I've tried to be quiet on the political front lately, here on the blog. But my frustration under the skin is building. It's difficult to watch such an unsavory election. It's sad to be at odds with friends. Perhaps, if I engaged in a little light conversation with one imaginary friend, you -- my readers -- might better understand my dismay.
Joe: Hi, M.K.! How's it going?
MK: Hi, Joe. Good. You?
Joe: Ugh. The politics is getting me down. Our country is going down the tubes. The economy is caving in, and life as we know it is about to change forever. We've got to get this administration out of office, don't you agree?
MK: Well ....
Joe: I mean, you do agree that Obama has done a terrible job?
Joe: And you do think we should remove him at all costs?
MK: At all costs? Well, I don't ....
Joe: Aren't you voting for Romney?
MK: No, I'm not.
Joe: What??? (head explodes) You're not gonna vote?
MK: Yes, I'll vote for someone else I like better.
Joe: But, you're throwing your vote away!
MK: You mean just because I won't vote for someone who has a chance of winning? That's not a very American attitude! I'd like to see all my friends apply that same philosophy to their football affections.
Joe: But we've all got to band together to throw Obama out!! That's all that matters!
MK: Really? Nothing else really matters?
[Joe stares at me dumbly.]
MK: Tell me, Joe. Do you think our nation's terrible condition is primarily a spiritual situation?
Joe: Yes, definitely. We're in spiritual decline. We're forgotten God -- taken Him out of our schools and out of our lives. The church is attacked on every side. We're losing our soul.
MK: And you would agree that Obama's administration is an example of that spiritual vacuum -- the spiritual deadness we all oppose?
Joe: Yes! Exactly!
MK: So, you'd say that the spiritual condition of the president, and of his administration, is really important.
Joe: Yes, I would.
MK: You'd say that you'd prefer to elect a Christian to the White House?
Joe: [hesitates] Yes, yes, I would. It would be my preference, of course.
MK: Is Romney a Christian?
Joe: Now, MK. C'mon. He's a Mormon, we all know that.
MK: So, he's a member of a cult.
Joe: Well ....
MK: Yes or no.
Joe: Yes. Mormonism is technically a cult. But Romney has said that his Mormonism won't affect his presidency at all. He's said that.
MK: So, you're saying that the man's faith won't touch his all-consuming task of governing the nation. That his faith won't matter. I thought you said a candidate's faith does matter.
Joe: It does. It does -- and Romney's a very decent, family man. I mean, he's very moral. That matters!
MK: Okay, Joe. Let me ask you this: what's good for America? I mean, as a Christian, what do you think would be best for America?
Joe: Well, returning to God, to the Bible, of course.
MK: Even for non-Christians? Do you think a more Christian America would be good for them too?
Joe: Um. I don't know. We believe in freedom of religion here.
MK: Understood. I'm not talking about forcing anyone to be a Christian. But -- here's my question -- which is better for America: a strong church, or a weak church?
Joe: A strong church, of course. A strong Christian church helps the nation be a more moral place.
MK: So moralism is what we want? Is moralism the effect we want the church to have on the world?
Joe: [hesitates longer] You don't want people murdering or raping or stealing.
MK: And you think Romney can deliver on this moralism, and Obama can't?
Joe: I didn't mean that. Romney is a moral person, no doubt. But the big issue is the economy! We've got to get our economy running again! People are losing millions! Jobs lost, homes lost, lives disrupted. It's a nightmare!
MK: So, what the nation needs, spiritually speaking, is more money.
Joe: What? No! I didn't say that!
MK: You said that the economy is an even bigger issue that lack of morals. You want a wealthy economy, right?
Joe: People care about their money.
MK: What should they care about? What would be best for America spiritually: a wealthy economy? a moralistic populace? or a strong church that knows Truth and continues to call people to it?
Joe: Spiritually? Well, the last one, of course.
MK: As Christians, what is our primary concern for our neighbors, of whom we are keepers? Their bank accounts, their moral behavior, or their souls?
Joe: But, they're not all Christians! We can't force ....
MK: Do we only care about people's souls if their Christians? What does the nation really need, Joe?
Joe: A strong church, I guess.
MK: And how in the world does Romney's presidency produce a strong church? Doesn't his acceptance by millions of Christians simply normalize Mormonism?
Joe: Yeah, that'll probably happen.
MK: It's already happening.
Joe: But ... we're not electing a national pastor!
MK: No, we're electing a national leader, whose spiritual condition (you've already stated) is very important to the future of the nation. To the pagan, such choices mean nothing. But to the Christian -- every choice in a leader is a choice that impacts the spiritual state of the world.
MK: Tell me, Joe. What has Obama's election does to Christians in the country, to the church? How have they responded to the increased antagonism to the Christian church, and to God?
Joe: I think it's invigorated them. I know people who used to say nothing have finally taken a stand on Christian truth and particularly freedom of speech.
MK: So, opposition invigorates the church, right?
Joe: Yes, that's been true for centuries.
MK: What effect will Romney's presidency have on the church's ability to recognize, verbalize, and convince the world of the Truth?
Joe: Ugh. This election gives me a headache.
This is where I am, friends. I cannot look at anything in this world with anything other than a Christian mindset. There is only one thing that this fallen world needs, and that's the Truth of Jesus, in God's Word. God has chosen His church to send out that Truth. When I hear so many Christians hemming and hawing about whether Mormonism is really a cult, about whether a president's faith even matters, about how the economy is the only issue that matters -- it hurts my soul. We know better than this. We know what the nation needs, and instead, we are fussing over money (money!) and forgetting the Truth.
I hope this will be the last I have to say, before election day. 1st Century Christians held their government in honor and respect, even though their ruler burned Christians alive for his evening entertainment. Why are we screaming as if the world will end, if we have four more years of Obama? We are not behaving like citizens of the heavenly kingdom. We are too earthly minded. We seek the welfare of the nation into which we have been placed as exiles and ambassadors. What does that welfare look like? Lower taxes and big bank accounts? No! It looks like God's kingdom, in which we don't worry about moths, rust, or diminishing 401Ks. Point your neighbors to Jesus, and to a real citizenship. Dwelling on blemishes of politics and twisting our faith to accommodate worldly ends, is not God-honoring.