Politics, like economics, history, and world news, tend to bore a lot of people, resulting in too few people taking an active and regular interest in what is going on around them.
The problem is less that the subjects are boring (they’re not!) but they’re made to seem that way, so complicated that the average idiot (that’s you and me) cannot possibly understand the ramifications of the issues at hand and therefore would be better off with something more palatable and at our level, like Paris Hilton’s latest shopping exhibition. (A recent Daily Mail breathlessly reports that she carried THREE cell phones at the same time that she balanced her shopping bag. No wonder we focus so much of our energy on pop culture.)
It doesn’t take much study of politics to grasp the fact that there is no one, perfect man-made system of governing other human beings, and the one we all point to as next to godhead, democracy, doesn’t exist other than on paper, as a great theory.
(In a true democracy, every man and woman’s vote is a voice, and that voice is heeded, but in the system under which I live in the U.S., which calls itself a “republic” [it isn’t that, either], a very few rule the lives of a very many, and anybody who writes their congressional representative [who is usually a lawyer, as opposed to an ordinary person who works at a retail store, say, or a plumber, or an artist] counts themselves heard when they receive back a generic e-mail saying that their comment has been received and docketed, and the Solon will take great pains to meet the needs and desires of his constituents.
Do you believe that? I don’t.)
And while this sounds cynical, this is the nature of man-made government, which in today’s world is primarily consistent of oligarchy (the rule of many by a few), a situation that Jesus accurately described to his disciples in Matthew 20:25-28:
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave — just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Well, what about it? While high officials exert authority over ordinary people in every man-made nation and kingdom on the planet, does this situation occur in the place where it is not supposed to be — God’s church?
When one defines church as a place, a building, an establishment, a denomination, an organized group, Jesus’s description of the rulers of the Gentiles looks remarkably apt: we have elder boards, and leadership teams, and worship consultants, and pastoral associates, and denominational doctrines, and world councils of churches purporting to speak for all believers, issuing decrees and establishing rules for how members (not fellow brethren) are to behave and believe and perform.
But when we define the church as the body of believers — individuals who work together to form one, under the headship of Christ — then the only person whose voice counts is our Father in heaven, God. And His is the ultimate voice in every believer’s life as to how one should act, believe, pray, and be: when His voice counteracts that of “correct church doctrine,” whatever that is, which do we follow?
Because, make no mistake, the two do not always agree.