Recently, I came across this great blog post from Pastor Eugene Cho of Quest Church in Seattle. In a general sense, Jedd and I really like what he’s about, and this specific post about being a person of faith who is engaging in politics is one example why. It triggered the idea to write about my own journey into the world of politics. First, here’s an excerpt from Eugene’s post:
“I’m not interested in politics for the sake of politics.
But I care about politics because politics impacts policies which ultimately, impact people.
And by people, I mean that everyone matters. We’re all important but in a system where the poor are often without powerful lobbies, platforms, and megaphones, I believe that the Christian community has both the obligation and privilege to assist them and their needs to be heard. Let’s not be mistaken. God does take sides but they have nothing to do with the sides of liberals or conservatives, Republicans or Democrats, but rather, God takes the sides of the poor and marginalized.” -Eugene Cho (Blog: A Moral Budget…)
By the time I was in college, I was already highly skeptical of politics, mostly because I felt it was divisive, and aligning myself with one party or the other didn’t really fit. Plus, I didn’t really know how getting myself involved politically could possibly make a difference, and I didn’t understand how much American policies have an affect on people- especially the poor.
All of this changed when Jim Wallis came to speak at my school and shared a new way of viewing and participating in politics as a person of faith that I had never heard before. Wallis was sharing from his book, God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It
And it finally made sense to me. “Values Voting” is about more than two issues. Alleviating poverty is a moral value- as is caring for creation, protecting human dignity against discrimination, fighting for the rights of workers, valuing life even in regards to war, and many other issues. Moral values are innately tied up in political policies.
Three or four years later I was actually able to attend a conference called The Mobilization to End Poverty in D.C., put on by Sojourners (of which Jim Wallis is CEO), where I learned even more about being an active citizen, a walk-the-talk Christian, and an advocate for justice on behalf of the poor, the oppressed, and the marginalized. Through the past three years in my (former) job, I was lucky enough to work alongside and learn from other folks who were pursuing this same Biblical call to social justice. The quote above by Eugene Cho is a great summary of what it’s all about. So if you’re a Christian but you shy away from politics, or if you’re really into politics but have been jaded by the “single issue Christians,” maybe take another look…