Saturday, October 4, 2014

A Spiritual View of Politics

I am often accused of making EVERYTHING spiritual. In making this accusation, people are suggesting that there are issues that can, and should, be considered merely for the secular value the present. In fact this spiritual vs. secular perspective is a common debate within youth ministry circle. Can a basketball tournament “be” just a basketball tournament, or must it always include spiritual discussion sessions? Indeed I believe it is better to allow a basketball tournament to “be” just a basketball tournament, but does that make it merely a secular event? THAT is where the debate rests, but it isn’t limited to youth ministries.

How you view sports, education, work, family and friends, economics, and even politics, is shaped by how you view the world. If you view the world from a secular point of view (everything neatly placed in a box which is not and should affect any other box) then sports is just sports. However, if you view the world from the Orthodox Christian point of view in which EVERYTHING is connected, then even basketball is not just basketball and politics is NEVER just politics. The Orthodox Christian worldview, if it is genuine, must affect every aspect of our life.
Let’s consider some of the presumed mundane issues of our life. Sports and recreation are important leisure activities, but are they purely secular? Caring for our physical bodies and our mental state of mind are an important part of our spiritual journey, but only if we in fact engage in a spiritual journey. Since Orthodox Christianity is a way of life journey, then even sports and recreation are spiritual in so far as they play a balanced role in our overall health. But what about politics?

I’ve been considering lately the economic politics of our current American scenario. Multiple points of view are competing for our attention and loyalty to possible solutions. Of course the two loudest, often called conservative and liberal, seem to be on polar opposite points of view. However, if you consider the question of economics from an Orthodox Christian point of view, the liberal-conservative debate loses steam. Both points of view are based upon selfish agendas. I won’t debate which agenda is correct, but suffice it to say, no matter which side of the argument you find yourself, economics are changing and so politics with it. HOW you maneuver through the economic waters of the future will either be your salvation or condemnation.

Saint Paul urges us to be content with what we have. So long as we have been united to Christ, all this ‘stuff’ we fight over during our life will not be with us in heaven.
“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have.” (Hebrews 13.5)
And Jesus said
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6.19-21)
How can we choose sides of the political debates about the economy when both sides fight are “getting more” or “keeping more” of what we want.....MONEY AND WEALTH?!

The economy of the world is rapidly changing, and unless we embrace the Orthodox Christian worldview of wealth and poverty, live and death, legal vs. moral rights, etc., we will ultimately become lost and despondent. What difference does it make if employers, insurance companies, or the US Congress “pays” for our health care? Is it about how much MONEY we will control or whether we will live or die? We WILL die and all money is ultimately left for someone else to spend.

So consider this.....If Jesus Christ returns in the next five minutes, are you ready to make an accounting of how you were a faithful and loyal servant? Or will you beg for a few more minutes? Money is just money, and basketball is just basketball. Most of all, politics is just another way of arguing to get YOUR way rather than God’s way. How about putting it all aside and searching out to make time for the Orthodox way of life? Christ GAVE you the Church for a reason, not a burden.

No comments: