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Things are heating up on the campaign trail. As
the candidates enter the debate season, sides are drawn, communities
are polarized, pastors wonder how political can they get in the pulpit,
and others just pray the elections would come and go.  This election
season has proven to be a history maker. From the first African
American to run for office, to McCain’s choice of Alaska Governor Sarah
Palin as his running mate.

Within the church, politics has been a wedge
separating men and women on both sides of the political aisle, as both
parties try to make Jesus their poster boy…however, Jesus belongs to
no party, rather as believers we belong to His kingdom, and our hope
then relies on something greater than the kings and presidents of our
day.


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So as you look at faith and politics, what
thoughts do you have about the current political scene? How should
believers engage in the political process? How do we balance allegiance
to another kingdom yet live in this one? When is our faith more in the
systems of the world than in God’s kingdom?

Okay, play nice but be honest….Monty

17 Comments

  1. Hawaii is three hours behind, so last night I was up late recovering from the time difference with a little speech catch-up. Hannah and I missed a lot while we were busy honeymooning.
    Unfortunately, despite Palin’s forcefulness, she said too much about the movers and shakers in Washington, and too little about the people for whom they were elected.
    Obama will win this election because his rhetoric affirms and disarms, all at once. Our political climate is changed. It’s allowed him to slowly and indistinctly shape his ideas; rather than a debate of issues between candidates, the nation will choose a champion whose character and kind resonates with its exposed heart.
    For those still on the fence, I believe this means a choice between the heart and mind. For all of Obama’s talk of “fresh ideas,” I feel McCain is more grounded in realism, and seems better able to articulate the specifics of his policies. But for better or for worse, realism may not be the cure to our particular disease. The heart glimpses hope, the possibility that the old guard may be ready to crumble if we put the hammer in the hands of this man Obama.
    If McCain and Palin are going to emerge in the coming months, I believe it will be with a message all their own. For now, “Yes We Can” and “Change” and “Powered by Hope” are the monolithic words that dominate the skyline of the American conscience.

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  2. I got a pretty easy way of picking my candidate.
    I look @ nearly 1 million abortions last year in the US (50 million since Roe vs. Wade…amazing). I then look at which candidate votes more to keep them legal. (I guess for Mr. Obama, “hope” and “change” don’t extend to the million silently murdered last year).
    I then vote against the above candidate. ๐Ÿ™‚ Wash, Rinse, Repeat every 4 years…
    i get grief from others over my “overly simplistic & naive” approach, but that’s how i do it..

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  3. I struggled with the right thing to do because I felt neither candidate was deserving of my vote. Yet feeling I have a responsibility to vote I was swimming in uncertainty. After a conversation with my husband, a write in candidate was the most appealing option. I decided that was essentially throwing away a vote. I consider it a responsibility as a Christian to vote. It is therefore my duty to be as well informed as possible to make an educated decision regarding which candidate least betrays my allegiance to His kingdom. So I started paying close attention to Obama and McCain. I rapidly reached the conclusion that while neither candidate was my ideal, there is one that I most definitely do not want in office; my vote must go to the other.
    Obama is a great motivational speaker. His idealism in what he hopes the world can become is stirring, yet frightening at the same time as he outlines how he plans to move towards that world by considerably disarming our country in the reality of what our world is today. The message of hope in his book is inspiring, yet in reviewing his voting record he hasn’t practiced what he is preaching in areas that are non-negotiable to me. Hearing him call himself a Christian, yet fumble over the question of at what point does a baby get human rights is alarming. Using the comment “above my pay grade” when he is choosing to run for a position that has the power to significantly impact laws related to unborn babies is irresponsible in my opinion. People who have far more experience than me have concerns, including Obama’s own running mate who chose to stand by his statement that he doesn’t believe Obama is ready right now to be president. Biden has said it would be an honor to run with or against McCain, the country would be better off and said he believes Palin is qualified to be the Vice President.
    I know that God is in control. He does not allow a leader into office outside of His plan. We currently reside in a nation that has outlawed prayer, removed bibles from public property, is offended by “one nation, under God” in our pledge of allegiance, and is essentially turning its back on the forefathers that founded this country under God and fought to give us the right to make the aforementioned decisions. I pray that God does not request our pleas for our own Saul this election. McCain did not get my vote during the primaries. However, faced with a choice between McCain and Obama, my decision is clear.

