Sunday, February 03, 2008

The Love Boat

This was from the sermon a couple of weeks ago and I've been saving it for a prelude to Super Tuesday. Here's a quote from Mike Huckabee, when asked by Time Magazine why he left the ministry for politics:

"In my early years of ministry, I was quite idealistic, thinking that most
people in the congregation expected me to be the captain of a warship leading
God's troops into battle to change the world," he writes. "As the years passed,
I became increasingly convinced that most people wanted me to captain the Love
Boat, making sure everyone was having a good time."
It stands to reason in today's age of 24-hour news cycles, embedded reporters, and an endless number of political blogs, that we'd think that there is a better chance to "change the world" in politics than in ministry. That's certainly a condemnation of our Church in America, but also highlights that we rely too much on our civic leaders to be our ministry for us.

It's my conviction that the reason we need welfare, social security, and inevitably some kind of universal health care in this country is that we, as individuals in God's Kingdom, don't live up to God's expectation to take care of the poor, the orphan, and the widow. Jesus specifically condemned not taking care of our own parents in their old age:

Jesus replied, "And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, 'Honor your father and mother' and 'Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.' But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, 'Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,' he is not to 'honor his father' with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
" 'These people honor me with their lips
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are but rules taught by men.'" (Mt 15:3-9)

Let me paraphrase in today's terms:

Jesus replied, "And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your culture? For God said, 'Honor your father and mother' and 'Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.' But you say that it's the government's responsibility to take care of the elderly. That our money is to spend on whatever we want, gifts devoted to ourselves. Thus you rely on your government to take care of your responsibilities. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right about you..."

So are we really surprised that a minister feels he has a better chance to affect change in our culture by running for the highest office in the land?

But what about you? Why are you voting for who you're voting for on Tuesday (or whenever your primary might be)? Are we expecting our leaders to do what we can't, yet should as members of Christ's Church? Are expecting our government to legislate our values instead of sharing them through personal evangelism? Are we living our lives defined by our culture, or are we striving to define the culture around us?

Gong back to the first quote, are we sailors on a warship in God's navy, or vacotioners on a cruise ship just enjoying the sights?

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