The Christian Citizen - Consider Ourselves Exiles

With the quadrennial election cycle once again upon us, many Christians are in a lather about this side or the other and whether this year there even is a legitimate choice.

For the brief time you read this blog, pretend that you are disenfranchised and have no vote at all!

As an aside, one's vote seems of little consequence anyway. I have a sister in Texas who has voted Democratic in the last several Presidential elections - but the Texas vote is overwhelmingly Republican and her vote is virtually meaningless. In Minnesota my Republican Presidential ballot is likewise of little importance in an overwhelmingly Democratic state.

Consider as well that in many places Christians have no vote and for many centuries Christians had no opportunity at all to vote!

[I am not advocating not voting! I have voted in every election since 1972 (the first year I was eligible!). I will vote this year as well!]

A common view is that the United State was birthed as a Christian nation and that many of the so-called founding Father's were Christian. Certainly there was a strong Christian influence by some of the founders: Consider the Mayflower endeavor (not bragging, but I am a descendant of both William White and Stephen Hopkins), the Winthrop Fleet (see John Peat on this manifest), and the Providence Plantations - all Christian endeavors! As to the founding Father's: this article suggests that while they were Deists, they probably not Christians. But suffice to say that our country is based on a Judeo-Christian heritage and specifically not a Muslim-Sharia law heritage!

If one takes "Christian" seriously, it's fairly obvious that real, God-fearing, Jesus Christ followers are a small minority among us! (Oh yes there are the Pew surveys such as this which state that 70% of us are Christian. But Christian is so loosely defined to make that statistic meaningless!).

How Christian were we - say in Colonial times? Well it appears that Christian lingo was common but Christian adherence was not.

Often Christians express that our faith is persecuted here in the United States. I would like to disabuse that idea with these facts:

  • If you donate to your church, you receive a tax deduction (one has to itemize to benefit from this).
  • Your church in all likelihood does not pay property tax. (The Little Flowers Montessori School near my home pays, $ 27,500 per year on their 4 acres. My church pays zero for our 22 acres.)
  • Your ordained pastor receives a parsonage allowance that enables him to eschew taxes on a large part of his income.
  • We have freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion. 
Often I hear that things are changing for the worse for Christians. Is that so? Well maybe yes and maybe no:

  1. a return to a pre-Moral Majority separation of church and politics
  2. a Benedictine model
  3. the Jeremiah option
Here's my take on the three models:
  1. The moral majority model represents the church in bed with the Republican party. It's zenith was with Ronald Reagan. Christians would help elect him and with his election and his Supreme Court appointments, Roe v Wade would be overturned. My assessment is that it was a prostitution of the church that diluted the message of the Gospel. As an aside I voted for Reagan twice! Since Reagan, Evangelicals have been searching for one to take up the Reagan mantle and go forth. Every quadrennial Evangelicals wait for their candidate to announce his born-again-ness and rally behind him. The model seemed reasonable but has been a complete failure.
  2. The Benedictine model is in my view basically an isolation approach. 
  3. The Jeremiah option comes from Jeremiah's letter to the exiles in 29:1-9. See also Jeremiah 40:9.
This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
The article linked above suggests these five lessons:
  1. Be Faithful in the Ordinary Things of Life
  2. Engage Babylon, Do Not Withdraw
  3. Be Discerning
  4. Be People of Hope
  5. Things Are Not Out of Control
What follows are my comments on citizenship with appropriate Scriptures:

  1. If one is married, endeavor to have a strong Biblical marriage. Ephesians 5:22-33
  2. If unmarried, remain sexually chaste
  3. If a parent, raise one's children. Ephesians 6:1-4
  4. Earn a living. Don't be a slacker. Ephesians 4:28 and 2 Thessalonians 3:10
  5. Respect established authority and pay taxes. Romans 13:1-7
  6. Pray for authorities. 1 Timothy 2:1-3
  7. Be faithful in gathering with God's people in one's church
  8. Be a witness

1 comment:

  1. JP, I both agree and disagree with various aspects of your post. I don't think that America is a Christian nation, so don't understand why some Christians think we HAVE to have a Christian president. Granted, the country has been built and has prospered upon Judeo-Christian principles.

    I am also a conservative and think that Trump is about the best candidate we have seen in many, many years. Is he a Christian? I don't know and would not presume to say that I have any say in that matter; that is between him and God. He is a fine, decent citizen who wants to stand up for common decency and rights. In my opinion, he is the best candidate we have had, hands down, in many years and not merely, "the least worst."


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