Sermon Summary, Feb 7, 2016, “Where Faith and Politics Meet”
The conflict between Faith and Politics is not new. In 1702, hen Samuel Wesley could not get an Amen from his wife Susanna when he prayed for King William he said, “Suzy, we must part. If we are to have two kings in this house, we shall have two beds.” And he left! When he returned some months later, John Wesley the founder of Methodism was born within a year!
We are people of faith. Faith informs our values. Whatever faith we have informs our values. Adam Hamilton says, “Our democracy rises and falls on the willingness of people of good conscience to get involved in the political process.”
Gore Vidal defined politics thus: “Poli from the Greek means many, and “tic” is a blood sucking insect.” A more noble definition may be “Politics is process of deciding who gets what, when, and how.” If so, it involves moral decisions by moral people. Amos, 700 years before Christ lambasted the immoral political leadership of his day and concluded, “Let justice roll down like waters nd righteousness like an ever flowing stream.” Moral administration of resources and opportunity.
Jesus was a politician. In fact you could say Jesus was killed for running for President. Do you remember the people saying, “We have no king but Caesar”? That was a vote. Jesus was a politician who gathered disciples from all parties: Simon the Zealot (Zealots advocated the violent overthrow of Rome), Matthew the tax collector and agent of Rome, the fishermen were businessmen, Saul was a Pharisee, John the Baptist and Essene, etc. Why can’t our extremes work as well together?
Jesus was a politician who from the outset (Luke 4:18) proclaimed his ministry to the poor (those deprived of humanity or health), the captive (e.g. mentally ill), the blind (those who receive inadequate educational opportunities), the oppressed (those deprived of opportunity or liberty). The ministry, teachings, and stories of Jesus tell us the who and the what, but leave the “how” wide open. Out task is to inform our “How.” How do we inform our “How”?
John Wesley talked of a framework of Scripture (the guide to all others), Tradition (teaching and actions of the early church), Experience (prayer and listening to the nudgings of the Spirit), and Reason (our God-given intellect) that can inform our “How.”
A book Jesus, Outside the Lines says we are not called to be right or left, we are called to the values of the Kingdom. Jesus was both a Liberal AND a Conservative. Scripture, Tradition, Experience, and Reason allow us to see a rainbow of colors in what would otherwise be a sea of red and blue. Amen.