12 – God’s Politics (part 4)

Here are some of the highlights, in written form:

1)      Feel free to disagree with others, but don’t take cheap shots, don’t label, don’t demonize, don’t besmirch anyone’s good name, don’t assume the worst of others and model that same behavior for those who might be influenced by you.

2)     Rather, assume that you may have something to learn from others, that you may be wrong on some things, and perhaps that one need not be right 100% of the time to be a true follower of Jesus. 

3)     Don’t be quick to take offense when you feel provoked. Ask, rather, the good and wise God to gift you with patience, and to see that reasoned discussion with other Christians is not “compromising the gospel” but a way of living the gospel.

4)     Work to preserve the good name of your opponents, even as you disagree. Be charitable, avoid slander, and promote the good name of others. 



Teach them about the political process.  (branches of government, the checks and balances put into place by our founding fathers, what it means to be a democracy, what it takes to run a campaign, the popular vote and the electoral vote, and the role that exaggerations, half-truths, and potentially empty promises play in political races.  Learning about politics is essential but it should not be a chore.

Teach kindness and fairness about the opposing side.  Model good Christian behavior, being careful not to belittle or demonize those you disagree with.  It’s okay to disagree — this is a founding principle of our country’s freedom.  But teach them how to disagree well, how to disagree fairly and compassionately.

Have healthy discussions about the issues.  Talk about what constitutes an important issue and why.  Talk about what we as the common folk can do to get involved.  Let the political discussion lead to a talk about how we can actively carry out the things we feel strongly about, rather than just expecting our politicians to do something about it.

Teach young people about the separation of church and state.  Not only that religion should stay out of the political discourse, but that the church may have a different goal than that of politicians.  God has called the church to be the light of the world, to care for the least of these, to build up communities and honor the image of God found in every human being on this planet.


P.S.  Why do I always botch my joke delivery?!  That should be “don’t blame me, I voted for the other guy”



11 – God’s Politics (part 3)

Enjoy the third political post and/or a glimpse of the fun that is my office shelves!  How many of my toys can you successfully identify?  (Bonus points if you can tell me which action figure was REMOVED from the display for the sake of today’s filming session!)

Here’s one of the big quotes from Jim Wallis’ “God’s Politics” used in the video:

“We believe all candidates should be examined by measuring their policies against the complete range of Christian ethics and values.

We will measure the candidates by whether they enhance human life, human dignity, and human rights; whether they strengthen family life and protect children; whether they promote racial reconciliation and support gender equality; whether they serve peace and social justice; and whether they advance the common good rather than only individual, national, and special interests.

We believe that poverty – caring for the poor and vulnerable – is a religious issue.  Do the candidates’ budget and tax policies reward the rich or show compassion for poor families?  Do their foreign policies include fair trade and debt cancellation for the poorest countries?

We believe that the environment – caring for God’s earth – is a religious issue.  Do the candidates’ policies protect the creation or serve corporate interests that damage it?

We believe that war – and our call to be peacemakers – is a religious issue.  Do the candidates’ policies pursue “wars of choice” or respect international law and cooperation in responding to real global threats?

We believe that truth-telling is a religious issue.  Do the candidates tell the truth in their campaigns, debates, and policies?

We believe that human rights – respecting the image of God in every person – is a religious issue.  How do the candidates propose to change the attitudes and policies that led to abuse and torture of prisoners?

We believe that our response to terrorism is a religious issue.  Do the candidates adopt the dangerous language of righteous empire in the war on terrorism and confuse the roles of God, church, and nation?  Do the candidates see evil only in our enemies but never in our own policies?

We believe that a consistent ethic of human life is a religious issue.  Do the candidates’ positions on abortion, capital punishment, euthanasia, weapons of mass destruction, HIV/AIDS and other pandemics, and genocide around the world obey the biblical injunction to choose life?

This is a call to Christians and other people of faith to a more thoughtful involvement in this and every election.”

10 – God’s Politics (part 2)

Enjoy the sounds of 10th and Langdon as we delve further into the discussion on faith and politics.  Here is one of the main quotes I use from “Jesus for President” by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw:

“We in the church are schizophrenic: we want to be good Christians, but deep down we trust that only the power of the state and its militaries and markets can really make a difference in the world.  And so we’re hardly able to distinguish between what’s American and what’s Christian.  As a result, power corrupts the church and its goals and practices.  When Jesus said, “You cannot serve two masters,” he meant that in serving one, you destroy your relationship to the other.  Or as our brother and fellow activist Tony Campolo puts it, ‘Mixing the church and state is like mixing ice cream with cow manure.  It may not do much to the manure, but it sure messes up the ice cream.’ As Jesus warned, what good is it to gain the whole world if we lose our soul?  So what we need is an exploration of the Bible’s political imagination, a renovated Christian politics, a new set of hopes, goals, and practices.  We hope this book will broaden the definition of political.  As you’ll find in the following pages, political doesn’t refer merely to legislation, parties, and governments.  So while we will insist that the Christian faith be political, we also want to redefine what political means or looks like.  We hope to redefine it simply as how we relate to the world.”

Extra points if you noticed our small planter to the bottom right of the screen that gets knocked over daily by our neighborhood squirrels.

Please share your comments below.  I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on the ideas being discussed.

09 – God’s Politics (part 1)

On this, the day of the first 2012 Presidential Debate, please enjoy the first in a series of talks about politics!  The extensive quotes are taken from the following outside blog post of Peter Enns (and please excuse my occasional paraphrasing, as I didn’t have time to get into the meaning of ‘eschatology’).  The images referenced will be included below.  My apologies for randomly choosing MSNBC to be my backdrop (but hey, if that ruffles your feathers, let’s let that be a way to discuss our feelings toward the major news networks, their responsibilities as reporters, and their potential biases, shall we?).  I truly hope you enjoy coming along with me on this journey!

Ugandan Thunder – their stories

Rev. Ted Moody has a way with words, and before we move back into “Tim talks,” I wanted to let you hear from him.  During each concert, Ted would walk around the stage and talk to the kids so the audience could hear more about them.  This footage is from the Tuesday night concert at the Roxana Nazarene Community Center.

Let this video wash over you as the laughter and tears flow from seeing the heart of God.

Ugandan Thunder & Evangelical School

(I temporarily step away from the screen for the best of reasons)

I have seen the face of God this week and will never be the same again.

There are no words that can adequately convey how exciting and moving the past few days have been.  Not only have I witnessed the joy and pride my father feels in being able to share his passion for Uganda with the Riverbend area, but I have been truly blessed by the performances of the Ugandan Thunder children’s choir.  I have welled up with emotion at every moment of their stories, songs, dances, and smiling faces.  Suzie, Addie, and I have enjoyed spending time at home with two amazing, adorable, polite, fun 10-year-old girls from the choir.  I know how much my heart will break in the coming days when I look around the house and realize they are gone.

My favorite moments of the week came when the choir stepped foot onto ‘our’ turf at Evangelical.  They spent the morning with the kindergarten and first grade classes on the playground, then in the 2nd-8th grade classrooms answering questions, followed by lunch in the cafeteria and two performances in the sanctuary.  This week’s video blog features footage from the opening moments of the first performance, as our middle school choir surprised the Ugandans by singing their national anthem (a first for ANY school that has hosted the choir in their entire history of existence).  Ugandan Thunder, in turn, shared “God Bless America” as a token of their thanks.

The energy and excitement then built to an amazing level, as we all experienced God’s love together.  Be sure to search YouTube or visit my Facebook page for more footage from the performance.