Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Political Acitivism versus Personal Authenticity


Okay so laying aside the fact that this picture has a hammer and sickle on it, I'd like to ask a question: Can political activism and personal authenticity work together? Or are they diametrically oppossed to one another?

Example: Could a pro-life demonstrater holding signs outside the front of an abortion clinic also be the same person to go around back and council the mother who just left? Or, could someone who is against the Iraq war, hold a peace ralley and then go down and try and build relationships with people in the Marine ROTC program on campus? I think the mother, and the Marine, would have already put the walls up, the dividing lines have been drawn, and as far as their concerned, the demonstrator is now the enemy.

I think there's a reason why Jesus never had a rally with his followers holding signs that said "Jesus is rad, Pharasees are bad." Paul pretty much said that Jesus is King and Ceaser is not in his letters born out of relationship, but he never went to a town and held a rally and marched on the local governors lawn with the masses chanting, "Hell no, we won't go, Ceaser we're gonna overthrow!"

That being said, I realize that demonstrations have been a part of bringing about significant change. Civil Rights, the end of Communism in Eastern Europe, etc. Political activism can create change - on a political level - and that can be awesome! But I don't think it creates change on a relational level. So, I cannot doubt that demonstrations and organizations and rallies are effective, I'm just not convinced you can do both. Maybe we just need to decide for ourselves what were called to do personally and do it well.
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6 comments:

John Lynch said...

That's a good question, David! Maybe one way to tackle the practical decisions of when or whether to demonstrate has more to do with the result rather than the cause?

I had a recent conversation with a friend who demonstrates roadside each year with pro-life / anti-abortion signs. While I agree with her cause (pro-life), I challenged the result of what she was doing. I suggested she might actually be hindering the pro-life cause by reinforcing a stereotype of the judgmental fundamentalist shaking their finger at pregnant teens and impoverished women.

Altering and even abstaining from some methodologies to achieve a more desired result isn't disloyal to the cause; but many seem to feel that way. What do you think?

David said...

I agree John, and yet I've had people think I'm nuts...or a whimp...or I don't take a stand because of it.

Enriqueta said...

I think there's a reason why Jesus never had a rally with his followers holding signs that said "Jesus is rad, Pharasees are bad."
Paul pretty much said that Jesus is King and Ceaser is not in his letters born out of relationship, but he never went to a town and held a rally and marched on the local governors lawn with the masses chanting, "Hell no, we won't go, Ceaser we're gonna overthrow!"
John,

it’s been a while, great post.

Recently i have had to ask this question personally.

Is my activism n line with Christ?

Do I voice an opposition to that which in my heart I believe is wrong?

Do I speak up when a fellow Christian saids something I do not agree with?

Do we take a stand for the broken and downtrodden, even if it is not popular?

Every generation has to ask themselves who are we...what do we stand for?

Their are those who currently oppose the war, those for it.

Do we as Christians take a stand?

Also for those of us on the front lines of evangelism who in my case work in he industry of church do we speak up when one of our own crosses the line???


Were called to share christ, were also called i believe to mold the system of government to help the poor and down trodden as a wise pastor mentioned to me recently..all of this politicing by our leaders has cost of greatly over the last 6 years.

Do we want other religious groups to have their "books" in our schools?

Removing the separation of Church and state really is in essence removing the foundation of America.



I know i am going to be on the outside of the family for this but somone needs to say somthing...


This past week a Focus on Family President James Dobson crucified Senator McCain, and said his opinion was that of private Citizen...
???
Now you know and I know and anyone in our field knows MR. Dobson is not a private citizen, not really, he is sort of is like the MOVIE STAR for Christians.

At least that is what the media has made him to be, in our silence we have given him free reign, and he is NO BILLY GRAHM.

So when someone like him comes out and saids I will not support a man who serves his country with some intregrity, was held captive for 5 years by while in Vietnam, is sticking by the President despite the decline of polls, does not cut and run....

For heavens sakes, Rallies for our troops, geeze the list is too long to show the man’s patriotism to the UNTIED STATES OF AMERICA, the country we want our President to care about.

Yet somohow because Mr. Dobson saids so now and points out a misquote and is making it truth to align himself and “his interest” to push the senator to cow tow a an interest group, we Senator MCcain today quoted in the Washington post as hoping to mend fences with "Christians"

EXCUSE ME WHAT FENCE DID BREAK????..

Were no better John do you see that, where is JESUS in what MR. Dobson is moving himself into??

It’s quite telling what kind of influence Mr. Dobson believes he has.

It also once again leaves an entire group of Believers out of the discussion and in my opinion sets us once again on the same course we were 8 years ago when we blindly let ourselves our constituents fall in line with President Bush.

We want a President that cares for the downtrodeen the poor and those things the church needs to be invovled in not dismissing a man because he was mis quoted and taken out of context.

He needs to be a leader for all people of America not just Christians!!!

I am personally offended that Mr. Dobson given his stature knowing who Christ is and what were called to be about puts himself right in the middle of the game and then saids..I am private citizen.

HE SHOULD AT LEAST BE HONEST BE HONEST WITH HIMSELF AND US FOR HEAVENS SAKE!!!!

We have inadvertently given him by not speaking up against those who use "status" to influence public opinions free reign within our church family..

How is our leadership different from a non believer, we go for sound bytes…it is at times just as bad as a non believer


When we help to destroy the line between church and state we are in fact opening the door to the enemy...




I want an America that cares about all its people, not one group over the other…

We need to trust the lord more in our family not man.

We would be blessed to have McCain as President just because he might actually stand up against and not cow tow to the wims of one particular interest group.


I pray he becomes President.

I look forward to helping him...

I trust the Holy Spirit guiding me and God to do the rest....

peace Q

Enriqueta

John Lynch said...

Thanks for commenting on David's post, Enriqueta!

I too was disappointed by Dobson's criticism of McCain, but not surprised. I think Jim's a good guy - but might be polarizing as he ages.

I like McCain too; & hope that he & Obama win their party nominations for the 2008 election. I think it would be the first race since Reagan/Carter (1980) I could really be proud of!

Life & peace, sister.

Makeesha said...

good thoughts David. I would be the one protesting for civil rights with no intention to build bridges between bigots and those being oppressed.

However, I would not protest abortion, I would be the one building relationships with the women

I think it can be a "both and" thing in many ways but probably not simultaneously with the same issue

David said...

Hi guys,
Good stuff.
I made kind of an either or question on pupose toward the end to help me think thru this.
I think there could be time for rallys and activism, but everything must be born out of relationship. We can't be afraid to get our hands dirt.
It's easy to go to a rally and go home and watch TV and feel like we've done something for the kingdom, when in fact we've missed it completely.

I'd like to think I would have been one marching for civil rights in the 60's to promote justice over an unjust situation.

But by doing that, I also must be willing to get my hands dirty and not just raise my fist in the air...

hmmmmm