Sunday, September 07, 2008

Political Perspective from Greg Boyd...

I don't know about you, but this election is wearing on me. Don't get me wrong, I'm engaged in the latest happenings, watching as many of the speeches and highlights as my schedule allows. I feel the gravity surrounding this particular election in relation to our country's current state of affairs and history, and I'm definitely going to vote. But as the campaigning roars on, I'm increasingly realizing the inherent brokenness of our political system. It's irreconcilably polarized. Substantive dialogue is consistently drowned out by the "us vs. them" blabber. I realize that this is the "beauty" of democracy and that alternative systems of governance produce a far grimmer outcome... but that doesn't erase my disappointment with my fellow countrymen's failure to acknowledge and respect "the other."

Author Greg Boyd recently wrote a post at his site regarding politics that resonated with me. If you claim to pursue the way of Jesus (and even if you don't), I'd recommend reading Boyd's thoughts. It articulates a refreshing [and greatly needed] element of perspective:

"True Believers" and the Religion of Politics [excerpt]

I call them “true believers” (a phrase coined by Eric Hoffer). You see it in their teary eyes, their wide smiles, their intense frowns, their enthusiastic poster-waving. They’ve heard every canned phrase a thousand times before, yet applaud as though it was a new revelation each time it’s repeated. “America is the last, best hope of the world!” “Country first!” “We’re going to change the way things are done in Washington!” “We’re going to keep America safe.” “Our opponents say… but we know…” “We have the answers and our opponents just don’t get it.” “God bless America!”

The true believers passionately embrace all this. The hope of the nation and even the world hangs in the balance — if only they can win. It’s almost as if these sincere folks have forgotten that these exact same sentiments, hopes and dreams — almost always in the name of “God and country” — have been around since the dawn of human history. It’s almost as if these committed devotees have forgotten that these same sentiments, hopes and dreams have fueled most of the bloodshed throughout history.



Yard said...

Good article. The correlation between religious hype and political rallies is a little disconcerting. I would even add a third to the mix, celebrity worship. We're always after a savior, and it seems that people will find something to be that savior, as Greg suggests.

So (sorry to take this a different direction) what do you think of the bloggersations (ha!) regarding voting as violence (Fitch), non-voting as violence (Emergent Village), and the traditional anabaptist stance to purposefully refrain from voting? I guess I'm asking about your third sentence. Do you have a strong sense to vote at all times, or are you 'definitely going to vote' this time because of the gravity of this particular election? Do you think as Christians we are obligated to vote?

maventheavenger aka jamie said...

I don't know if we are obligated to vote or not vote, but I want to vote because I like being informed about what's going on in the empire in which we live. I'm almost at the point of giving up talking politics with some in my life because they have taken the stance of the candidates' religious life is more important than their ability, but other than that, I think that being able to talk rationally about politics is a good way to represent another way. (I hope that makes sense.)