Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Be Kind To My Friend

The inauguration of Barack Obama yesterday proved to be an important moment in my life, but not for the reasons you would probably expect. You see, I was able to watch the President's speech and his subsequent parade through the streets of DC with nothing but joy in my heart. Instead of the Dan of the past, who would have gotten all riled up over all those millions of people going crazy over a 'socialist' and a 'baby killer', I was joyful and optimistic. Jesus said that there would be evidence of his presence in my life. He used the analogy of a plant that is rooted in him producing good fruit. I always assumed that 'fruit' meant that I would not sin as much and I would vote Republican. But now I can see a much more beautiful fruit being produced by Jesus growing me into the person he wants me to be.

I now know that my participation in the kingdom has NOTHING to do with politics. It is not my duty to crusade against Barack Obama for his views on the economy or his stance on abortion. I am IN NO WAY representing Jesus when I get angry about "where our country is going" or when I talk with others about the end of the American lifestyle as we know it. The greatest liberation that I have found in Jesus is the freedom to freely love others without judgement; to love my neighbor and my enemy as myself, and to look at EVERY human being as a brother. And so it looks like this, when I hear someone taking Barack to task for all the evils that he is sure to bring on us, I get a weird feeling inside. Its the same feeling I'd get if I heard someone railing against one of my friends or family members. It hurts to hear people say such things about Obama. And after weeks of sorting out these feelings, I think I've come to an amazing conclusion: I LOVE BARACK OBAMA! I think that he's a good man with great potential. I love seeing how his girls adore him. I love his wife and the marriage they have together. I have nothing but the highest hopes for him both personally and as our 44th President. And when I see all those throngs of people so excited and full of adoration, I get excited. I get excited that there is something out there that is making people happy and gathering them together.

Do I agree with Barack Obama about many things? Certainly not. Do I think that abortion is a terrible and evil thing? Yes I do. But Jesus calls me to transform the world by loving the world, not by crusading against its evils. Jesus lived in times infinitely more barbaric than today and he never once got involved the political game. He didn't play on that playing field. Instead he created this 'kingdom of god' thing, where people are transformed by experiencing true, sacrificial and unearned love. THAT is what will change the world. Thank god that's the way it works! How joyous and free! I can love Jesus by unconditionally loving others just like he did. And miraculously, Jesus says that THIS WAY of living will be the revolution the world needs. My role in the abortion debate is to love the doctors performing the abortions just as much as I love the babies being aborted. I am to serve all without pretense and people will be saved. Unreal.

Do I agree with Barack Obama's economic plans? No I do not. Do I think that it will hurt the fundamental economic structure of America, that being the free market? Yes I do. However, I have a new angle on the issue: I DON'T CARE! I don't care if our economy goes bad. I don't care if we lose our status as a economic power. I don't care if we all lose the comforts and conveniences of our lifestyle. I just don't care. I am a follower of Jesus of Nazareth and, therefore, am bound to his kingdom way of life. I am not bound to my lifestyle and my prosperity. I am bound to Christ and his revolution of 'less for me so you can have more'. If Obama's economic plan gives more money to poor people and to those who don't have much, I'm fine with it; it isn't really my concern. If my destiny is to work hard my whole life and have it taken away by the government, so be it. Its not about me. It is such a privilege to live in Jesus' kingdom where I don't have to give ANY of my heart and focus towards 'building a life for my family' or anything else lifestyle related. Jesus had a right to EVERYTHING and yet gave it ALL up for us, and to think that we are called to place any limitations on our sacrifice for other's benefit in order to advance our own lifestyle is simply absurd. Its self-serving and anti-Jesus. I can almost hear Jesus, responding to someone complaining about paying taxes and having their 'hard-earned' money given to someone who is 'lazy' and 'won't get off their butt and work', saying "Where do you get the right? I gave my life for you, and now you're complaining about what you DESERVE? Do you really want to go there?"

The kingdom of god looks like this: I give all for you and you give all for me. We sustain each other by our sacrificing for one another. We give all and trust god to provide for us. THAT is crazy, illogical and an absolute freaking blast! In my life, I would hope that I give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I would hope that I look for the best in everyone else regardless of its impact on me. And I would most certainly hope that Jesus' love would shine through me into even the darkest places. And so, I wish you well Mr. President. I am on your side; I am with you; and I truly hope for nothing but the best for you my friend. You are valuable beyond measure in the eyes of god, and you are the same in mine. Let me know if I can do anything for you, sir.


GigHarborUndressed said...

Interesting thoughts. I agree on the important a Christian American I feel it's my responsibility and my right to support, encourage, and pray for our new president.
I don't share what I take to be your political ambivalence, and I don't share your desire to see Obama succeed. I don't like many of his political stances, why would I want them to succeed? I guess it's fair to say I want him to succeed, but I don't want many of his agendas to succeed. That's why I didn't vote for him.
I also don't feel as you do about not caring about his politics. I DO care about the economy. I do want my business to succeed so I can do as Jesus asked in Luke 16 and use that money to make friends and I can use that money to help those in need. I don't need the economy to improve to solidify my position in heaven, but while I'm on earth trying to advance God's kingdom, I could use some money to fund God's work. I don't want a broke nation to print more money and through $800B to companies that made bad decisions. I want us to be responsible, and I want the economy to improve, and I want my business to succeed.
I'm glad neither of us are bitter that Obama was elected (as we would have been a few years back). I'm impressed with Obama's leadership skills, I just don't want those great leadership skills to lead our nation in the wrong direction.

Cheri said...

I am reading Colossians for my Bible Study and it's amazing what Paul writes about Christ - how "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." (Col. 1:15-17) Christ is in control, no matter who is in power. He always has been and always will be. Even when Nero brutally reigned, or more recently, Hitler. Abortion is brutal, but President Obama is far from being a ruler like that. Still, God is in control and holds all things together, whether or not our economy tanks.

We don't need to have a thriving business or economy to give to those in need - the widow gave all she had. We need a willing heart to give what we have. Sometimes I think it's harder to give when you have more.

Great thoughts on the 44th president, Dan.

Garry Bouwman said...

I have to agree with most of your thoughts. I don't believe Christ followers need to waste effort and time bashing Obama. That makes us no better than those who bashed Bush for the last 8 years rather than doing something constructive. Rather, I think we should take the same stance we should take with any president. Stand with him when he's right and stand against him when he's wrong.
I couldn't vote for Obama based purely on moral differences. I pray that he will lead well and make good choices. We cannot legislate morality anyway. We have tried that with an obvious lack of success.
God has this our situation well in hand, we just need worship him and follow his lead.
Good blog my man!