguise? I tried to make sense of your comment, but gave up after three tries. Not to be rude, but I kind of hope you do waste your vote by voting for someone besides Obama or McCain.Pastor Rod - I think you present a good perspective. I'm glad you are a pastor at a church. Crawford - Sound like you need to go to a new church if there is that much of a chasm between what you want to do and are able to do. Seriously! And listen, you may not be getting the response you want, but don't blame everyone else for not doing something you feel like God is calling you to do! And for job security it's probably not highly advisable to write things like that in a public setting. It's tiresome to hear people complain about how those in leadership don't care or don't allow people to do something - just do it! Don't sit around waiting... act! I'm hopeful you're doing things already, but your comments are indicative of so many young people who get pissed off at so many older people that they're not doing more to support them or their causes. Just do something noteworthy and YOU become the leader! Start changing things in your local community and all of a sudden YOU are the one with some authority. And if the opposite happens - if they drive you out of town - at least you know you did the right thing. Otherwise you just come across as a sniffling suburbanite priviledged kid who has some nice ideals. Go change the world! I'm confident that you can!Peace,Ernie
Hmmm...there a surprising number of political comments, and few actually based on Coach's question, though Nate, I don't think you should ever have to sit down and shut up about social justice in any Wesleyan denomination! Are there any church plants within driving distance?Anyway, Coach, I think that what layleaders/pastors can ask, is this: what values are my congregants voting on? What appeals to them about those values? To what extent are those values part of the Christian faith? And what cultural cues should my church take from the professed values of the diverse voters in my congregation? Finally, why is this important to me as a leader?You'll see people caring about unplanned pregnancies and adoption (the flip side of abortion), about being good stewards of God's creation (the environment), feeling called to work with soup kitchens (one small portion of social justice), people wanting to start free health clinics (social justice), those who wish to collect care packages for soldiers (national security), and others who want to help save each other money by carpooling to church (the economy). Surely the Wesleyan church not only has room for all these parts of the body, surely it celebrates the fact that the eye can never say to the ear, I don't need you. Because no matter what one thinks the role of government is, the role of the church is abundantly clear: to minister to all the abovementioned groups.One of the most important roles of church leaders? Discerning the passions in your people, demonstrating the Kingdom connection, and giving them everything they need to live out their particular calling, as layperson or clergy. Actually, election time is a great time to discern the concerns in your congregation and harness them to reach out to your community!Well! What an opportunity! Time to recruit! After all, Wesley's best selling writing?...medical advice! Who knows what God would like to do with the variety of callings, passions, gifts and degrees sitting in your pews!!
I just got around to catching up on posts... I apologize to several of you for pruning your posts--they were good political posts but were wandering away from the topic of how THE CHURCH might handle voters who don't line up with how most [white] evangelicals vote... Let's stick with the church in posting--and stay out of political debating here (there are plenty of other blogs where that can be done)...
Ernie,You completely miss the point of my post...my goal was not to rip on my local church, but to give examples of a local church (and a predominant one in the Wesleyan Church) has handled people who embrace/ endorse Obama and more politically liberal ideals. My point was to argue that many churches - like mine - say that they embrace all of these positions (what has mostly been articulated here), but then act and speak in a way that does not, and even drives people like me out of the church.Now, onto your rant about me personally as some "suburbanite kid." This upset me greatly initially as you seem to know little to nothing about me (like the fact that currently I teach in the most diverse neighborhood in America). And, I just want to say, that because I place church unity at such a high place, and have committed to being in and part of the Wesleyan Church, I do not want to do anything to break that unity. It seems to me rash to break off from the church to act when there is no one to act with. Thus, I keep going to my church leaders and making the argument - when the church is ready for change (something I cannot force), then I will be there to help lead and guide. Until then, I can't drag it anywhere, nor would I as it could destroy the unity of the church.
I expect the leading group of Obama voters in white evangelical churches to be the non-boomer pastors. I wonder if the divide won't be between people and pastors, or between lead pastors (who tend to be boomers) and younger staff pastors?
