Magazine

If You Could Just Go Ahead and Listen to Us, That Would Be Great

Posted on the 13 January 2014 by Agholdier @agholdier

If you haven’t seen the classic late-90’s movie Office Space, then this reference will almost certainly confuse you: by many people’s estimation, Christians have become the Bill Lumbergh of our political society.

bill-lumbergh2

Known for his nasally monotone (to call it “bland” credits it too much vigor) and laser-straight attention to the things that no one else cares about (“Mmmkay, thanks.”), the only exciting thing about Lumbergh is the level of hatred that his sudden appearances spark in those who have to hear him. Popping up suddenly out of nowhere to voice his uninspiring opinion on a subject that he was not asked for input on is a repeated recipe for comedic disaster, and while it might work well in a movie script, no one enjoys being in such a real-life situation.

How often have we Christians suddenly elbowed our way into a conversation – particularly a political one – only to be met with angry stares and frustrated responses? For many people, the only time a Christian is visible is when our certain pet social issues are suddenly in the media again (Prop 8, anyone?). It should come as no surprise to us that everyone else is confused at our sudden desire to play in their sandbox when we are so normally content to play in our own (or, more likely, our church’s).

We here at Faithful Politics have started work on a loosely connected project to develop a Kingdom-based theology of political engagement. That is to say: how does Jesus’ teaching on the Kingdom (the all-encompassing reality He inaugurated during his life and will one day bring to complete fruition upon His return) pertain to our 21st century political reality? In the interest of being clear, we should first try and define our terms: by “engagement,” we want to know how Christians should approach and interact with the current culture around them, specifically the “political” sphere that pertains to the bureaucratic institution of public governance for citizens.

I think it’s safe to say that many Christians do a poor job of this.

Consider the stereotype: the angry sign-holder who doesn’t even know what a ballot is until there is suddenly a question about abortion practices on one. Not only is this an abrasive and ineffective way of making one’s voice heard, but it goes directly against Jesus’ command for His followers to be “salt and light” to the world around them.

In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus lays out a sketch for how His disciples should engage their culture: by being consistently visible, never hiding our lamps under bowls, but by constantly seasoning the people around us with the truth of His Word. For our purposes here, we should focus on one word: consistently.

By regularly participating in cultural processes, we establish both personal connections and public records for ourselves as caring, intelligent people who deserve to be heard – rather than showing up suddenly, clutching our coffee cups, reminding everyone of the new format for the TPS reports. James Davison Hunter describes this as an approach of “faithful presence” wherein, among other things, “the challenge is not to stifle robust debate, but rather to make sure that it is real debate.” The more committed we are to faithfully engaging in politics, the more true-to-faith said engagement will be.

Until then, then only thing people will want to do is transfer us (*JUST* a moment) to someone else.

Or take us out into a field with a baseball bat.


This essay was originally published at FaithfulPolitics.org on March 8th, 2013. It appears here unedited from its original form.

Tags: Christianity, Communication, Community, Faithful Presence, James Davison Hunter, Office Space, Politics

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Looking for the BEST Copycat Crispy Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookies (Part...

    Looking BEST Copycat Crispy Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookies (Part Recipes)

    version;YES! I've found you!!!YES! You are the Famous Amos Cookies!!!YIPPEE!!!Please pardon me and my over-reacting ecstatic moments! *nervous chuckle*Am I mad... Read more

    16 hours, 44 minutes ago by   Zoebakeforhappykids
    FOOD & DRINK, RECIPES
  • Jade Eagleson Debut EP Review

    Jade Eagleson Debut Review

    Jade Eagleson gave everyone a Wednesday morning surprise when he released his debut EP. The smalltown Ontario country singer is an emerging star in country... Read more

    The 17 October 2018 by   Phjoshua
    LIFESTYLE, SELF EXPRESSION
  • The Pumpkin Spice Products I’m Buying This Fall

    Autumn is my favorite season and to celebrate I indulge in everything pumpkin spice. l buy the seasonal fall products I’ve come to love, while trying out some... Read more

    The 17 October 2018 by   A Girl In La - Style Blog
    DIARIES, LIFESTYLE
  • Singularity: Jon Hopkins Live Show

    Singularity: Hopkins Live Show

    I do not even remember when I first learned of Jon Hopkins‘ music. Maybe about 4 years ago I discovered his incredible album Immunity that made him a huge name. Read more

    The 17 October 2018 by   Flemmingbo
    CULTURE, PHOTOGRAPHY, TRAVEL
  • Loneliness

    Loneliness

    Most of us are a mixture of extrovert and introvert and I’m no exception. I love getting out and meeting people, chatting and laughing, but, equally, I... Read more

    The 17 October 2018 by   Ashleylister
    BOOKS, CREATIVITY, CULTURE, SELF EXPRESSION
  • Connecting with the Tribe in Annapolis

    Connecting with Tribe Annapolis

    “Drink this. Now.” The Annapolis Boat Show was in full swing, but my friend Nica wasn’t handing me one of Pusser’s famous Painkillers with her demand. She had... Read more

    The 17 October 2018 by   Behan Gifford
    FAMILY, OUTDOORS, SEA, TRAVEL
  • A Quick Note About Voting in the Midterm Election, Part 1

    Voting in the November 6 midterm election has never been more important… or easier! Watch this short instructional video I whipped up, then REGISTER TO VOTE! Yo... Read more

    The 17 October 2018 by   Designerdaddy
    FAMILY, PARENTING