>I have been a lifelong Republican…until now. Let me get right to the point. I am too partisan, too focused on winning, and too consumed with the perspectives of the present-world-system. I am a very competitive, firstborn child which has served me well in ten years of sales but not so much when it comes to politics. What I mean by that is I want the Republicans to win. The GOP is my team. When it comes to politics the GOP is “us” and everyone else is “them.” If you are a Republican you might be thinking “what’s wrong with that?” That is understandable if you are thinking as a Republican who is trying to win an election. But as a family member of the people of God who’s highest loyalty, devotion, and commitment is to the Kingdom of God, it is not so good.
When I want the GOP to win I focus on what is wrong with the Democrats, not Republicans. I mean, there’s so much to disagree with when it comes to the other side why would I waste my time focusing on the things that we’ve got wrong, right? Not only that but I don’t want to do anything that might hurt our chances of winning. And this is why I am no longer a Republican.
Christianity provides a radical critique to the present systems and power structures of the world. The life and work of the Kingdom is “in the world but not of the world.” It transcends our political parties and the outcomes of our elections. Contrary to the old-school dispensationalists, the kingdom is not wholly future, it has been inaugurated although not yet consummated. Contrary to the old-school covenentalists, the kingdom is not wholly spiritual. Dispensationalists were right to speak of an earthly kingdom. The Kingdom is not here fully but it was inaugurated with the life, death, resurrection, and crowning of the Christ (evidenced in his sending of the Spirit). The Davidic King is reigning at the right hand of the Father. As one noted author on the subject has written, “Before the eschatological appearing of God’s Kingdom at the end of the age, God’s Kingdom has become dynamically active among men in Jesus’ person and mission.” I look forward to devoting more time in future posts to the nature of the Kingdom and Kingdom-living particularly as it relates to socio-political matters. But for the purposes of this post it is enough to say that my Republican perspective has all too often weighed down my Kingdom perspective.
Does it really matter if I consider myself a Republican or not? Won’t I continue to vote the same way anyway? Becoming Independent may not change how I vote very much but I only vote once every two years and there are 729 other days in between. Viewing all political parties as “other” when it comes to the Kingdom allows me to better apply that radical critique of Christianity more fairly across the board. It allows me to applaud and support that which is good in the socio-political realm no matter which letter is next to the name.
That being said, I wholeheartedly disagree with the Christian Left’s notion that Barack Obama and the Democrat Party best represent Kingdom values. I have seen so many evangelicals reject the Religious Right only to lurch to the Radical Left. The same ones who yelled “hypocrite” when conservative Christians supported the pro-choice Rudy Giuliani are the ones who have decided that it is a pro-life move to vote for Barack Obama. Those who have rejected the religious apocalypticism of the premillenialists are now embracing a secular apocalypticism in the form of global-warming hysteria. I may be shifting but I’m not pendulum-swinging.
Right now all the Kingdom values talk in socio-political matters seems to be dominated by the Christian Left which is something I strongly reject. The Kingdom is not characterized by Big Brother, totalitarianism, utopianism, statism, socialism or any other -ism of the Left. I agree with Thomas Mann when he said that “tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil.” The people of God critique the present worldly systems as Christians not Marxists. The people of God seek to live out the ethics of the Kingdom directly as the Church rather than delegating that responsibility to the discretion of big government. Forgive me if I don’t trade in my GOP membership card for one with Sojourners, the Matthew 25 Network, or Evangelicals for Social Action. God may not be a Republican but he’s not a Democrat either. And “God’s Politics” is not socialism dressed in Christian rhetoric no matter how irenically it is presented.
So there you have it. I am no longer a Republican because it distracts me from seeking the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God (Colossians 3:1). I am no longer a Republican because, as I said, my Republican perspective has all too often weighed down my Kingdom perspective. I don’t dismiss or even minimize the importance of this election but no matter who wins the presidential election I am going to be on mission with Christ for the sake of his Kingdom.