The Sunday before election day I will mention to my people that I really want them to go out and vote. I dont want to ever know who they will vote for (even though I have a pretty good idea depending on the person) but that it is their right to do so and that is how they have a voice in our government.I will tell them that I want them to vote based on their beliefs and what they find important. Some of them will do their homework but most will not. So I guess thats #3? But after the election, I will stress #4...the idea that it might be a different President, but God never changed.
I would be totally shocked if anyone in our church (Pilgrim Holiness) would be voting for Obama. However, if Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution party were on the ballot here in NY, some might be voting for him.
Crawford - You're right that I know nothing about you. For all I know you're an inner-city minority who fought his way into college and somehow ended up at a Wesleyan church while completing a PhD... if so, my hat is off to you. My comment was just based on the fact that you sounded a little bit like so many privileged kids from the suburbs who whine about how people older than them don't see things the way they do and don't support them enough and sometimes let that get in the way of doing what they think is the right thing. I wasn't saying that was you necessarily, but your post definitely sounded a little bit like that to me.I agree with you that what many churches (and their leaders) say and do is very different - from how they treat people voting for someone other than their favorite candidate to just about everything else. I think the underlying issues to the problems you bring up are hypocrisy and laziness... a pretty ugly combination.I can respect your desire to keep unity and change the organization from within it. I just hope you don't sacrifice your own convictions too much to do that. I guess the bottom line of my intitial response to you is that it's just hard for me to picture someone NOT meeting evident needs because their boss/pastor says no. There is probably more to your situation than that, but at face value of what you said just sounds crazy to someone like me. You seem like you have great intentions and are making a difference. I don't mean to discourage that in any way. You also seem like a very smart person, with a big heart, so please just hear this as some push-back to what you said and nothing against your motives or character. I have strong opinions, but a big heart as well and wouldn't want to upset you. Sincere apologies if I did. -Ernie
i like tim hawk's answer
I like to post-election flavor to this question because it makes me think of the pre-election fervor... and knowing KD's tendency to write columns with a "flip" in them I am surprised that no one has commented on this. Is Keith really asking - What has our treatment of Obama supporters been like in the days leading up to the election??? Have we actively driven them out of the church, helped them see the error of their ways, or encouraged them not to vote? Maybe by posting the question as a prospective one he is encouraging retrospective reflection as well.Option 5 - just accept them as they are.Option 6 - watch as they convert the rest of the church (well maybe up to 80%).Option 7 - split the church - have one for people who vote democrat and another for people who vote republicanMy church will take the "get out and vote, but we do not endorse any particular candidate" approach.
For the record - my earlier post was sort of a joke. I live in Canada so...
I found my thoughts on this topic neatly expressed by Thomas Sowell in his column dated October 20, 2008."Telling a friend that the love of his life is a phony and dangerous is not likely to get him to change his mind. But it may cost you a friend." - Thomas Sowell
The most legitimate reason I have heard why Christians want to vote for Obama, is that they see that there are needs in the world around us that is not being met. For the McCain supporters, I believe that the second* most legitimate reason Christians give is to limit government and taxation (*obviously abortion is the first reason). The Church should recognize that there has been a lack of action within the church and that we have fallen short. So as the Church, we should take advantageof the desire that the Obama supporters have to impact our world for Christ through practical applications of the Gospel (and I hope that the McCain supporters should desire to join them - NOT JUST FINANCIALLY).
I would suggest this for option #5:The church should reach out and embrace these (genuine) evangelicals and say, "Thank God that you are active in the Democratic party upholding values central to the Kingdom like God's concern for the poor and vulnerable." Might we consider that Obama supporters are voting for him precisely because of biblical values? They will become a part of this political community and influence its other policies (such as abortion or education)in more Christian directions.In terms of the church -- The Body has many parts, does it not? We are not all an eye or a foot (at least Paul didn't think so). Of course, citing Paul just shows us that these issues of division are not new (perhaps the immediate causes are particular, but the issue of preserving unity is not). I would say that the church should rejoice in the positives of what Obama supporters are trying to do and not impugn them for things that might very well trouble them about Obama as well. So, I would say that the church should have the wisdom and humility to recognize its diversity as a Body and encourage all of its members to be active in a variety of public arenas, holding up a variety of Christian values.
