Don’t Just Complain, Do Something

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:
billmuehlenberg.com/2007/04/18/rhetoric-the-bible-and-the-believer/
billmuehlenberg.com/2011/05/11/4389/

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.

townhall.com/columnists/douggiles/2004/09/11/energizing_evangeli-fish_to_vote

[1146 words]

14 Replies to “Don’t Just Complain, Do Something”

  1. This reminds me of the parable of the talents. What we are given, we are supposed to do something with, or the Lord will say ‘lazy wicked servant’.

    We Australians and Americans have so much freedom capital, including the gift of having voting rights, and so many other freedoms we can exercise. Ignoring these and not using them for the good of our neighbour whom we are supposed to love as much as we do ourselves, is like being the person who buried the talents and received admonition for doing so.

    Anne-Marie Modra

  2. Yikes Bill, you had me braced for a lot more than that!
    So, yes, the Bible is so nice and sweet. Gentle Jesus meek and mild. On the subject of fakers, His sweet sound bites included;
    “You family of snakes”
    “You are like pretty graves but full of rotten bones”
    “You lukewarm “Christian”, I’m about to vomit you ”
    And on those who promote evil;
    “Tie a rock around your neck and thrown into the sea”
    “Better for Judas to have never been born”
    ….. and that’s just off the top of my head!
    And what happens if we stand there in the end before God ready sprout all our evangelo-reformed-penti-proto-full-gospel doctrine and He says…
    “Go away, I never knew you”
    What if my luke-warmness happens to be just below the temperature of His vomit threshold?
    But, but.. we have the canon of the doctrine of the creed of grace by faith by confession of the Word of the blah blah blah…
    OK. Since we can’t hope to judge ourselves (the heart is deceitful), maybe we need a well-defined third party test, like this…
    “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” 2 Tim 3:12
    No persecution for Jesus = La-la-land.

    Tim Lovett

  3. Did not have time to read the whole article – I have always voted except for this time – no choice – a socialist or a Mormon. Me no vote.
    Bruce Jeffers

  4. Thanks Bruce

    Sorry, but your “no vote” is really support for the status quo, and therefore really a vote for Obama. A second term for Obama will utterly destroy America, and folks like you will be directly responsible for that. I am no great fan of Romney at all, but compared to Obama there is no question – Romney must get in or we are all toast.

    But I discuss all this in much more detail here:
    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2012/05/13/on-mitt-romney-and-americas-future/

    And here:
    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2012/05/17/on-mormon-presidents/

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  5. As I said, no vote this time – I will not have that on my conscience. America is already gone.
    Bruce Jeffers

  6. Thanks Bruce

    So God personally told you that America is “already gone” did he? I would rather let God determine that thanks. And respectfully, if it is gone, it is because of irresponsible and negative Christians who won’t even take their God-ordained responsibilities like voting seriously. That is the real reason why we are losing: apathetic and lazy believers who do nothing, and then complain about how bad things are. Sorry, I am not with you on this – you seem to be part of the problem here, not part of the solution.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  7. Sorry to disagree with you, Bill, but voting for a Mormon as president of the USA is a serious sin. God will not tolerate active support for a cultist and consequent promotion of his cult. You must never do evil that good may come of it. Obama is a judgement and if he serves eight years rather than four, that is entirely a matter for God.
    Harold Neiberts

  8. Thanks Harold

    I of course fully deal with your complaints in the 2 articles I link to above. Did you read them? Sorry I am just not with you here. Tell me this: have you ever greatly ‘sinned’ by shopping at Safeway? I believe they are owned by Mormons. So why is it OK to “dine with the devil” there, but it is not OK to vote for one? All your non-vote is doing is just one thing: it is ensuring Obama will get back in and cause even more destruction to faith, family, life and freedom – all because some misguided believers refused to think straight here. It will then be too late to complain about what a mess the country is in, when some confused believers in fact directly contributed to its demise. Respectfully you might as well just declare yourself to be a full-fledged Obama supported with such unhelpful reasoning.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  9. Absolutely right Bill. Bruce Jeffers, more years of Obama will be a disaster. I’m not American (or Australian), I shan’t be voting – but all of us in the West will suffer if he gets back in. So – go to it, Bruce!
    John Thomas, UK

  10. Dear Bill, sometimes one needs to have a sense of humour to get a point across. I had never heard of that evangelical. I think Bruce may have a problem with priorities. Thank you.
    Regards, Franklin Wood

  11. To Bruce and Harold,

    sorry I’m late to this conversation.

    One of the problems with the present state of our political systems in the West is that the opponents end up polarised.

    We no longer have such a diversity of candidates that we may “nuance” our selection in casting our vote.

    We must deal with the Hobson’s choice that is before us, whether it’s in Australia with compulsory voting or in the US, Canada or the UK with voluntary voting.

    That DOES NOT absolve us of responsibility to cast our vote wisely, in accordance with Kingdom principles, in the direction of seeing the Gospel progress, rather than seeing things go contrary to Biblical principles.

    John Angelico

  12. John, thanks for your thoughtful response, and I quite agree with you about Biblical principles in this matter although I draw a conclusion that seems to be opposite to yours. (By the way, Bill, I have read your articles. Again, I’m afraid I disagree with them.)
    The central Biblical principle here is that we are not permitted to perform an evil act in order to secure a “good” result.
    Why do I think that voting for a Mormon for President of the USA is evil? Because he is an out-and-proud member of the Mormon cult, an especially insidious counterfeit of Christianity.
    Let us say that Romney is elected and turns out to be the best President that America ever had. What a role model for America’s Christian youth! Souls will be lost left, right and centre and I for one want nothing to do with that. The only choice we can possibly exercise in this dire situation is to abstain from voting and trust in the Lord.
    In closing, I am now trying to find out whether Woolworths-Safeway is in fact controlled by Mormons. If it is, my conscience will no longer allow me to shop there. It’s one thing to support a cultic enterprise in ignorance of its true nature, but quite another to keep supporting it knowing what it really is.
    Harold Neiberts

  13. Thanks again Harold

    But respectfully, in addition to your sin of omission (refusing to do your Christian obligation of voting – in this case choosing what is the lesser of two evils for POTUS), you are guilty of sins of commission as well: adding to the Word of God. Please tell us all where the Bible states that voting for Romney is to “perform an evil act”. It seems just like the Pharisees, you have you own sense of “purity” which you will not tarnish, even if it is a very misplaced sense of purity.

    And forget this acting in ignorance bit. It won’t wash – just ask any traffic cop who pulls you over for speeding. As I wrote in my articles, probably every single day of your life you are ‘performing an evil act’ by interacting with, dealing with, and buying goods and services from, pagans of all stripes. You probably bought your gas from a Satanist, your bread from a JW, your insurance from a New Ager, and your newspaper from an occultist. You might as well go live in a cave if you are so worried about some platonic (and unbiblical) purity. All that your confused position will do is ensure that Obama will get back in.

    Your so-called choice of not voting is nothing of the sort – it is simply a vote for Obama, and you will then be guilty of really being complicit in evil. And for that you will have to give an account. Indeed, when you stand before God and start complaining about how bad things got under a second Obama term, He will ask you, “So why didn’t you vote him out when you had the God-given chance to do so?” Sorry, but your misplaced worry about “purity” is a major cause of why we are in such a mess today.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  14. Thanks a lot for this Bill, it made my day actually, I am still reeling from some of my fellow Christians implying that I am a merciless redneck racist who dared to exhort them to see the big picture in relation to this boat people business. It is nice to see that there are some people in the church who are prepared to get involved politically as you are right, we do need to stand up and comment some times.

    Steve Davis

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