Back before the 2020 Presidential Election my future daughter-in-law introduced me to The Church Politics podcast from the & Campaign (thanks Abby). It is an excellent podcast that focuses on a belief (that I agree with) that there is a cross that neither liberalism nor conservatism is fit to bear. If you listen to podcasts, are a Christian or are interested in Christianity, and aren’t presently listening to the podcast I would encourage you to subscribe to it.
I listened to their episode from February 10th today and particularly liked the last section of the episode in which they discussed Senator Ben Sasse’s response to threats of censure from the Nebraska GOP. What I specifically liked about the section was their discussion that Christians can’t react to politicians as fans of those politicians.
Fans get all excited about merely being in the presence of the one they are fanatic about. Fans want autographs and desire to agree with the one they adore. Fans are team-based and their side can do no wrong while the other side can do no right.
But people of faith are called to hold accountable those in power – both those we like and agree with and those we do not. Look at the Old Testament prophets, they spoke to the powers of their own country and the powers of other countries too. Thus Nathan calls out David over the sin he committed against God, Israel, Uriah, and most likely Batheseheba (did she really have any power to say “no” to his advances?).
Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes?2 Samuel 12:7-9
Also Daniel comes before King Nebuchadnezzar and interprets the king’s dream of a great tree being cut down in the following manner.
“My lord, if only the dream applied to your enemies and its meaning to your adversaries! 20 The tree you saw, which grew large and strong, with its top touching the sky, visible to the whole earth, with beautiful leaves and abundant fruit, providing food for all, giving shelter to the wild animals, and having nesting places in its branches for the birds— Your Majesty, you are that tree!(Daniel 4:22)
Daniel then tells Nebuchadnezzar that he needs to renounce his sins, do what is right, and take care of the oppressed. Daniel was not a fan. Nathan was not a fan. They were prophets and prophets tell people “thus saith the Lord.”
The church is called to do the same thing. We are supposed to be the ones who praise our political foes when they do what is right and call to repentance our political allies when they do what is wrong.
Unfortunately we are often just fans, and cheer for our side no matter what. Don’t be a fan.