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  4. As I have spent several weeks recovering from surgery, I have had a lot of time to watch Saddleback’s Forum, the news, and both conventions. After my preferred candidate was defeated in the primaries, McCain has been my choice.
    After seeing how they have both presented themselves in these last two weeks of conventions, I am even more set on McCain being the next president. Obama does have some good qualities, yet I don’t believe he has the experience or the conviction to be president.
    Besides McCain’s experience, I appreciate his faith. Obama says he’s a Christian but I tend to doubt how true that is. At the Saddleback Forum and his speech last night, he clearly showed that his faith is strong.
    It will be interesting to see who wins the race. God has it under control. We need to be praying for the right person to be elected and continue praying for him as he takes office and begins the battle.

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  5. I consider myself a very conservative Republican however, I’m going to vote for Obama because I think a leader must be able to inspire and incite change. I don’t think McCain has the ability to inspire nor the desire to inspire. How many of you would continue to go a church where the message didn’t inspire you?
    There is more to a presidential candidate than whether or not the candidate is for or against one or two issues. Obama never said he supported abortion at Saddleback and I don’t think that by his response he was O.K. with the idea of abortion. He is a politician and had he said he was against abortion he would have lost many liberal votes come election time. I think the question posed by Rick Warren was unfair and was used to make McCain look good.
    I think the idea of voting for a candidate because he/she is against abortion is a very immature approach. I was laid off in 2002 because my job was shipped to India. I don’t see McCain doing or saying anything to prevent this from happening to other American workers. What about McCain’s response to how much money it takes to makes someone ‘rich’? “I don’t know, I want everybody to be rich.” McCain doesn’t have a plan for taxes. Without taxes how are things like universal health care going to be paid for? Someone has to pay for change, its not free.
    What about Iraq? As someone who was in the first Gulf War I thought it was a big mistake when the US invaded Iraq in 2003. The US didn’t going into Iraq in ’91 because we knew then that it would be a very long war. Nothing has changed since then and going into Iraq this time was a huge mistake. Staying in Iraq is an even bigger mistake. People praise McCain because he said the surge would work however, surges always work. If Russia decides to implement a surge in Georgia it will work for them also. I don’t want my 10 year old son to be drafted to go fight in Iraq in eight years but I think with McCain as president that will happen.
    Having watched the Saddleback interview I was impressed that Obama even went to it. The idea of a liberal candidate going to a very conservative church and answering loaded conservative questions is not a fair playing ground. Also, since the majority of questions were skewed to the conservative right it made it very easy for McCain to give his “straight talk” answers.
    I don’t think Obama or McCain have the experience to be the next President. Serving in the Senate for six months or 30 years does not give an individual the experience to be president. The only people who have the qualifications to be the president are existing and ex presidents.
    Just because a candidate is a Christian doesn’t make him a good president nor does being a non Christian make you a bad president.

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  6. I consider myself a very conservative Republican however, I’m going to vote for Obama because I think a leader must be able to inspire and incite change. I don’t think McCain has the ability to inspire nor the desire to inspire. How many of you would continue to go a church where the message didn’t inspire you?
    There is more to a presidential candidate than whether or not the candidate is for or against one or two issues. Obama never said he supported abortion at Saddleback and I don’t think that by his response he was O.K. with the idea of abortion. He is a politician and had he said he was against abortion he would have lost many liberal votes come election time. I think the question posed by Rick Warren was unfair and was used to make McCain look good.
    I think the idea of voting for a candidate because he/she is against abortion is a very immature approach. I was laid off in 2002 because my job was shipped to India. I don’t see McCain doing or saying anything to prevent this from happening to other American workers. What about McCain’s response to how much money it takes to makes someone ‘rich’? “I don’t know, I want everybody to be rich.” McCain doesn’t have a plan for taxes. Without taxes how are things like universal health care going to be paid for? Someone has to pay for change, its not free.
    What about Iraq? As someone who was in the first Gulf War I thought it was a big mistake when the US invaded Iraq in 2003. The US didn’t going into Iraq in ’91 because we knew then that it would be a very long war. Nothing has changed since then and going into Iraq this time was a huge mistake. Staying in Iraq is an even bigger mistake. People praise McCain because he said the surge would work however, surges always work. If Russia decides to implement a surge in Georgia it will work for them also. I don’t want my 10 year old son to be drafted to go fight in Iraq in eight years but I think with McCain as president that will happen.
    Having watched the Saddleback interview I was impressed that Obama even went to it. The idea of a liberal candidate going to a very conservative church and answering loaded conservative questions is not a fair playing ground. Also, since the majority of questions were skewed to the conservative right it made it very easy for McCain to give his “straight talk” answers.
    I don’t think Obama or McCain have the experience to be the next President. Serving in the Senate for six months or 30 years does not give an individual the experience to be president. The only people who have the qualifications to be the president are existing and ex presidents.
    Just because a candidate is a Christian doesn’t make him a good president nor does being a non Christian make you a bad president.

