Ludwig Wendzich

Vote like a Christian

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done. On Earth, as it is in heaven.

As Christians, our mission is to be the hands and feet of God’s will. His will, as declared by His Son, Jesus Christ, is for the kingdom of heaven to break into our world. It is not a future event: “the kingdom of heaven is at hand”, said John the Baptist as he prepared the way for Jesus1. When Jesus commissioned the twelve, he told them to “proclaim this message: The kingdom of heaven has come near.”2 Our work as Christians, is to become more like Christ, so we can help the kingdom of heaven break into our world, and contribute to the restoration of that which once was good.

This word is for my fellow Christians. I believe that, as a church, we are spending too much time judging those outside the church, and not enough time doing kingdom work.

Paul teaches we have a right to bring a hard word to those inside the church, but that none of us have the right to judge those outside it3. Yet, that’s what we’re known for.

Instead of being marked by love, compassion and mercy; Christians are known for the exact opposite: stinginess, intolerance and having hearts of stone4.

As a Christian, I have always been political. The apoliticism of some Christians shocks me. Such a detachment from the world is not Christian. We aren’t called to be out of the world; only set apart from it (holy). Different, not removed.5

But the thing that has disturbed me most, is the politics that most Christians have. I can’t reconcile those positions with the character of Jesus. Those positions judge the morality of others, and withhold help from the poor and those in need. They oppress the marginalized, and uplift the rich. They hold us back (conservative), rather than radically try to push society in a better direction (progressive).

Jesus was a radical socialist. Today, most Christians do not want to be tainted by the red brush. They treat liberals like they are the enemy. Christians identify with, and belong to, the Conservative politics that band against “Social Justice Warriors” and “cucks”. SJWs are the people who fight for the equality of the oppressed (those who don’t have the privilege6 of being born a cis-white hetero-male). A cuck is someone who has a perceived reluctance to exploit their own strength (it is generally used to refer to men who are feminists.) But Jesus calls us to be SJWs7, and also to be cucks8. In fact, the things politically Conservative Christians hate, are the things we are called to be.

And the things they stand for, we are called to avoid. From judging the morality of others9 to serving their own interests instead of those in greater need10. We should be defending the poor and needy, and standing up for the marginalized and oppressed.

I recently read about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He was a pastor who served in Germany throughout World War II. He was a man who struggled with the same issue: Christians who were apathetic toward the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany, as well as Christians who were in active support of that oppressive regime.

He said:

“If we want to be Christians, we must have some share in Christ’s large-heartedness by acting with responsibility and in freedom when the hour of danger comes, and by showing a real sympathy that springs, not from fear, but from the liberating and redeeming love of Christ for all who suffer. Mere waiting and looking on is not Christian behaviour. The Christian is called to sympathy and action, not in the first place by his own sufferings, but by the sufferings of his brethren, for whose sake Christ suffered.”

We don’t live in Nazi Germany anymore11, but does that mean our mission has changed at all? It hasn’t.

Yet Conservative Christians fight to write legalist-Christian moralities and Pharisaical measures of righteousness into the laws of our country. As if enforcing righteousness was the point. While legislating against the poor and defenseless and treating the marginalized with suspicion. Instead of overflowing with love, mercy and compassion: we judge, accuse and refuse to give.

We fight to keep gay men from marrying, to keep women from making decisions about what’s happening in their bodies, and to treat prostitutes, those struggling with drugs, and those in poverty, as if they were criminals. In other words, like the Corinthians, we choose to judge those outside our community instead of showing them Christ’s abundant love and mercy. We judge them against legalistic standards that completely miss the point of the gospel.

We refuse to tax the rich to help the poor12. We’re okay with tax fraud, but not welfare fraud13. We fund infrastructure that reinforces class and separates us (roads), instead of infrastructure that equalizes us (public transport) so we don’t have to look poverty in the face. And we try to cut government because we can afford to look after ourselves and don’t want to pay to look after others. In other words, we choose not to show love, compassion and mercy to those who need it. We choose to ignore the point of the gospel.

You may try to justify your decisions to vote Conservative instead of Liberal or to justify specific morals you feel we, as Christians, must legislate.

You might believe that some of the poor are taking advantage of the system. So you choose to punish the many who rely on the system just to get by. You choose to demean and destroy the solo-mother who chooses to go to university (you know, trying to make something of herself) and must defraud the government in order to keep her benefit so she doesn’t need to choose between feeding her child this week, or dropping out of university, getting a low-paid, unskilled job and condemning her child to poverty. You choose ethical technicalities above mercy and compassion.14

You might believe that abortion is murder, or that marriage is sacred. These moral discussions are important. As God’s people, we should strive to be righteous. But it seems clear that our ministry should not start with, or be limited to, enforcing these morals on outsiders. And these issues should not take priority to the mission of God: showing love, mercy and compassion.

