"Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what [God] wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you." (The Message)
Reflection by Vance Taylor
"Every Christian should carry a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other." This powerful call to prayerful action has been attributed to a wide array of political theologians and theological politicians, including Abraham Kuyper, Karl Barth, Billy Graham and Chuck Colson. Fact-checkers, not to worry, since what's said is more important than who said it.
Yes, it's perfectly fine not only to discuss religion and politics, but also to allow religion to inform politics, especially in those societies founded on separation of church and state. Modeling ourselves after Jesus Christ, we Christians are called to be the moral compass and corrective of our culture, speaking and acting prophetically, challenging conformity, spending more time and effort engaging, rather than embracing, many of the generally-accepted thoughts and practices of the day.
And I think our opening quotation has just as much relevancy if we replace "Christian" with "Jew" or "Muslim" or "person of faith," and "Bible" with "Torah" or "Qur'an" or "sacred text." People of faith, regardless of their particular practice, need to view the world through the lens of their religious beliefs. Then through our words, our deeds and our votes apply those beliefs to helping transform present reality into the Kingdom of Christ, or G_d, or Allah or other deity. We need to do so with great sensitivity, practicing mutual respect and understanding in the midst of pluralism, that we may all be one in our mission of local and global betterment. Focusing on our divinity will bring out the best in our humanity.
O God of Many Names, may I actively seek your will for me and for all humanity. And in my transformation, guide me to help leave your world a little better than the way I found it. May it be so!
Click to pre-order Hark! Advent Devotionals 2012 from the Stillspeaking Writers' Group.