Let’s Begin With an Illustration
A little boy goes to his dad and asks, “What is politics?”
Dad says, “Well son, let me try to explain it this way: I’m the breadwinner of the family, so let’s call me capitalism. Your Mom, she’s the administrator of the money, so we’ll call her the Government. We’re here to take care of your needs, so we’ll call you the people. The nanny, we’ll consider her the Working Class. And your baby brother, we’ll call him the Future. Now, think about that and see if that makes sense,”
So the little boy goes off to bed thinking about what dad had said.
Later that night, he hears his baby brother crying, so he gets up to check on him. He finds that the baby has severely soiled his diaper. So the little boy goes to his parents’ room and finds his mother sound asleep. Not wanting to wake her, he goes to the nanny’s room. Finding the door locked, he peeks in the keyhole and sees his father in bed with the nanny. He gives up and goes back to bed. The next morning, the little boy says to his father, “Dad, I think I understand the concept of politics now.”
The father says, “Good son, tell me in your own words what you think politics is all about.”
The little boy replies, “Well, while Capitalism is taking advantage of the Working Class, the Government is sound asleep, the People are being ignored and the Future is in deep pooh.”
Recently, I came across one of the comments on the blog of “theforgottenshepherdess.com” that got my attention. The contributor wrote that the current leader got into office through “clicques” suggesting that this might be the same means through which the election might be decided again (Her perspective). Through the blog I have learned from the contributor, 3clarion calls that technically our election process does not allow for one, two, three etc. political parties (in our constitution and by-laws). However, I cannot ignore the fact that in our humanity individuals will seek to “get around” the process in order to gain and secure their interests.
We might and could call a party or group of people who share similar interests a “gang” who seek out their “ends” for the advancement of the “whole.” It follows, that our ecclesia-electoral process does not permit debate or presentation for or against the beliefs of opposing parties. We are drawn to understand that people have conflicting differences, diverging preferences, attitudes and beliefs which at some time gravitate into groups who share similar thinking whether we accept this or not. Usually, as in our upcoming election, those who dominate will control the governing apparatus of our Conference. To be honest, control for the next four years and beyond is at stake. The desire of “control” occurs in governments, corporate institutions and even marriages. There are always people who feel that they can do a better job and plot a different and more positive, productive direction.
Well, Where Does Politics Begin Or End?
Can we actually remove ourselves from being involved in politics? If I play “two sides of the fence” have I balanced or removed myself from the political confrontation of an everyday reality? The answers to these questions are found in the meaning of what the definition of politics really is.
First Answer These Questions:
“When Moses came down out of the mountain and found the Israelites engaged in immorality and idolatry was Moses faced with a political reality? The obvious answer would be yes because they were polarized into at least two parties, those who wanted to go back toEgyptand those who wanted to follow the Lord. Moses in fact became an intercessor or advocate for the people whom God was about to destroy.
Did Paul understand the politics of the Jews and the Romans? Yes! Paul understood the political relationships of the two nations.
For the purpose of our understanding a rather misunderstood word that is often, in many discussions given a bad rap, the word “politics” is a noun and defined as:
1. Activities associated with government: the theory and practice of government, especially the activities associated with governing, with obtaining legislative or executive power, or with forming and running organizations connected with government.
3. Power relationships in specific field: the interrelationships between the people, groups, or organizations in a particular area of life especially insofar as they involve power and influence or conflict. (“The politics of education” or “the politics of the Church”)
4. Calculated advancement: the use of tactics and strategy to gain power in a group or organization. (Synonyms: government, political affairs, affairs of state, policy, policymaking, legislation) (Synonyms: beliefs, principles, opinions, views, theory, philosophy, dogma)
For better clarification please attempt to understand the etymology of the word politics:
The word politics comes from the Greek word Πολιτικά (politika), modeled on Aristotle‘s “affairs of the city”, the name of his book on governing and governments, which was rendered in English mid-15 century as latinized “Polettiques”.Thus it became “politics” in Middle English c. 1520s (see the Concise Oxford Dictionary). The singular politic first attested in English 1430 and comes from Middle French politique, in turn from Latin politicus, which is the latinisation of the Greek πολιτικός (politikos), meaning amongst others “of, for, or relating to citizens”, “civil”, “civic”, “belonging to the state”,in turn from πολίτης (polites), “citizen”and that from πόλις (polis), “city”.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics
For some of you who are reading this blog you might think that the above reference is something twisted and difficult to understand. What I want you to grasp is the inescapable reality of politics in just about every facet of our lives, from the time you leave home and return. For this reason you have to understand where it came from and in this post-modern era what it means today.
