"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)

7.11.2006

day by day

Today was the day we were supposed to talk about campaigns and politics. And we did. We went to the pink dome, we met a legislator and staffers, and the kids went to work on campaigns in the afternoon. We watched the movie we like to show to talk about campaigns, and we talked about whether it's possible to be an ethical person and to win in politics.

But the thing that's going to stick with me from today was the Bible study, the very first thing we did this morning. The Chaplain, who is, well, our chaplain, talked about the passage where Jesus says to deny yourself and take up your cross and follow, that you have to lose your life to find it, and the "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's" passage. And I figured something out that articulated what I actually believe in a way that I've never been able to say it, and I need to write it down, so here goes: A political party is not the church. The goal of a political party is to obtain, consolidate, and maintain power. Political parties are inextricably tied up with Caesar. There's nothing wrong with that. But the goal of the church, and of the individuals who make up the church, is supposed to be losing your life to find it. It's completely the opposite of power. And that's why the attempt to integrate a political party with a particular faith tradition is so troubling to me. It is, quite clearly, not what Jesus would do.

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