Saturday, November 22, 2014

When Politics Becomes Spiritual

There is a temptation in American politics to separate our spiritual lives from our political lives. It is growing ever popular to hear self-proclaimed devout Christian politicians championing policies theoretically in opposition to their personal spiritual beliefs. There is no limit, politically speaking, to this trend as it exists “on both sides of the aisle” of Washington, D.C. But have you ever wondered what would happen if politics DID become spiritual?

Realistically speaking it is impossible for our spiritual journey NOT to interfere with our politics, but political hypocrisy may not be as rampant as some may think. Every human struggles with the same fallen reality, and the temptation to please the self rather than God and others. It is why Jesus Christ commanded us to deny ourselves if we desired to follow Him. Until we can stop the focus on ourselves, we cannot begin to focus upon Him. The “self” is where ALL POLITICS is spiritual.

Politicians are nothing more than a skilled sales force, and the product they are selling, is power and control. Everyone seems to want it, and will do anything to get it. So, when a politician offers it, the votes just come rolling in. Who could blame a sales force for altering the sales pitch if product isn’t moving off the shelves? And who would blame a manufacturer for making changes to a product to keep it “fresh” in front of the consumer. Shoe styles change, so why shouldn’t political styles. Sales is sales.

Over the years certain products “go out of fashion” and are ultimately removed from the marketplace. When was the last time you saw a LeCar driving down your street? The consumer is in total control over what product remain popular. The more the consumer wants to buy, the more items are made. They call it supply and demand in business school. THAT’s where you and I come in...

You are I are the consumers of politics. If the sales force is successful in moving product, it is because we are the ones buying it. Consider the last the political movement that you purchased. Was it not in some way a bit of control and power over something or someone? And this is why politics is spiritual...

Since we continue to struggle with our fallen condition, and serving our selfish desires, what we “buy” in politics is integral to our spiritual journey. If we seek power and control, we will purchase more of it from the “sales force” offering more of it on the ballot. Every candidate is selling it, so what brand we purchase makes little difference to the sales force. Of course, every sales pitch comes with incentives. Power and control with a bit of “cash back” thrown in, and the shelves empty - the trifecta of politics.

As Orthodox Christians currently in the Nativity Fast, and with Thanksgiving just a few days away, we should take more seriously our spiritual struggle of selfish desire. This is the perfect opportunity, through increased prayer and fasting and serving to poor, to work to defeat our selfishness rather than sell it to the nearest politician. Something to think about during the Fast.

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