Christianity and American Politics: Some Random Bullet points.

· Should we have 'separation of Church and State' in our country? Yes. We don't want the secular civil government controlling the church. Should we have separation of faith and politics? No. Our faith informs/shapes our vision of the good, just, true and beautiful. Everyone in any society, especially in free societies gets to advocate for the things they believe are best for all.

· Regarding the current (2020) struggles with racial injustice in our country: As a Christian, I must never be hardhearted toward those who are hurting. And I should not be concerned with being “duped” by the so-called “liberal media” if my concern is simply to follow the way of Jesus - not the way of some angry, ignorant, news commentator. The kingdom of God, coming on earth as in heaven is our only hope. It comes through the gospel, by the power of the Holy Spirit. It changes people’s hearts and minds. No government system will be perfectly just and good. (But this shouldn’t keep Christians from attempting to persuade and influence the govt/culture with gospel goods). Neither a Libertarian nor Socialist system could ever work, because of human sinfulness. Representatives from both camps assume their group will be good and the other will be evil. Both are wrong. Constitutional Republics, with Democratic processes, may be the best option for curbing the sinful proclivities of us all, but it too will remain imperfect. Nevertheless, those whose ultimate allegiance it to Christ and His kingdom, should aim to model and promote the better way that life in God’s kingdom produces- to promote advance signs of that kingdom, to anticipate by direct action and policy those things that most closely conform to the rule of Christ. Our hope can NEVER be in these partisan systems. No one can serve two masters. Don’t even try. We must transcend party politics and embody the gospel and God’s kingdom, not caring if our concerns line up with “left” or “right,” but only that they reflect the teachings and wisdom of Jesus.

· Many “liberal” Christians accommodate to the culture, while many “conservative” Christians accommodate to the state/nation. We should resist both of these accommodations, affirming what’s good, resisting what’s evil, and transforming both culture and state where we can, as disciples of Jesus Christ (and NOT as culture warriors).

· It’s clear people don’t make decisions based upon what is rational. We have preferred narratives about the world, reinforced by our chosen sources of input. We explain away any evidence to the contrary, especially if it comes from others we don’t like (or on the “other side” politically). And we accept any ridiculous fake news if it confirms our narrative. We have to do better.

· American political conservativism and liberal-progressivism (in both the intellectual and popular forms) cannot provide a way forward. Conservatives idealize some time in the past, Liberals some time in the future. Where do those ideas come from? What determines the ideal past or future? Christianity provides an answer. The past we look back to is Jesus Christ (his life, teachings, death, res, ascension), and the future we look forward to is the new creation. We live at the overlap of the ages. And our mission is to appropriate both the past events and future promises to see God’s kingdom come “on earth as in heaven”... Christians are distracted, for various reasons by ideologies of the left and right. There is some light in each, but also much darkness, mostly because they are moored to a social-political cause rather than to the Triune God and His revelation of Himself found in Scripture, the Christ, and the Spirit.

- The word "conservative" means, or implies, that there are some things that are good, right, and true, and that do not change over time. These things should be recognized and retained, or "conserved." The word "liberal" means, or implies, that societies should allow maximal freedom for individuals, in such a way that promotes prosperity AND responsibility, all the while promoting the common good. The word "progressive" means, or implies, that all things are not as they should be. And where things can be improved, according to good principles and virtue, they ought to be improved. All of these are good words when applied to the right things. The words have become virtually meaningless in political discourse. But i think that everyone has something of each word in themselves and in their political philosophy.

- The founding principles of America were good, but we haven’t lived up to their promise- because of a corrupt human nature. Plus, America is not the kingdom of God. It can never be ultimate. Working to create "a more perfect union" can be a noble enterprise, but it will always be penultimate at best.

- Democracy and capitalism are two separate things. Neither divinely sanctioned. They can be good. But not without danger. Beware of amateur political theorists, using contrived arguments to attack invisible boogeymen in order to distract people from the real, more immanent, dangers because they might be implicated in the real danger.

· Marxism and socialism (or whatever) are no match for God’s kingdom coming on earth as in heaven. Neither is democracy or capitalism, nor const. republics or communists’ states, nor oligarchies nor libertarians nor tyrants, nor anything else in all creation.

· Jesus did not join any of the various political and religious (tied together as they were) parties of his day. He had the Pharisees, Sadducees, Zealots, and Essenes. He essentially criticizes them all. We too should beware of over-identifying with various political parties- and even our church denominations- if they separate us from God’s people and purposes in the world.

· Strange, and scarily powerful, are the influences of our various contexts, to shape, bend, mold, highlight or minimize the truth according to Jesus. No one studying the Bible or the history of Christianity would have guessed that American Christians on the right would want to own guns, or lack interest in caring for the earth, or care so little for the cries of other ethnic groups (racism), or would repress women, or would confuse patriotism and Christian faith. Nor would they have guessed that American Christians on the left would affirm abortion-on-demand, or approve of homosexual practice/gay marriage, or advocate for transgender ideology, or generally care so little for sexual holiness. None of these things, right or left, conform to the truth as revealed by God. None conform to God’s ways, His holiness and beauty, His joy and freedom. These ideas are totally shaped by non-Christian ideologies, and slowly infect the church and steal away the wisdom, joy, peace, love and righteousness that come from the Lord.

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