Brian McLaren: Justice, Power & The Kingdom

For as much time as I spend thinking about it, politics can be pretty gross. There's too much doublespeak, positioning for advantage, too much room for cynicism and outright meanness. Lately, I've been going back to read some of Brian McLaren's writing on politics, justice, and the kingdom of God over at the God's Politics blog. One recent post was especially poignant as a friend and I discuss what it means to vote. Specifically, is voting an act of participation in empire? (McLaren is voting, but with his eyes wide open.)

I spent a couple hours today working on a long post that I'll put up tomorrow about Sarah Palin and the presidential election. I watched this four-minute video by McLaren a couple times tonight to remind myself about what's most important.


  1. John,

    I've been thinking more about politics than ever before. I've even had some good discussion going in the comments of my blog about what role abortion plays in your vote.

    Lately I've been casting a leary eye at pro-lifers who vote solely on the abortion issue. But then this morning in the work cafeteria I heard a radio ad for Obama that said "If John McCain is president, he will make abortion illegal." Oh Really! Just like that McCain is going to snap his fingers and overturn Roe V. Wade?

    It's scare tactics, and it makes me angry and frustrated. You've got Republicans saying "I don't see how any Christian could vote for a pro-choice candidate" and you've got democrats saying, "If you put McCain in office, you WILL lose your right to choose."

    We should be encouraging each other to weigh all the issues and carefully consider which candidate our conscience would have us vote in. Instead, we're using the politics of division to scare people into thinking the choice requires no thinking, so long as you know where you stand on abortion.


  2. Bryan,

    I completely agree with you. I'm struck by the fact that Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973 and still nothing has changed. It is just a scare issue. Use it in the election and then drop it again until the next one. Plus, how many Republicans says "we don't want judges that legislate from the bench" but then want a previously decided case overturned? It's all double speak designed to play our our emotions rather than our minds and both parties seem to have an easy go at the emotion talk when they're talking to Christians. To most Christians not use their minds or what? Why do we let the parties play us like this?!?

  3. As the first guy without the name Bryan to comment on this post, let me say that I agree with both your responses.

    Bryan (Allain), you wrote that "we should be encouraging each other to weigh all the issues and carefully consider which candidate our conscience would have us vote in." I couldn't agree more.

    And for yet another example of how far we've come from that, McCain's campaign manager Rick Davis recently told the Washington Post: "This election is not about issues. This election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates."



  4. If someone wants to vote solely on the abortion issue, there is nothing wrong with that. For so many young Christians of our generation to pretend like they care so much about "social justice" and then ignore the protection of the most innocent beings in existence because it isn't the current cool cause is just hypocritical. Why are Conservative pro-lifers being marginalized by fellow Christians as closed minded, right-wing crazies who don't think? I worry that because of this, most people aren't even getting all the information on how extremely pro-abortion Obama actually is. He voted AGAINST the ban on partial birth abortion, and he voted AGAINST the Born Alive Infants Protection Act in Illinois, which was designed to ensure that babies born alive after botched abortions receive adequate medical attention. THAT is despicable. Anyway, I know this isn't the forum for this debate, but I think people need to pass that information around so we all know the facts.

  5. Allison,

    You're right. That information needs to be out there so we can all make well-informed decisions during this important and complex election.

    Thank you.