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Church, Politics, and the Shutdown

October 3, 2013

What do church, politics, and the government shutdown have to do with each other? More than you may think of at first glance.

As I watch the argument continue in Washington DC, and an argument is what it is, I see some parallels with how many churches have handled their problems before. For example, in DC the two parties have dug their heels in looking for victory instead of consensus. Each wants their position to stand victorious without giving any concessions to the other side. While the media will spin it one way or another, the reality is there is an argument going on where no one listens to anyone – even when they are speaking common sense.

How often do church meetings, whether denominational or local level, look like Washington DC? One side believes they are right and have the Bible on their side, whereas the other side believes they are correct and the Bible is on their side. The reality is neither is correct because the authors of the Bible speak against this sort of divisive behavior. They speak of unity and of consensus.

While we, the church, is reviling the drama unfolding in Washington this week, we must ask ourselves this question: What role do we play in this? Let’s skip the obvious thought in which we were the voters who elected the people involved in this standoff and look deeper. Has the American Church provided an example of a higher road, the road of dialogue and consensus followed up with support? Not usually. We hear of church meetings gone wild. Fights, church splits, and other violence make themselves into the media and prove the church is no different from any other part of society.

For the church to change the world we must start by behaving differently. It is easy to waggle our self-righteous fingers at Washington but we don’t behave much better. So, as we watch this saga continue to unfold, let’s start changing our behavior so it can be an example for others. Let our churches be a place of dialogue, sharing, and listening. And when a consensus is reached, it can be proven correct or wrong by everyone putting their support to it and let it play out. Once we do this in our walls, then we have authority to expect others to do the same.

Want to change Washington, then we need to start on our house.

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