The 10 Commandments of Engaging Politics

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The Presidential election is only weeks away…and it’s getting ugly out there. I mean…really ugly.

And before you think I’m just talking about the political process, the political parties, or the respective candidates, I was actually talking about you, me, us, and them…the people. And by people, I’m also especially talking about Christians.

Sometimes, I feel it would be appropriate to label how some Christians engage the Presidential election season as “Christians Gone Wild.

Since it’s time for another presidential debate and there’s sure to be drama this week and next, and the following week, and each day leading up to Election Day on November 6 and likely some weeks afterwards, I thought I’d share with you my 10 Commandments of the Election Season for Christians in hopes that it might speak some balance, sense, and perspective to any readers – not just during this election season but thereafter; Not just in this country but in any country.

Why else am I sharing this?

Because I really want you to still respect yourself the morning after the election season.
Because I really want your friends to still respect you, too.

Know what I mean?

So, here are my 10 commandments of the Election Season

…….. Continue reading “The 10 Commandments of Engaging Politics”

A conversation about prayer with President Barack Obama.

Unless it’s Justin Bieber I don’t get star-struck, but I have to admit, it was pretty cool to meet President Barack Obama earlier this month. During his visit to Seattle on the weekend of February 16, I had the opportunity and privilege to attend one of the events he was speaking at. Specifically, it was an event at Boeing Everett to celebrate the work of American workers, Boeing, and the culmination of the work of the Dreamliner 787.

Light to the World.

As you know. I don’t run in these circles.  Sitting in a special section with dignitaries and politicians including mayors, various council members, business bigwigs and the Washington governor was awkward to say the least.  How I got invited to this event is a little unclear but over the past couple years, I’ve been building relationships with the White House via their Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. It’s also from a commitment I’ve had – as a Christian, a pastor, and a leader – to be a light to the World and not just merely light to the Light. Translation: As we serve and love the church, we must also look outward and engage the larger culture. Folks notice and when opportunities arise, they sometimes ask for input and involvement or just merely your presence and that’s what happened.

Because of this theology and ecclesiology Continue reading “A conversation about prayer with President Barack Obama.”

vote for me! the politicization and manipulation of jesus, christians, and religion

I confess that I don’t have much idea with what’s currently going on with the Presidential primary process but can assume that things are heating up as candidates ratchet up rhetoric about all things including their affection for Christ, faith, religion, evangelicals, etc.

And why does this make sense? Because supposedly, America,  is a Christian nation – or at the least, a religious nation.

Statistically, in the United States, 83% claim to belong to some sort of religious denomination 40% claim to attend services nearly every week or more, and 58% claim to pray at least weekly. The majority of Americans (60% to 76%) identify themselves as Christians… [source]

All this to say that it makes perfect sense why politicians and political parties would want to politicize religion or faith – however genuine their faith is or not. This is why it made perfect sense for President Obama’s opponents and critics to question, Is Obama really a Christian? And that’s why it makes sense & smart strategy for Rick Perry to throw down some religious rhetoric to say “I’m one of you” when he promised in a recent political ad (click here for RSS readers) to:

“end Obama’s war on religion. And I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage. ”

He goes on to say…

“there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.”

While some folks holler and scream about Rick Perry’s ad, the blunt truth is Continue reading “vote for me! the politicization and manipulation of jesus, christians, and religion”

is he a christian, a muslim, or a cactus? why can’t we just believe president obama?

I received a letter this week from the White House. A big fat packet. Ain’t I special?

Unfortunately, it wasn’t an invitation to a special Gala or for me to sing at an event. It wasn’t about a partnership with One Day’s Wages. Or to join his circle of sagacious advisors. Or to ask me to join Warren Buffet in helping turn around the U.S. economy. Or to inform me that he’d be visiting my church. And no, it wasn’t a direct letter from President Obama himself. But it was a letter from one of his staff sharing some stuff about President Obama, some initiatives, and what I perceived to be clarity about his faith. Huh?

It puzzled me initially but after some thought, I think I know why I received the letter as I’m sure several other “pastors” may have received it as well.

Why? Continue reading “is he a christian, a muslim, or a cactus? why can’t we just believe president obama?”

the abortion conversation – the sequel

I really need to do a better job in following up on sequels to earlier posts.  This is the sequel to the original The Abortion Conversation which sparked some good and intense dialogue.

A commenter wrote:

Eugene said:
“However, I just do not believe we can legislate it.  Without going into all the details, the layers over abortion is so complex that even after extensive research, I can’t understand how a country like the United States can enforce abortion and pay for the enforcement – if it were to be turned illegal.”

Instead of “abortion”, replace it with any other crime; like murder, rape, slavery, theft.  How does it read then?  Is cost any reason not to criminalize an act where another person is harmed?  Obviously, we still have murders and other crimes even though it’s illegal, but that doesn’t mean we should allow it. Continue reading “the abortion conversation – the sequel”

how i’m voting

My ballot still sits on my desk but I’ll be completing it soon and walking it in on Tuesday to my local polling place.  As I shared last week and again, yesterday during my sermon at Quest, I will not be divulging who I am voting for various reasons. 

Side question: Do you think “active” pastors [currently serving congregations] should publicly share who they are voting for?

Politics can get heated and messy.  You don’t just have to watch the various media and news outlets to know this.  You can also sense the tension within the Christian community which I think is perfectly normal and okay as long as we 1] engage in the rules of civility and 2] get off our righteous soapboxes and consider what it means for us to live out our faith and convictions beyond the election season.  Continue reading “how i’m voting”