This may be the most stupid preaching decision I’ve ever made. This coming Sunday as we continue our series, Life in These United States, I’m talking about government. And with only a few weeks left until our general election, I need to talk about politics. My tag line for the sermon series has been “We’re talking about what everyone’s talking about.” I have heard over the years, though, that we preachers need to keep politics out of the pulpit. While I think that church should be the one place where people can talk about anything, there is certainly the feeling out there that we should not talk about politics. But why?
For one thing, it is so controversial, and that is true within a church family. Perhaps you go to a church that is politically uniform. Faith Church is not. If I talk about politics in a sermon, I face a high risk of offending someone. So maybe I should just avoid it. I am not a fan of offending people.
Also, talking about politics might give some the impression that the church is in cahoots with the government. And there is a feeling out there that the church should be neutral. “Separation of Church and State,” is the cry. No doubt, when the church has gotten involved in governmental affairs throughout history, it is pretty easy to see that it hasn’t gone so well. Again, maybe I should avoid it.
But I can’t.
This might really be stupid, but I am going to talk about the election. It seems to me that not only is most everyone already talking about it, but more importantly what they say is that they are very confused about it. “Who should we vote for?” is the big question, and the answer is extremely unclear. No matter what political party you align with, the chances are you aren’t happy about the candidate your party has nominated. And that goes for the third parties too. John Oliver recently remarked that this election is not a frustrating choice between the lesser of two evils, but a choice between the lesser of four evils!
Are you frustrated by this election? What should a population do when they feel they have no good choices to vote for? Do you feel like choices for president are being forced on you, and you don’t like the options? Maybe you feel like this guy:
What are we to do? Can the Bible be of any help? The newest books in the Bible are nearly 2000 years old, and they were written in a time and place that did not include a national election for that country’s top leader, and those New Testament biblical writers were not living in a country that had a Christian majority. No, civic life was quite different then. Is it possible that we can learn principles from this old ancient book that might help us figure out what do to with this election? I think so.
For starters, I would like to suggest that the question “Who should we vote for?” is the wrong beginning point. Instead we should ask “How should we vote?” Well, on a voting machine on November 8th at our polling place, of course! Yes, obviously. But I don’t mean “How?” in that logistical sense. I mean “How?” in the sense of “What principles should we use when we vote?” And when we start with that question, the Bible is an excellent guide.
Please join us at Faith Church on Sunday October 23, as we continue looking at life in these United States, talking about what everyone is talking about: the election!