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  7. I just can’t believe that God has any interest in the outcome of this presidential election. If He does, it is for reasons that I have no way of comprehending. While I do have a very strong preference for Senator McCain, I certainly don’t see him as being “sent by God”. No new law, or policy, or program is going to change peoples hearts. Christ is the only “one” that can perform that miracle.
    I appreciate that Pastor Monty does not include political commentary in his messages. I see no point in arguing which of the two self-serving political parties is better than the other. We should not allow the divisivness that is boiling over in the rest of society into our fellowship. Nor should we give an ounce of our faith to governement that rightfully belongs to God.

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  8. Great job…you are all articulate and you’re playing fair ๐Ÿ™‚ keep the conversation going…and add some thought as to how we should be the church in the world’s systems but not of the world’s systems ๐Ÿ™‚
    Monty

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  9. Dreamey – i don’t care what Obama did or didn’t say @ Saddleback. His voting record in the Senate shows 100% for abortions, including voting for Partial Birth (full term) abortions.
    “voting for a candidate because he/she is against abortion is a very immature approach” – Perhaps…..but killing children in the name of convenience is one of the most atrocious acts our country allows. Hilter killed 14 million peope and was rightfully labled a monster… Yet a president willing to legalize 1 million deaths a year is somehow ok?
    Abortion is murder, and issues about the economy or a leader’s “change inspiring” qualities pale in comparison.

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  10. Dreamey – i don’t care what Obama did or didn’t say @ Saddleback. His voting record in the Senate shows 100% for abortions, including voting for Partial Birth (full term) abortions.
    “voting for a candidate because he/she is against abortion is a very immature approach” – Perhaps…..but killing children in the name of convenience is one of the most atrocious acts our country allows. Hilter killed 14 million peope and was rightfully labled a monster… Yet a president willing to legalize 1 million deaths a year is somehow ok?
    Abortion is murder, and issues about the economy or a leader’s “change inspiring” qualities pale in comparison.

    Like

  11. I’ve been following this campaign for quite some time now. I’ve had many conversations with God about how impressed I am with Barack. I’ve spent numerous hours reading and researching his position on all facets. Each moment consulting with God. Until I started my research with McCain did I start looking at “the other side”. My instinct and intellect take me to the first direction and question the second. Personally at this moment I have struggled yet pray for answers. Either way….God will have His way as He always does. It may take more time than what we view on earth but as always….He ultimately will have His way with the outcome and as our faith unfolds all we can do is trust that He will guide our thoughts to make the decision that matters most to Him. Mature faith is what brings us closer to hearing what that decision should/might be…until then…I pray that my knowledge so far will guide me in the direction that matters most…His direction.

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  12. I’ve been following this campaign for quite some time now. I’ve had many conversations with God about how impressed I am with Barack. I’ve spent numerous hours reading and researching his position on all facets. Each moment consulting with God. Until I started my research with McCain did I start looking at “the other side”. My instinct and intellect take me to the first direction and question the second. Personally at this moment I have struggled yet pray for answers. Either way….God will have His way as He always does. It may take more time than what we view on earth but as always….He ultimately will have His way with the outcome and as our faith unfolds all we can do is trust that He will guide our thoughts to make the decision that matters most to Him. Mature faith is what brings us closer to hearing what that decision should/might be…until then…I pray that my knowledge so far will guide me in the direction that matters most…His direction.

