kay, friends and visitors, here it is. At long last, the post that none of you have been waiting for and the rest of you don’t care about!
It’s, “The Politics of Derek.” First off, I believe it’s important that – as a reader – you identify yourself according to the following five points of view:
Those who believe that I’m an Obama supporter, and that makes you happy.
Those who believe that I’m an Obama supporter and – consequently – that I’m going directly to Hell (yes, I’ve already heard from some of you!).
Those who are happy because you’re convinced I’m going to endorse Romney.
Readers who are angry with me because I’m such an obvious conservative.
Readers who actually pay attention (that’s YOU, by the way, and thanks very much).
My personal belief is that my position as a spiritual leader – and a pastor’s spouse – makes it inappropriate for me to use my platform to promote partisan politics. What I do want to do, however, is to share the qualities that I feel are important when it comes to leadership, and in particular the job of President of the United States of America.
WHERE DO I STAND? In the interests of full disclosure, I should begin by laying out my position (or conservative-liberal leanings) regarding a few basic areas:
Socially, I’m pretty much a moderate: I’m a huge advocate of personal responsibility, but I also believe those of us who are blessed with resources in abundance (intellectual, physical, spiritual, financial, family etc….) are responsible to be good stewards of those resources, and to remember that we were created to live in community.
Fiscally, I’m fairly conservative in theory, but in practice I’m more like the nation of Greece!
Religiously, The Presbyterian Church (USA) is a great fit for me: Why? Because of the diversity of interpretation and practice and understanding, and the ability to love and respect one another in the absence of uniformity. But the bottom line is – and always has been – that faith is about following Jesus, and loving one-another with Christ’s kind of love.
International Policy: My thoughts mirror the “social” bullet point. As a nation, I believe we’ve got foreign policy a bit backwards. I posted about this a few weeks ago, but my essential point is that the doctrine of “American Interest” is not useful. It doesn’t help the world, and it most certainly doesn’t help the USA. Philippians 2:3-5 suggests the following, and I believe it’s valuable for nations too: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…”
WHITE HOUSE WISH-LIST:There’s more, but I think the above bullets set the stage for my essential political wish-list:
I pray that our president will embrace compromise as an article of political faith, and I very much want those elected in opposition to do the same. It’s not about Democrats; it’s not about Republicans; it’s not even about being right! It’s about finding common ground where we can actually develop solutions that benefit the people of the United States, and thus strengthen our ability to serve the world.
I pray that we will be served by a president who is a genuine person of faith. More than polite affiliation, or socially-correct lip-service, but a trust in God that is transformational. I want our president to feel personally accountable to God.
I want a president who is willing ask for advice from leaders of the other party, and to back away from a course of action when he or she is wrong. There’s strength in humility, and there’s even more strength when honesty and plain dealing leads to the kind of trust that can unite a nation.
I want our next president to respect the opposition. Most people are genuinely good, and they want to do their best for this nation. I want the president to respect that fact, even when the the two sides of the aisle own ideals that are diametrically opposed.
Finally, I want our next president to move the United States away from being “the police of the world.” I believe we can do more to change the condition of humanity via humanitarian efforts than by the use of force. It is no surprise to me that the person most feared by the Taliban in Pakistan was a 14-year-old girl who stood up for the right of women to receive an education. Those kinds of ideas will never take hold at gunpoint.
VOTE: So please vote. But don’t just vote in the presidential contest, vote with your life; be a person of faith and integrity who models Christ-like love, every day and in every way….
Day by day, Dear Lord, of thee three things I pray: To see thee more clearly, Love thee more dearly, Follow thee more nearly, Day by Day