What Am I Getting At?
Someone who declares that they don’t want anything to do with politics is out of their mind and is not being reasonable (For instance: if your garbage does not get picked up on time you might decide to vote against a political official who is in charge but didn’t do his/her job well). Hence, ignoring the day to day reality of politics in your life would be considered obtuse, because you at some time engage in some type of politics as illustrated above. (See also the story at the beginning of this blog)
Some people want to appear as if it makes them appear more Christian if they say, “I don’t get involved in politics.” Yet some of the same people I know who make such statements will talk until they get tired about President Obama and his re-election. A minister trying to influence a board or business meeting on policy or a project is politics. When you make a visit to a person’s home to discuss their support on a project you are engaged in politics.
Therefore politics happens at any moment a person seeks to influence one or more individuals to accept their personal/organizational position in a conversation (or correspondence), knowingly or unknowingly for a desired outcome.
Now Is Politics Bad?
No. What determines a peaceful outcome is “how” a person or persons engage in it, and the “methods” used to obtain a desired result. Bad methods lead to bad politics.
I would like to give an illustration of what I consider bad politics in this political sphere.
If someone says I am going to bring someone to this territory to lead me and will not tell me how he will lead, yet they want this person for their interests only, I would certainly consider this bad politics because I have not been given the facts so that I can make an intelligent decision. It could mean being relocated which of course could affect an entire family.
Political interest groups usually are forthright by defining and stating (in writing) their positions on issues.
In the case of a selection of a new leader, neither side(s) have stated succinctly who they want, what they will do or their position on matters that concern all the constituents. Unfortunately, we will not know the position or direction of a new leader until after the election. A new leader “might” be determined by little knowledge of what the majority will know about his/her “politics”. Oops politics! Some minister might be unhappy because a demonstration of power for a leader in a conference is to make moves. Oops politics!
When delegates arrive at the Small Committee Meeting and finally at the Constituency Gathering, every delegate will be engaged in the “theater” of politics. In many instances it won’t be pretty. It follows then as relating to political parties being formed within an ecclesia-electoral process voters will be polarized into sections based on their worldview shaped by attitudes, beliefs, preferences etc. The question that you might consider asking yourself is, “What are these attitudes, beliefs and preferences (etc.) based on?” (In relationship to our Local Conference) Did you get the facts based on good information or a request to support someone’s interests only?
How Do We Harmonize This Within Our Christian Principles?
I hear people talk about God’s Spirit being with us in this “political process.” I believe in the end The Holy Spirit will prevail. What avenue can we seek to be in harmony with His will? The avenue of being united at the meeting with one objective, to do God’s will through a simple prayer, “Not my will but your will Father.”
After we have done this, only then can we approach both political settings without a judgmental attitude of revenge and selfishness. To achieve this we the constituents would have to search our inner souls with the determination to be on the side of right and not wrong; and to be careful not to disenfranchise anyone. For me and my house, I’m on the Lord’s side. What about you?
The question that I would like for you to respond to in your comments is this:
Can anyone escape politics at the upcoming constituency meeting? If Politics is a part of our life, how do we create an atmosphere to let God take control?
I would like to hear your comments so I can get a better perspective before I go to the Constituency meeting. Thank you in advance for your response.
~A New Anonymous Contributor