More Mixing Ice Cream and Manure
I read an interview with Donald Trump and concerning his political aspirations… and how he combs his hair. I would like to say that this article showed great insight into the mind of a great political thinker… but I can’t. The fact that a reality-TV star can be taken seriously as a candidate for the highest office of the world’s last remaining super-power is a sad commentary on what our political process has become. In order to be elected president, one must court the cult of celebrity, so if one begins the process as celebrity (especially as the boss on Celebrity Apprentice), then so much the better. To tell you the truth, I am beginning to wonder if the quote attributed Eisenhower might be right on target, “Any man [or woman] who wants to be president is either an egomaniac or crazy.”
Eugene Peterson suggests that the world “politics” has come to mean “what politicians do” and thus the word “often carries with it undertones of displeasure and disapproval because the field offers wide scope for the use of power over others, which power is often abused.” This past week, Lynn and I were talking about one of her co-workers who goes to a church where the “pastor” is paid an insane amount of money and can do whatever he wants and never has to answer to anyone. Lynn said, “Power does often corrupt people… it’s just a good thing you don’t have any.” (I just haven’t let her in on my plan for world domination!) The word “politics” actually comes from the Greek word “polis” or “city” and represents what people do as they live together in community and work together for some common purpose. And that, Peterson suggests, is a very Biblical concept. God is working in “politics” to accomplish His will in ways that we don’t and can’t understand. We join with God in His work in the “political” process in prayer. Peterson writes,
For Christians, "political" acquires extensive biblical associations and dimensions. So rather than look for another word untainted by corruption and evil, it is important to use it just as it is so that by it we are trained to see God in the places that seem intransigent to grace. The people who warn that "religion and politics don't mix" certainly know what they are talking about. The mix has resulted in no end of ills— crusades, inquisitions, witch hunts, exploitation. All the same, God says, "Mix them." But be very careful how you mix them. The only safe way is in prayer. It is both unbiblical and unreal to divide life into the activities of religion and politics, or into the realms of sacred and profane. But how do we get them together without putting one into the unscrupulous hands of the other, politics using religion or religion using politics, when what we want is a true mixture, politics becoming religious and religion becoming political? Prayer is the only means that is adequate for the great end of getting these polarities in dynamic relation. (Where Your Treasure Is, p. 9)
We need to lose the hand-wringing and worry over what is going to become of our country and our world. If God really is God, we need to know that he has our back. God is God if President Obama is re-elected and if he is not, God is God even if the Donald becomes president. God is in control, and He listens to our prayers. It's good to remind ourselves of that occasionally. Psalm 2 begins--
Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together
against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,
“Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.”
The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.
If we believe that God is on his throne, that God CAN change things and that prayer CAN change God, then the most political thing we can do is pray. (See Ezra 6:10, Jer 29:17, 1 Tim 2:2). I am reminded of the Tony Campolo quote, “Mixing politics and religion is like mixing ice cream and manure; it really doesn't affect the manure much, but it really messes up the ice cream." One great way to mix the two and improve both is through prayer!