No one party will tick all your boxes, it comes down to priorities. What message do you want to send to your fellow citizens about what Christians stand for? I will be voting for the Green Party come September 23. This party stands up for the poor and powerless, at all personal costs. They aim to be stewards of Creation. I want my politics to be reconcilable with my faith. Can you reconcile your vote with the radical love, mercy and compassion that’s expected of you as a Christian? Or are you praising God with your lips, but looking after yourself in your heart, and with your vote?

  1. “Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”Matthew 3:2 

  2. “And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”Matthew 10:7 

  3. “For what have I to do with judging them that are without? Do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Put away the wicked man from among yourselves.”1 Corinthians 5:12–13 

  4. Abbott’s obstruction of gay marriage is a defence of privilege and the power of shame by David Marr 

  5. We are called to bear the fruits of the Spirit to help heaven break in, on Earth.

    1. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”Romans 12:1-2
    2. “Behold, I Paul say unto you, that, if ye receive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing. Yea, I testify again to every man that receiveth circumcision, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Ye are severed from Christ, ye who would be justified by the law; ye are fallen away from grace. For we through the Spirit by faith wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith working through love.”Galations 5:2–6
    3. “For ye, brethren, were called for freedom; only use not your freedom for an occasion to the flesh, but through love be servants one to another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.”Galations 5:13–15
    4. “ But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control; against such there is no law. And they that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts thereof.”Galations 5:22–24

  6. The Pencilword: On a plate by Toby Morris 

  7. Our mission is to stand up for the oppressed, and to welcome strangers as friends. The church used to know what it was like to be outsiders, we’ve forgotten.

    1. “And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not do him wrong. The stranger that sojourneth with you shall be unto you as the home-born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were sojourners in the land of Egypt: I am Jehovah your God.”Leviticus 19:33–34
    2. “But when thou makest a feast, bid the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: and thou shalt be blessed; because they have not wherewith to recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed in the resurrection of the just.”Luke 14:13–14

  8. We are called to avoid using our strength or privilege to oppress one another, but instead, to serve one another. To make ourselves less, so our brothers and sisters can become more. To show kindness to our enemies. Love often looks like weakness.

    1. “but I say unto you, Resist not him that is evil: but whosoever smiteth thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”Matthew 5:39
    2. “There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither bond nor free, there can be no male and female; for ye all are one man in Christ Jesus.”Galations 3:28
    3. “subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ.”Ephesians 5:21
    4. “But if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him to drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”Romans 12:20–21

  9. We are not called to be the judges of the world.

    1. “And judge not, and ye shall not be judged: and condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: release, and ye shall be released: give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, shall they give into your bosom. For with what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you again.
      “And he spake also a parable unto them, Can the blind guide the blind? shall they not both fall into a pit? The disciple is not above his teacher: but every one when he is perfected shall be as his teacher. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me cast out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.”Luke 6:37–42
    2. “but Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and the Pharisees bring a woman taken in adultery; and having set her in the midst, they say unto him, Teacher, this woman hath been taken in adultery, in the very act. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such: what then sayest thou of her? And this they said, trying him, that they might have whereof to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground. But when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground.”John 8:1–8
    3. “For what have I to do with judging them that are without? Do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Put away the wicked man from among yourselves.”1 Corinthians 5:12–13

  10. Serving the poor and oppressed in this world is our mission. Our self-interest keep us from that.

    1. “Jesus said unto him, If thou wouldest be perfect, go, sell that which thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. But when the young man heard the saying, he went away sorrowful; for he was one that had great possessions.
      “And Jesus said unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, It is hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”Matthew 19:21–24
    2. “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. And if ye love them that love you, what thank have ye? for even sinners love those that love them. And if ye do good to them that do good to you, what thank have ye? for even sinners do the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? even sinners lend to sinners, to receive again as much. But love your enemies, and do them good, and lend, never despairing; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be sons of the Most High: for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil. Be ye merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”Luke 6:31–36
    3. “For judgment is without mercy to him that hath showed no mercy: mercy glorieth against judgment.”James 2, quoted 2:13.
    4. “Open thy mouth, judge righteously, And minister justice to the poor and needy.”Proverbs 31:9

  11. 80 percent of white evangelicals voted for Trump, whose bigotry fueled the fire of the racist alt-right neo-Nazi white-supremecists who rallied in Charlottesville, in 2017. After Charlottesville, will white pastors finally take racism seriously? 

  12. The Pencilsword: Inequality Tower by Toby Morris 

  13. The Pencilsword: Greed vs Need by Toby Morris 

  14. The sins of Metiria, Bill and John: sense-checking the fact checkers by Simon Wilson.