OK, I have a confession to make. I actually quite like and appreciate guys like Doug Giles. Doug who? He is an American evangelical Christian, and conservative commentator. And he is not averse to using satire, irony, strong words and even loads of humour to make his point.
Kinda like Jesus in fact. Yes you heard me right. Jesus, the disciples, the prophets and plenty of other biblical characters regularly used such language. Indeed, recent studies in rhetoric and the Bible make this quite clear. But I have discussed all this elsewhere:
Giles likes to get to the point, and not beat around the bush. And he has little time for limp-wristed Christians who would rather be politically correct than biblically correct. He is rightly impatient with all the spineless jellyfish that just laze around in our church pews.
He has little time for those wimps for Jesus who would rather offend their Lord than dare to offend someone else. Jesus himself had some very strong words for such people, so Giles is simply in good company here. And I feel the same way.
The world is going to hell in a hand basket, much of the church is unravelling at the seams, and all many Christians can get bent out of shape about is the occasional use of strong and forceful language. They seem to worry more about a few stinging lines of admonition than they do about people going to hell and the world blowing up in front of them.
I am no fan of their misplaced moral outrage, nor is Giles. Nor was Jesus it seems. But the main point of this article is to focus on the newest column by Giles. He rightly says that it is foolish for Christians to complain about the current government yet refuse to do their most basic of duties, as in voting.
Warning: Giles has a mean sense of humour, which I love. But if the use of humour – with a liberal dose of irony and sarcasm thrown in – really bothers you, then I urge you to turn away now. But for those with a stronger constitution, I present Mr Giles and his very compelling piece, “Energizing Evangeli-fish to Vote”.
He begins this way: “Four million evangelicals didn’t vote in the 2000 presidential election. Great … way to go Church! Onward Christian soldiers [or should it be backward?]. It’s a scary thought: we almost had Al Gore playing Frankenstein around the White House because a few million folks who should have known better refused to get up from the couch on which they were playing potato, go to the polls and vote.”
Why is this? He continues: “Were you stunned into placidity the Sunday before the last election because of a tedious three point sermon, delivered by a coma-inducing pastor, who left you bereft of hope? Then, reeling from such freshly mainlined pessimism, in your depressed state, you pampered yourself with the Lumberjack Slam at Denny’s which immobilized you with violent flatulence and more material stuff, all the way through election Tuesday.
“Or, Christian, was your refusal to register and vote based on the no-duh deduction that politics is dirty business and since it is such a DB you shouldn’t be involved in it. News flash! Within the church’s stained glass walls, there are Machiavellian battles, ecclesiastical squabbles and denominational sniping that make Republicans and Democrats look like the Brady Bunch, and Bush and Kerry seem like Paris and Nicole. Sadly, church can be a very dirty business, sometimes even more political than politics – but you still go to church, don’t you? Or have you abandoned God’s house, as well?
“Or, is it that you will not vote for a President unless he is Mr. Perfect according to your pristine, subjective view? If so, I suggest you do a doe-si-doe out of la-la-land and into reality. Hey! It’s the president we’re electing, not an unblemished savior to make atonement for the world’s sins. That was Christ’s job, and he’s already finished it and hopefully enjoying his retirement. When you’re vacillating in the valley of decision wondering whether or not you are going to vote, remember: we’re electing a president not a messiah.
“Given the massive role that politics play in creating a place that is good and secure and the privilege/duty we have as American citizens in either promoting or demoting our leaders, it is criminal for the Christian citizen who is 18 or older to sleep through an election as if it were their church’s announcements.”
He lists a number of very good reasons why true Christians should be concerned about the state of their nation, and then concludes, “My ClashPoint is this: evangelicals from Martin Luther to Francis Schaeffer have been the society-driving force for good with whom the cultural degenerates had to reckon. Unfortunately, there has been a significant retreat from following the examples of the standard-bearing, hard-working spiritual forbears by today’s evangelicals. The result is that what once was a societal force has become a marginalized farce.
“If we are going to see change come to our nation and if righteousness is to exalt and protect this land once again, the Evangeli-fish among us need somehow to develop spines. The non-whining, non-whimpering, non-wussy Christian faced with ecclesiastical or political corruption doesn’t bail out of these God-ordained institutes. Instead, he and she pray, labor, reform and speak out, as they seek to bring forth righteousness and righteous leaders – and kick, via their voices and votes, the lawless skanks to the curb.
“Do you respect someone who says he believes in something and yet stands for nothing? Not I. If we’re going to be true followers of Christ, we cannot avoid the biblical injunction to labor for a safe and good place which at least somewhat resembles what God wants and likes. And that entails at least minimal political involvement within the land in which we dwell.
“This is the third anniversary of the greatest challenge our nation, under God, has ever faced. For your sake, for your kid’s sake, for God’s sake: this November 2nd pry yourself up from your duct-taped Lazy-Boy steel beam reinforced recliner and vote!”
Quite so. But for whatever reason – a wrong understanding of the Christian’s role in society, cop-out eschatologies, or just plain laziness – far too many believers will simply opt-out of the next election. And if that means we get four more years of King Obama, then they will have blood on their hands.
As Keith Green sang years ago:
“The world is sleeping in the dark,
That the church can’t fight, cause it’s asleep in the light,
How can you be so dead, when you’ve been so well fed,
Jesus rose from the grave, and you, you can’t even get out of bed”.
I sure hope the church wakes up before November.