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  13. Monty, in response to your request for how we should be the church in the world’s systems but not of the world’s systems…so far, your leadership and teachings DO lead us to be the church IN the world’s systems but not OF the world’s systems. That is what I am learning anyway. Thanks for your guidance!

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  14. I have spent a lot of time in thought about what has been written.
    I believe that making decisions on where you think a candidate truly stands on issues based upon what that candidate says during a debate (especially only one debate, ie the Saddleback forum) is irresponsible. Dreamey stated that because Obama is a politician he had to be careful what he said to avoid losing votes. This is very true; all politicians are in a similar situation. If we are truly committed to engaging in the political process in a way that honors our allegiance to His kingdom, it is our responsibility to research each candidates’ voting record to see where they truly stand. Listening to their speeches, written to tread lightly in an effort to offend as few voters as possible, is not enough.
    I also want to address the comment, “I think the idea of voting for a candidate because he/she is against abortion is a very immature approach.” If I understand Romans correctly, God has placed different convictions on different people’s hearts. And for those who are so strongly convicted about a certain issue, to make decisions (or vote, in this case) against that conviction is a sin for that person. So if God has placed the conviction that abortion is wrong at all costs on Jeff’s heart, it is not an immature approach to vote against the candidate that most supports abortions. Jeff is balancing his allegiance to another kingdom while living in this world by honoring the convictions God has given him.
    I think that is a perfect example of being the church in the world’s system but not of the world’s system. It would be easy to get swept up in other issues and not stand strongly with a God-given conviction. That would be of the world. Sticking with a God-given conviction, despite getting “grief from other for [an] overly simplistic & naive approach” or having that decision be judged as a “very immature approach”, is being the church in the world’s systems.
    It is vital as believers to decide what our non-negotiable convictions are based upon our faith and allegiance to His kingdom. And it is our responsibility to thoroughly research each candidate’s stance on those issues and vote for who best allows us to maintain our integrity based upon those convictions. That is living as the church in the world’s systems and not of it; as the salt, the light, pointing to His truth.

    Like

  15. I have spent a lot of time in thought about what has been written.
    I believe that making decisions on where you think a candidate truly stands on issues based upon what that candidate says during a debate (especially only one debate, ie the Saddleback forum) is irresponsible. Dreamey stated that because Obama is a politician he had to be careful what he said to avoid losing votes. This is very true; all politicians are in a similar situation. If we are truly committed to engaging in the political process in a way that honors our allegiance to His kingdom, it is our responsibility to research each candidates’ voting record to see where they truly stand. Listening to their speeches, written to tread lightly in an effort to offend as few voters as possible, is not enough.
    I also want to address the comment, “I think the idea of voting for a candidate because he/she is against abortion is a very immature approach.” If I understand Romans correctly, God has placed different convictions on different people’s hearts. And for those who are so strongly convicted about a certain issue, to make decisions (or vote, in this case) against that conviction is a sin for that person. So if God has placed the conviction that abortion is wrong at all costs on Jeff’s heart, it is not an immature approach to vote against the candidate that most supports abortions. Jeff is balancing his allegiance to another kingdom while living in this world by honoring the convictions God has given him.
    I think that is a perfect example of being the church in the world’s system but not of the world’s system. It would be easy to get swept up in other issues and not stand strongly with a God-given conviction. That would be of the world. Sticking with a God-given conviction, despite getting “grief from other for [an] overly simplistic & naive approach” or having that decision be judged as a “very immature approach”, is being the church in the world’s systems.
    It is vital as believers to decide what our non-negotiable convictions are based upon our faith and allegiance to His kingdom. And it is our responsibility to thoroughly research each candidate’s stance on those issues and vote for who best allows us to maintain our integrity based upon those convictions. That is living as the church in the world’s systems and not of it; as the salt, the light, pointing to His truth.

