October 19th. The canadian election. Politics. A day which makes my stomach turn upside down just thinking about, an event I am, for the first time, taking seriously, like for reals seriously, and a topic that somehow makes my skin crawl and at the same time makes me so unbelievably aware of my privilege – how lucky I am to live in a country which honours democracy, at least a little.
But, here’s the thing. The thing keeping me up at night, chomping on my fingernails, hand- talking so fast I am not sure my husband understands what I am saying. (Sigh) the thing is, I am tired of being swooned by politicians. I am tired of being bought, and I am certainly tired of thinking I deserve to be bought.
As a member of the privileged “middle class” – whatever that means – I am pretty sure it is me who all the political parties are trying to win over. Sometimes i think they are winning, I wave my hands in surrender – I have a price tag, you win.
Yet, there are other moments, moments like this, where I’ll be darned if I let them win. Don’t get me wrong, I will vote – I will do more than vote, I will do what I can for the party I think will do the best for what I believe in, but I won’t do it because they bought me, I will do it because I love Christ and because the gospel, whether you want to see it or not, does a pretty good job of outlining the things we should care about – it is not comfort, not the privileges nor the freedoms of the middle class.
But, you already knew that didn’t you?
In case you didn’t, here is what I am learning about myself, the Gospel and how they play into the Canadian election.
On the one hand I want comfort – nice things and the assurance of certain benefits and choices that come with my status. On the other hand (a far away other hand) I follow a saviour who never called me to comfort, but rather to give and give and give some more – no matter how much it hurts. A saviour who fought for the underdog, the oppressed and the lowliest of these. And a saviour who gave us a great responsibility to steward the earth.
Already this election has made me so mad, so many times. Mad at those who are trying to buy my vote, mad at my fellow brothers and sisters who seem to think God has privileged them and forsaken others. But, mostly mad at myself for secretly wanting comfort and still being mad at everyone else. I am a hypocrite down to the bone.
But, at the core of it, I feel so strongly as a Christian it is my duty to live the gospel – and it is always fighting for the oppressed. It is not tax breaks to make sure I can afford a new car (oh how I want that Range Rover – black rims and everything). It’s not giving money to wealthy parents while $13 a month won’t even pay the food bill for a single mom. It’s not running the risk of an oil spill in the hopes of a stronger economy – it’s just not. Never has been and never will be.
Again it is for the least – ALWAYS. It is protecting women at risk, it is giving a child a chance at being born because the 16 year old girl from the DTES knows she need not fear being able to afford things such as daycare . It is using the best of minds to look at other solutions for our economy. It is also for the privileged in that is for us to give and give and give until it hurts so much imagining giving anymore is like imagining a camel going through the eye of a needle.
That is the gospel made flesh if I ever heard it.
Now, I get it, the divide of church and state. Totally. But, before you start in on me, I want to say a few things.
1) The church should be taking care of the poor right? YES. I should be taking care of the 16 year-old pregnant girl right? YES. You should be giving up your new car because you are just the good right? YES. But will the church, will I, will you? Probably not. And even if a few did, would enough of us? If you didn’t have to pay your taxes, would you give more? really? Or would you feel satisfied giving $30 a month to world vision? – I probably would. Just like when Jesus came and people didn’t get it, we still don’t get it. We needed to be told then and we need to be told now. We sometimes need to be shown the way…all of us…all 30 million+ Canadians.. Churchgoers and church haters alike.
2) The church universal is everywhere. The spirit is everywhere, why not government? Why not the people who lay the foundation of our country. Even if they personally do not realize they are living the gospel wouldn’t it be amazing if it was still coming out of them?? I think so. I’d certainly prefer that to a government which has it has moral values and then chooses money over the earth, lying and stealing over giving to the poor. Side note – I do not look to the government as my moral compass, I just think it would rock to look up to them.
3) To those who are opposed to things that that have already been changed in the law (you know what I am talking about). It won’t change no matter who you vote for. So you might as well love everyone and give to those in need just like we are told to.
Now you may not be as selfish as me, you may not be thinking about that nice new car or affording your first house, you may be thinking about saving that money to be a stay at home mom, to send your kid to soccer camp. I am sure once I am a parent I will be a better person too.
Please my lovely parental friends, I love you and I love your babies, your children, and your grandchildren; I want what is best for them, I really do. But, I can almost guarantee that none of you, my facebook friends – parents and all, are who this whole thing needs to be about. It’s not about us and it’s not about our equally as privileged (though totally amazing) children. That’s hard to swallow – I get it. When I have kids I might want to stay home, I want my future kid to have a cute haircut and a new soccer Jersey. There is NOTHING wrong with any of that. It is great and happy and loving. But, it is a privilege and it puts us beside the camel at the eye of the needle.
Father forgive me for thinking more about myself – my comfort and my luxury, than the food bill of the single mom, the pregnancy test between gym class and lunch, the recovery room at Insite. And that man I can’t get out of my head – the one who got on the skytrain only for half the people to get off because of the colour his skin – and how I did nothing, said nothing – the fear of others our government has spooned down our throats – that we have willingly swallowed so that we may feel justified in our prejudice.
Forgive me for holding onto to my privilege for dear life.
Like I said at the beginning – I think all parties are trying to buy my vote. I do not swear allegiance to any platform. I swear allegiance to Christ. And in reality I don’t fully see the gospel in any platform…just maybe a little more in some than others…a baby step in the right direction.
While you can probably at least guess who I am not voting for, I am not asking you to vote the same as me. That would be wrong and frankly naïve of me to think I could change your mind, though I may have tried a little – I promise to love you even if you completely disagree with me and I ask you to love me still, even if you think I am out to lunch.
My brothers and sisters in Christ and my brothers and sisters universal please think of Jesus as you navigate this election. To ask for ears to hear and eyes to see – for hearts of the spirit. To think of Jesus’ fearless love that never stopped giving – willingly paying the highest form of taxes. Meditate on how he stood up for those at the margins and asked us all to meet there. Then I ask you to think of how your vote will impact the people there…Because I am willing to bet Jesus would.
Now before the few of you who may actually read this leave an angry comment I want you to know I get it. I get that my theology may not be up to par with yours, My political savvy is rather elementary and I sure don’t use big fancy words and my grammar sucks. You may want to throw all of this in my face to discredit what I said. Sure go ahead, I get it. I do it all the time.
But I have this feeling, this feeling that in the end – at kingdom come Jesus is going to say some things like “Love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself”, “the last shall be first” and maybe he’ll even sit down with us and retell the story of the widow’s offering. Honestly, for me, that is enough to know who I need to vote for. To suck it up let go of few things I really want, to be the kind of person I know Jesus planned for me to be.
To me that is the Gospel and October 19th.
And if you really hate what I said, all I can say is – Pay to Caesar what is Caesar’s and I hope for your sake that was everything asked of you in the end.
#wwjd forever yo