November 30, 2007

Jesus for President

Politics and religion in the same post, I wonder how many people I can offend.

Shane Claiborne is a friend of mine. We've never really met, but have exchanged emails for more than a year. He wrote Irresistible Revolution, one of my very favorite books of all time. I think I've purchased at least a dozen copies and given them all away. I'm now "borrowing" copies that I've given to friends to give to other friends so they can read it too.

Next summer, Shane will be going on a tour engaging people in discussion of his latest book, Jesus for President. What got me interested, initially, was the call for local musicians to come and play at intermission. I've written a couple of folk-rock pieces about Jesus' political practices (see lyrics below).

Brian McLaren (Everything Must Change) does a wonderful job of explaining how Jesus offers another alternative to the prevailing political practices in his day by extending an invitation to live in God's Kingdom. Kingdom language falls on dear ears today, but, for those of us who are storytellers, it might sound like this:

Seek first God's Story and His justice, and everything else will be taken care of.

Would Jesus make a good president? Enjoy the lyrics.

Politics of Jesus

He didn’t toe the party line
No red or blue or left or right
No “Vote for Jesus” button or sign
Just one thing: His kingdom or mine
He didn’t toe the party line

He wasn’t casting any spin
Truth is freedom and love will win
Sin’s more than doing, it’s born within
No drawing lines to box him in
He wasn’t casting any spin

No mud-slinging, no taking sides
Though he kissed some babies, blessed their lives
Promises made weren’t quaint sound bytes
He brought his kingdom with his life
He brought his kingdom with his life
He brought his kingdom with his life
He brought his kingdom with his life

His reign’s not of this place
Not built by hands in sacred space
Inclusive regardless gender or race
Membership’s free, unlimited grace
His reign’s not of this place

Not a campaign aide, not a campaign tool
Give God what’s God’s, give Caesar his due
Gave his live away for the least of you
He brought his kingdom to us fools
He brought his kingdom to us fools
He brought his kingdom to us fools
He brought his kingdom to us fools


Andrew said...

The republican debate the other night had an interesting comment along these lines. Gov. Mike Huckabee was asked if he thought Jesus would employ the death penalty if he was the president or a governor. Huckabee responded "Jesus was too smart to run for elected office."

It is interesting to reflect how many people expect the biggest impacts in our society to come from political decisions. The same was true two thousand years ago. How many of Jesus' own followers thought the messiah would cast off the yoke of Roman rule? Turns out Jesus had a different objective in mind, and when we try to use politics to achieve his aim, we tend to miss the point of his teachings.

edb said...

I thought about putting that in the post, that his followers thought he'd be king, and his enemies killed him because he was a's an interesting paradox. I detest when our political candidates use the name of Jesus for thier own gain.

Stacey said...

I'm connected to MiracleWord now, check it out.

And Ethan, you're absolutely right here, no doubt about it. But when are you gonna pick a candidate that's running? I'd tend to believe God trusts us to make good intentional choices, we don't always, but we could.

Pick a candidate who most correlates with your principles and whom you believe will more likely keep us safe, and tell us who he he he is. You can make a difference. xo