I’m preparing myself for a steady flow of “inquisitive” emails from the readers of the Seattle Times, folks within our church and from the larger [Christian] community in Seattle about my quote in today’s Seattle Times article awkwardly and poorly entitled, “Young, Evangelical…for Obama?” [They should have done better!] Years ago, I was told that there are two topics to avoid: Faith and Politics.
Here’s the quote:
Eugene Cho, a founder and lead pastor at Seattle’s Quest Church, which caters to a predominantly under-35 crowd, urges young Christians to look beyond the two or three issues that have allowed Christians to be “manipulated by those that know the game or use it as their sole agenda.”
“While the issue of abortion — the sanctity of life — must always be a hugely important issue, we must juxtapose that with other issues that are also very important,” Cho wrote in his blog on faith and politics. [read full article]
The quote is from the entry below [originally written in February ’08]. Let me just go on the record and say I’m no longer “Young”; I don’t quite know what “Evangelical” means in today’s context; I am PRO-LIFE but believe in the importance of Education and Choice; I’m neither a Democrat or Republican. I am simply a follower of Jesus discerning how to integrate mercy, justice, and compassion in my engagement with life, faith, family, culture, and even…politics.
I’m sure my perspective will change come the primaries and elections later this year but for now, I’m kinda worn out my the continuous barrage of attention to the presidential elections. Let’s get to November please. There are other important things going on like Praying for Burma/Myanmar and Fighting Global Poverty. But to bring a little laughter to the tense Democratics nominations, I share this video with you. Don’t take this too politically you sensitive people…just laugh!
Below is the original post:
“My name is Eugene Cho and I approve this blog post…”
Couple folks have already emailed – surprised or encouraged – with the discovery that the Q Cafe is a host to a Democratic Precinct caucus this Saturday. Read on…
When it comes to politics, I wrestle with how I handle my “influence” as the lead pastor of a church. While I will discuss topics and issues, I decided elections ago not to directly endorse a specific candidate – especially behind the pulpit on a Sunday. I will never do that. But even through conversations, emails, questions, and through this blog, I still hold in tension that very question. This is the reason why – while I have an inclinatino – I have tried to maintain a level of mystery. And plus, I like to do my due diligence and there’s alot of time left before the election in November!
I think many at Quest have personally wrestled through their decisions and wouldn’t at all be influenced by my thought processes. Others, however, have personally asked for my feedback. Rather than give a direct endorsement of one candidate, I have tried to encourage them to wrestle through the issues that are important to them and through other issues that are not as readily discussed [see below].
Seattle, as you may guess, is a bit more [insert your own word] progressive. Quest is heavy on the 20s/30s demographic. Last year, our surveys indicated that the average age was 26 for men and 24 for women. About 78% [I think] were single. While our demographics have changed much this year…You can put 1 + 1 together and it’s safe to assume that Quest – politically – is a little more [insert your own word here] progressive than Provo, Utah or Lubbock, Texas. This is one of the reasons why I have tried to be careful: Discuss issues through a biblical/cultural hermeneutic and trajectory rather than endorsing a specific candidate. Because the majority at Quest are probably more politically progressive or “Democratic,” several of the “Republicans” at Quest have contacted me personally expressing their feelings of marginalization at Quest. That’s the last thing that I want as one of the pastors of our church.
But nevertheless, dialogue is important. And engaging the culture and serving the city is important. This is why the church has served as a voting center in years past; hosted Republicans groups to meet at Q Cafe; and why one of the Democratic precincts will be meeting at Q Cafe for their caucus this upcoming Saturday. This is not – in any way, shape, or form – the church, cafe, or its leadership endorsing one party or another – but a commitment to serve the larger city and not be afraid to engage. [Psst. Psst.] I’m already behind on emails and I’m hoping we won’t get too much flak for hosting a Democratic caucus at the cafe.
There is definitely a different “feel” about this election… I am encouraged by the many who “casted” their votes in yesterday’s post about “the next president.” As I’ve alluded to this in conversation with folks, let me share some basic simple thoughts:
1 VOTE. It is truly a privilege and a gift we should exercise. I especially enjoyed what “Rick from Texas” shared in his comment yesterday:
“I thought about not voting in November, but was reminded by a respected friend that I have this right to vote which has been paid for by the blood of patriots…”
2 BE INFORMED. My exposition of Obama’s hope as fluffy wasn’t an indictment about him but more about what I perceived to be people’s lack of understanding where their respective candidates stand on the larger issues. Hope can be beautiful…and also painful.
3 BEYOND ONE ISSUE. Especially as people of faith in Christ, we must be people that are beyond the “single issue.” When we become single issue voters, we will be used and manipulated by those that know the game. While the issue of abortion – the sanctity of life – must always be a hugely important issue, we must juxtapose that with other issues that are also very important. Why is the sanctity of life an issue for pro-choice but not as much with the death penalty?
4 POLITICS IS NOT THE ANSWER. Rather, it is not THE answer. Politics is a process, structure and medium by which we can do much good as a society rather than much harm but many, I believe, can fall astray in thinking that politics, policies, and politicians can provide the salvation for the nations. It certainly has its purpose and must be used accordingly and wisely.
Lastly [if you’ve read this far], I am a fan of conversation. People need to talk. Sadly – deep, rich, meaningful conversation – talking, listening, sharing – doesn’t always take place in the the church. How does our faith and love for Christ go beyond a compartmentalized worldview. Surely, faith is more than a 90 minute service. So, may your faith continue its process of renewal and transformation – heart, body, mind, and soul.
Follow your convictions. Vote. Live out your faith in high definition.