Saturday, January 21, 2006

God's Politics

Back in November, Jill and I attended the CCDA national conference in Indy. Jim Wallis was one of the keynote speakers, as I mentioned on this site. I have finally started to pick up his book, God's Politics, and I've gotta say that it is one of the most important religious/political books out there. Wallis is definitely fitting the role of prophet by focusing on a return to all that God commands of His people. If you're thinking that there's partisan politics here, forget it. Wallis takes no prisoners, as his subtitle points out "Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It." There are some great life lessons to be found, including the rules that he grew up with. "First, if there isa child that nobody else will play with, you play with him or her... . Second, if there is a bully who is picking on other people, you stand up for them." How about those for lessons to pass on to our children?

Where Wallis really got me going was when he started to refer to Habakkuk. Here was a prophet who was lamenting the power structure of Israel at that time. He was complaining long and loud to God about the social conditions of the day, but then he received a vision from God of the future. "Then the Lord answered me and said, 'Write the vision; make it plain upon tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its time; it hastens to the end--it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay.'" There is no clear, Biblical vision being pronounced today. What visions are being pronounced are political and partisan. They do not take into consideration the best for all of society. A great vision starts with the question, "What makes a great society?" This is not a question to be taken lightly or selfishly. It is a question to be answered with all seriousness, and with an understanding that the answer may mean that I have to make some sacrifices.

One more point from the book. The leaders of movements that changed society were not politicians. They were the people of faith who created a change in the wind. Politicians are always trying to figure out which way the wind is blowing. The creators of change are those who change the wind patterns. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of those. When he was told by the President that there was no way a Voting Rights Act would pass, MLK created a change in the wind pattern that moved the society to make the necessary change. Today we need a new change in the wind pattern. A change that causes both sides of the political spectrum to stand up and take notice. A change that creates a longing for justice and a determination to create a great society. There is currently no one creating that type of wind change, though many people are longing for it! Who will be the one to start that change in the wind pattern?