    Like

  16. I have spent a lot of time in thought about what has been written.
    I believe that making decisions on where you think a candidate truly stands on issues based upon what that candidate says during a debate (especially only one debate, ie the Saddleback forum) is irresponsible. Dreamey stated that because Obama is a politician he had to be careful what he said to avoid losing votes. This is very true; all politicians are in a similar situation. If we are truly committed to engaging in the political process in a way that honors our allegiance to His kingdom, it is our responsibility to research each candidates’ voting record to see where they truly stand. Listening to their speeches, written to tread lightly in an effort to offend as few voters as possible, is not enough.
    I also want to address the comment, “I think the idea of voting for a candidate because he/she is against abortion is a very immature approach.” If I understand Romans correctly, God has placed different convictions on different people’s hearts. And for those who are so strongly convicted about a certain issue, to make decisions (or vote, in this case) against that conviction is a sin for that person. So if God has placed the conviction that abortion is wrong at all costs on Jeff’s heart, it is not an immature approach to vote against the candidate that most supports abortions. Jeff is balancing his allegiance to another kingdom while living in this world by honoring the convictions God has given him.
    I think that is a perfect example of being the church in the world’s system but not of the world’s system. It would be easy to get swept up in other issues and not stand strongly with a God-given conviction. That would be of the world. Sticking with a God-given conviction, despite getting “grief from other for [an] overly simplistic & naive approach” or having that decision be judged as a “very immature approach”, is being the church in the world’s systems.
    It is vital as believers to decide what our non-negotiable convictions are based upon our faith and allegiance to His kingdom. And it is our responsibility to thoroughly research each candidate’s stance on those issues and vote for who best allows us to maintain our integrity based upon those convictions. That is living as the church in the world’s systems and not of it; as the salt, the light, pointing to His truth.

    Like

  17. I think we engage in the political process viewing the situation through our faith. As believers, I hope our faith domineers our worldview. Regarding taxes. A moderate tax increase of the wealthy to support programs for the poor is biblical: โ€œHe who oppresses the poor shows contempt for his Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.โ€ Prov. 14:31. For me personally I no longer buy in to the policies where the rich get richer and poor, poorer. It is clearly unbiblical. I believe having a tax structure that closes loop holes for the rich, creates funds for programs that help individuals help themselves (especially for education such as college tuition and tax breaks for etc.) is way over due. Lies state that Obama will increase taxes. His plan will decrease taxes for 80% of the population. Yearly income over 250 k to see an increase I can only speak for myself.; What I do know is Obama openly expresses his love of Jesus Christ. History shows and family and closest friends speak of his relationship with God and Christ and the guidance it has provided in his life. What I also know is he will not settle for status quo in American government. He understands that that America today and in the future can not be governed as it is today and in the past. It is a different America, it is a different world. Common vision is a powerful thing when matched with hope and objectives that have requirements of government and of its people. It is not only inspiring, it is the engine of positive change. I believe hope keeps us purpose. Godโ€™s Word says, โ€œ Hope deferred makes the heart sick.โ€ Proverbs 13:12. I love that!
    Additional core reasons I support Obama; He is a proven listener (has made a career of it) and believes having strong discussion of different views is important. An approach I believe in from a big picture, policy perspective. About abortion-I remember girls in 1970 going to Tijuana, Mex. for abortions and being butchered. In a very secular society steeped in abortion making it illegal will push the practice underground where there would be absolutely no malpractice regulation or quality of care. In his book, Obama articulates the best plan I have heard or read to decrease abortion and provide choices to those with unwanted pregnancies. Faith based agencies are a key component. .About the military, some people say Obama will disarm the U.S. go to; /www.barackobama.com/issues/defense/ You will learn the truthโ€ฆ. โ€œ As we rebuild our armed forces, we must not simply recreate the military of the Cold War era. We must build up our special operations forces, civil affairs, information operations, and other units and capabilities that remain in chronic short supply; invest in foreign language training, cultural awareness, and human intelligence and other needed counterinsurgency and stabilization skill sets; and create a more robust capacity to train, equip, and advise foreign security forces, so that local allies are better prepared to confront mutual threats. Expand to Meet Military Needs on the Ground: Barack Obama and Joe Biden support plans to increase the size of the Army by 65,000 soldiers and the Marines by 27,000 troops. Increasing our end strength will help units retrain and re-equip properly between deployments and decrease the strain on military families.โ€
    As Christians I believe we should carefully research emails, soundbytes and video clips before hitting FORWARD. โ€œ You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.โ€ Duet. 5:20. Ninth of the ten commandments. We are to examine everything and be discerning.
    Above all, it is our love of Christ which unites us with or without politics, โ€œAnd let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.โ€
    Col. 3:15

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