Maybe we'll learn how to "be the church" in unity and diversity. But, on the other hand, there seem to be a lot Christians out there who are partisan in their political views. I've been wondering about this for awhile.Are the ties of Christ and the unity of his Body greater than our ties to politics? I've literally had three fairly solid believers say to me, "A Christian cannot vote for a democrat"... and I wonder, have we allowed political affiliations to usurp Christ? I think this attitude is closer to #2 on your list, Keith
Well I guess I am lost as to why the church needs to do anything with them. Since when does casting a vote one way or the other or not at all as, I am doing, have anything to do with your place in or out of the church. Plenty of people who vote on on both sides are not in the church at all. (I guess I took the hook and got stuck thinking and conversing about this crazy stuff)
OK I will close off this discussion now... I just pruned the list again--it was very difficult to keep the conversation on the church's response and I left some comments I should have deleted. I should know better ;-)I'll move into economics next week and maybe we Can keep from McCain-ing or Obama-ing all discussions (though I have read next week';s column and maybe that will be impossible too.)
I have come into this conversation WAY late, but I just read Keith's column for the first time a few minutes ago.Personally, I feel as though approach #4 is what I will be taking. I used to get involved in trying to persuade people at church about the direction I thought politics should go. But several years ago, I realized that I should be more apt than not to be on the losing side of political issues because the Bible says that the ways of Jesus go against the ways of the world. Therefore, unless a majority of the electorate has experienced regeneration through Jesus Christ, I should not expect that issues should be voted on by that electorate in a way that best represents Christianity.Then, you have to deal with the fact that more often than not, true Christians may differ on issues, and also--especially when it comes to specific candidates--each person running for a particular office may be a supporter of one seemingly "Christian" viewpoint but not another, while the opposing candidate views both of those same issues in the opposite way.For example, in this current Presidential election, one candidate is more for stopping the war in Iraq but does not want to limit abortion, while the other candidate opposes abortion but wants to keep U.S. forces in Iraq as long as necessary.Some Christians view the Iraq situation and war as the greater issue, while other Christians view the killing of unborn babies as the greater issue. There is no Biblical basis I know of to show that either side is more right than the other.In the end, I don't see the world coming around to side with Christianity. Instead, we as Christians are to shine the light of Christ in a world full of darkness.Don't misunderstand me--I absolutely believe that Christians should take part in the electoral process. But at the same time, we need to understand that we shouldn't expect to hold the majority opinion.
Without saying which way I'm voting (won't be too hard to figure out), we'll love both groups of voters, continue to promote biblical principles that will align with aims on both sides and conflict with aims on both sides, and let the chips fall where they may. We celebrate Justice Sunday in January by promoting life issues, civil rights issues, and fighting injustice and poverty. We tend to believe life is the fundamental right, but nobody is rejected at church for their politics.
This is interesting. Our church just had a intentional discussion of how we learn to respect those who disagree with us politically. It was really good to give people freedom to vote their conscience without feeling condemned. I find that having a balance in our church of Republicans and Democrats helps keep everybody aware of the important issues on both sides of the aisle. Republicans remind Democrats of the importance of standing up for truth and fighting for the rights of the unborn. Democrats remind us Republicans of the need to stand up for the poor and oppressed and to have more grace for those we disagree with. It starts with the pastor and makes its way down and you have to be intentional in demanding that everybody respects each others views. As a body we can then demonstrate to those outside the church what healthy disagreements look like wihout name calling and judgement.
The final National Exit polling is now in on how evangelicals voted.If you drop out all African-Americans or Catholics who call themselves "Evangelicals" and take only White Protestant Born-Again/Evangelical 26 % voted for Obama... one out of four four.If these polls are accurate then the original question in this article turned out to be quite relevant.
I don't like any of them because at the end of the day you are specifically addressing favoritism in someone. If I had to choose one I would take #3 and let the congregation decide the lesser of two evils. However, I believe churches are slowly orienting towards a congregation that is characterized by the senior pastor's personality. As a senior pastor I would say, "I'm not speaking for you, but I am speaking for this church".... and then explain how I stand on topics. I would stick with topics and my own stance and let people draw their own conclusions to whom I'm voting for.- Side Note: sorry it took me so long to get on here Coach... look forward to future conversations.
Post a Comment