Friday, January 20, 2012

When's the Swimsuit Competition?

Another day another debate. Another week another primary...

Is it too early to say I'm already burned out by this election cycle? Once upon a time, politics used to get my juices flowing. In the early days of this blog, I posted more about how our faith should intersect with our politics than just about any other subject. But now I read the headlines, follow the news, watch all the attack and advocacy ads and I'm left to say simply, "meh."

Maybe it's because none of the candidates particularly excite me. Or maybe it's because there's no hot-button issue to focus my attention on. But neither of those are true, I just don't get as wound up over politics anymore.

Maybe I've become disillusioned and jaded. Cynical might be a better word. I admit that in watching these primaries and observing how the media treats the election cycle I'm expecting the swimsuit competition any time now.

Because isn't that what this really is, a popularity contest to see who "looks the part"? I'm reminded of the story of Samuel anointing David:

"When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, 'Surely the LORD’s anointed stands here before the LORD.'" But the LORD rejected him.

"Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, 'The LORD has not chosen this one either.' Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, 'Nor has the LORD chosen this one.' Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, 'The LORD has not chosen these.'" (1 Samuel 16:6,8-10)

If you know the story, you know I'm leaving out a key verse. I'll get to that in a moment. But put yourself in Samuel's shoes. He's looking at each of Jesse's older, stronger, more kingly sons expecting at least one of them to be God's anointed. He was looking for the one who "looked the part". Yet instead God chose young "ruddy" David who wasn't even invited to this party and was left to tend sheep.

Why him and not his brothers? God answers, "Do not consider his appearance or his height... The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (v 7)

In politics, just like anything else, first impressions are made by how one looks and what one says. But God doesn't look at any of those things. He looks at the heart. Imagine how different presidential elections would be if we judged the candidates based on their hearts? (Of course this assumes there could be some way to know.)

I trust the sovereignty of God in the selection of our political leaders. But I don't trust people stained by the Fall to make a wise choice based on anything other than appearance. And because of that, I just can't get excited about this election year.

How about you, are you a political junkie? How does your faith influence your politics? Do you find yourself judging more on appearance, or more on heart?


Megan Willome said...

I am a political junkie (born & raised). Still. Because it takes that to get beyond the appearances.

Katdish said...

Meh. That's how I feel. I'm very cynical. Romney wants to be president too much. That's what bothers me most about him. And "able to beat Obama" shouldn't be the reason to vote for someone. Still undecided.

S. Etole said...

I haven't started listening yet.

Fatha Frank said...

@Megan, I wonder if that's why so few vote?

@Katdish, I agree and I hate that the whole goal of the primaries is beat Obama instead of standing on their own merits.

@Susan, trust me, you're better off, LOL

Thanks, all, for your comments!