West Union United Methodist Church
Thursday, August 16, 2018
Luke 10:27

Pastor's Corner

 

 

Consider This… From Chris
 

     I have heard, sometimes personally and sometimes more generally, that the church should not be involved in politics. Our concern, so the discussion goes, is with the spiritual realm.  We have, however, a fairly long history of recognizing the connection between the spiritual and any other part of what it means to be a human being living in community.  The origin of the word, politic, in both Greek and Latin, points to the activities of the citizens of a city, as well as the government and organization of that city. Religion’s involvement in those activities goes back a long ways in our tradition, to the work of the prophets in the Old Testament as they spoke against the abuse of power, extending to the ministry of Jesus commanding us to love our enemies, later to the letters of Paul as he encouraged us to pray for our governments and to be faithful to God, and on into the work of John and Charles Wesley as they worked against slavery and economic oppression. That involvement in the political life of people continues today. I would like us to consider how we as a Church are in relationship with people in the realm of politics.  We have in our United Methodist Book of Discipline a section that is called the Social Principles, which from time to time is added to or amended.  Part of the preamble has these words:

Grateful for God’s forgiving love, in which we live and by which we are judged, and affirming our belief in the inestimable worth of each individual, we renew our commitment to become faithful witnesses to the gospel, not alone to the ends of earth, but also to the depths of our common life and work.

        Please note that we begin with the reminder and recognition of God’s forgiving love (because we all fall short of God’s hope for us), and step immediately into the belief that every person is of “inestimable worth.”  There is no word of exception here that some are more worthy than others.  Our job is to witness to God’s love to and for all people.  The Principles goes on to discuss the various realms of both natural and political life, among them are care for the environment and an affirmation of the importance of scientific knowledge and exploration, human sexuality, racial and ethnic relations, basic human rights for men, women and children, healthcare, economics and justice.  On the issue of government there is this statement: “We believe that the state should not attempt to control the church, nor should the church seek to dominate the state.”    There is, of course, much more, and we can be in conversation about the Principles. 

 

      From time to time I will speak out when I see abuse of power, or behavior that is contradictory to our scriptures and our Discipline and our Social Principles. I will continue to be concerned about and speak about politics, with every attempt at being non-partisan. Our responsibility is to be involved in the compassionate care of all individuals, and that will always include, in one form or another, being involved in and talking about politics, both in the church and in our other activities.

                     Chris                        Shalom,