Connecting with Culture
Our blog reflecting on weekly news, trends, innovation, and the arts...
Or, as Eugene Peterson puts it in The Message, ‘you never get voted out of office’.
At a time of political fixation and turmoil it’s important to hear those words from Psalm 145. For too many, I fear, politics has become an idol. You can tell when something has become an idol when we sacrifice values like truth, civility, and the rule of law to it. I am regularly encouraging Christians to be deeply involved in the political tribes, but we must not lose our identity to those tribes. Our primary identity is in Christ alone.
It’s easy for the authority of God articulated in Psalm 145 to be lost on those of us living in 21st-century democracies. In our country, there is usually a long journey from something being just an idea to becoming the law of the land. Research is commissioned to investigate an issue. Then the party must be convinced. It’s proposed in a manifesto; legislation is drafted and then presented and debated through first, second, and perhaps even third readings in the House of Commons. It is scrutinised by committees and the House of Lords. Only then is it passed into law.
It is an arduous – though wise and necessary – process. But it is very different from the One who speaks with royal authority, whose word becomes law as soon as he has said it. Christians have this glorious assurance – especially at times of political crisis – that our God, the true King who will ‘never get voted out of office’, is the ultimate authority. But that’s not an excuse for inactivity, or silence.
It’s this God who calls us to be ‘a royal priesthood, a holy nation’ (1 Peter 2:9). I want many more Christians to stand for election, but we don’t need to be elected to speak and act with his authority, modelling the love, peace, truth, and healing that our nation so badly needs at this time. As Peter goes on to make clear in his letter, this royal authority is to be exercised in the light of the cross-shaped pattern of Jesus’ own service, thus looking very different to autocratic edict, but it is to be exercised nonetheless.
We are not prisoners of our political culture. In his authority, we can shape it.
Andy is Executive Director of Christians in Politics, and has also recently written a song about reconciliation across political divides: http://bit.ly/reconciledvid