To say “Jesus is Lord,” is to claim to be part of a new community shaped by loving the enemy, caring for the least of these, and following Christ in the way of the cross – such a claim is inherently loaded with political ramifications.
What concerns me – no, concerns is too detached of a word – what saddens me, is that those central claims of the Christian faith seem to have so little to do with the political discussions among my brothers and sisters in Christ, especially as the election draws ever closer.
I have grown deeply weary of having political conversations in which professing Christians end up having all the same hopes and fears, friends and enemies, talking points and easy answers as their party of choice.
I hear people speak and I do not hear Christ but simply Republican, Democratic, Libertarian, Tea Party, Capitalist, or Marxist ideology baptized in religious language. As if the Gospel does not call every ideology to account, as if the kingdom of God can so conveniently fit into the political creeds of the world,
Of course it can if Christianity is merely about a private inward spirituality that makes us into better people. That is the sort of Christianity that our politicians are happy to pander to every four years, before sorting out the real business of running the world amongst themselves.
Claiming that God is on your side (be that Left or Right) is easy, and a cheap way to get votes. But as Karl Barth warned us, claiming God is on our side is also an assertion of power that always involves the rejection of exactly that “God” who Christians claim to worship. After all, the power of that God looked very different than the power asserted by our favorite political ideologies, it looked instead like the death of Christ of a cross.
My fear is that we in the Western church are far too prone to allow our political presuppositions to shape how we understand our faith and encounter the Word of God, rather than our cruciform faith reshaping our political vision.