Democratic National Convention (and other ways to increase the traffic to your blog)

There has been much hullabaloo over Donald Miller closing out a night of the Democratic National Convention in prayer recently.  Conservatives are throwing stones, saying that the DNC is just catering to the evangelical vote, and Liberals are praising Miller for bringing balance to the force, or something.

I’d like to imagine how Jesus would have prayed, were he asked to, at an event like that.  Here we have a massive room full of people passionate about their cause, arrogant about their ability to win an election, and gunning for the opponent.  (Also a pretty accurate description of the Republicans, by the way)  Without fail, Jesus knocked arrogant zealots off of their little thrones each time he encountered them in scripture.  Think of the “rich young ruler” in the gospels.  He showed up boasting about how good he was, and Jesus made him very sad.  Think of the Pharisees. Jesus regularly ridiculed, rebuked, and otherwise yelled at them.

So I can’t help but imagine Jesus’ prayer at the Democratic National Convention.  He’d have probably had his microphone turned off.  People using his name to get votes?  People who do not care at all about repenting of sin and the work Jesus did in his life, death, burial, and resurrection, but would invite him over so that others would vote for them?  I shudder to think the blistering monologue that would result.

Let me reiterate that I think this goes for both sides of the aisle.  Republicans are just as guilty.  I can’t think of the last time I’ve heard humility from anybody in the discussion, including myself.  When we start talking politics, we very quickly become players in a chess game.  I have to find the weakness in the other team and expose it.  I can’t come across as weak or like I don’t have all the answers.  We must demonize the other team and glorify our team.

Imagine if a politician were to say “hey, we are both after the same thing.  We are after justice and peace and harmony and restraining the forces of evil in the world.  Let’s figure out a way we can best do that, and stop taking cheap shots at the other guy.  And let’s not forget that government is not there to solve our problems.  It’s there to protect us from ourselves and others who would try to take away our freedoms.

Don Miller, I applaud you for having the guts to use the name of Jesus in a prayer on national television, and before a largely secular and humanistic audience.  That was a bold witness for Jesus.  But I can’t help but think Jesus would have ruffled more feathers.

Obama and McCain

Fear often helps us reveal our idols.  If I am inordinately afraid, it is often because an idol of mine is being threatened.  If the thought of Obama winning scares me, it because an idol of mine (free-market capitalism? lower taxes for the wealthy?  smaller government? defense against terrorism?) is being threatened.  Likewise, if the thought of McCain winning scares me,  it is because and idol of mine (the environment? a regulated economy? affordable healthcare? saving face internationally?) is being threatened.

So, as we all sit and watch the election results roll in (and it looks like it’s going to be a landslide for Obama!), we need to ask the question “why am I nervous when it looks like “my candidate” isn’t winning?”  And in answering that question, we will find our idols.

And the thing to do with idols is to turn from them to the only God who can actually save us.  Repent, Americans.  Obama can’t save you.  Jesus can.

Public Servants.

Here’s my fear.  By posting something during this administration, following this speech, and during this congress, you might think I am trying to make a political statement in favor of one party over the other.  Rest assured that I think the elephant in the room has acted just as much like a jackass as anybody.

I want this, though, to be less of a statement, and more of a question.  I am not going to pretend that I don’t have an opinion. I do. But my question is simple: when the President says the federal government is going to cut spending, why doesn’t he (or any one of the members of any of the other parties represented) take a voluntary pay cut?  Commit to earing the same amount as a middle school science teacher during your 4 years, and I’ll believe that you are serious about balancing the budget.

Because what I saw tonight on the live stream of the State of the Union Address was a room full of $900 suits and $4,000 diamond broaches.  And it’s tough to hear you over the ticking of your Rolex.

Let me reiterate that even the suits that were sitting down most of the night were still custom-tailored. This is not a dig against just one party.

When my church went through their budget crisis last year, the first people to take a pay cut (by choice) were the senior teaching pastors.  And they announced that in front of everyone.  That’s leadership.

Want to gain back the trust of this American?  Simple.  Put your money where your mouth is.