>Political Atheist: Chief Roberts, you did say “President”, right?
I mean, he was mumbling.
The Republican Party should be listening to Pastor-elect Barack Obama’s call for change. Perhaps they need it more than anyone these next couple of years. In fact, as many of us learned in church this past Sunday, it’s not just the Republicans who need it. From the whites to the blacks and every skin tone in between, change is the ever-elusive pursuit of the human soul that we always want yet rarely capture. Some look for change in others, some look for change in themselves, some look to God for change and many Americans now look to Barack Obama.
A glaring irony in the supposed “godless” Left is that their end game pursuit looks a lot like the early New Testament church. In its incipiency, the church had an economic structure that encouraged the haves helping the have not’s … and it worked! The early church was the one place where there was no stratification … where there was no male, no female, no slave, Greek, or Jew (or at least Acts lets you think so). There was this beautiful hope that a nobody could become somebody (or at least equal) in the community of the changed.
Hope. Change. Haven’t I heard that message somewhere else? During Obama’s campaign stumps I often checked the channel just to make sure I was still on CNN and not TBN. It may be that it’s not just the conservatives who have transgressed the church/state divide.
President Bush took his religious ideology to D.C. but in the end, it may be the liberals who have their functional church in Washington with Obama as the head pastor. When will both these Democrats and Republicans understand the hard-learned lesson that the Founding Fathers proclaimed? The lesson that the state can only work an external change within society, and that God through His Church can influence internal change (mind you, internal change can never be coerced, which is why the government can never change men’s hearts through laws, regulations and punishments, but only influence his/her external actions). And that we should never confuse the external, action based change of the civil government and the heart-level internal change produced by God and the church. Let’s pray Obama doesn’t confuse the two. Let’s pray we don’t confuse the two.
Or maybe, so many have forsaken church or disliked church that we’ve forgotten its function? Maybe the introduction to this short diatribe was wrong and you weren’t at church this past Sunday? So maybe you’ve confused Obama for your pastor and your pastor for the law executor? Maybe you haven’t, but I know all too many who have. It’s not that we’re wrong; it’s that we’re confused. That goes for the Church as well … it is no longer a place of grace, but a place of law, political backbiting and stratification, resembling civil government more so than the forgiven bride of Christ. I guess you could say that Church and State have traded their roles.
But I am still confused. What is “it” that the government can change? And in what way can “it” change? Can the government change the “it” of supposed godlessness in the families of America? Many red bleeding Christian republicans think it can change it. Can the government change the “it” of the poverty mentality in so many of the poor? Many blue hearted liberals think it can change “it.”
In the end, Obama may be right. Change is what we all need. Hope is what we look for. And maybe Obama will change some of the junk in D.C., yet I’ve never placed much hope in men, or a man for that matter. For neither man nor man’s government can change the deep problems of America. Has it ever, like cool water on a hot day, quenched the longings of your soul? Government can only change so much, right? Obama may be right, but I’m not sure he doesn’t have the wrong job … that went for “W” as well.
As for me, I’m a political atheist … I don’t believe in politics as a deity substitute. But I do believe that the real change and real hope that we want is found in Jesus and His community of the changed.