So let's start with sex...oh ok, let's start with politics instead :)
I know Christian people who strongly believe that you can't be a Christian and vote for "the left". Equally I know other Christian people who adamantly believe the opposite: that there's no way a true Christian could every vote for "the right".
So who has it wrong? Or is there an alternative way of understanding politics that allows for us to hold our civic responsibility to vote, alongside an integrity to our faith as followers of Jesus? A view that allows for us to come to different conclusions from other Christians, while still holding the unity of the body of Christ? I really believe there is.
Does it help for us to ask the question: "who would Jesus vote for?". Well yes, I think it does help. But if you are looking for an easy answer to that question then you'll find it pretty illusive. The fact is that although Jesus taught and performed miracles pointing to "the Kingdom of God", he showed little interest in taking sides with the politicians of his day. In fact he had some hard words to say to many of the powerbrokers that he encountered. He challenged their motivations and urged them, along with everyone else, to seek first the Kingdom of God. So why would we expect a definitive blueprint for voting in the 2011 NZ General election?
So how should we vote? Here's what I think:
- take the issues seriously
- engage in political thoughts, ideas and conversations.
- allow your Christian faith to inform those thoughts, ideas and conversations.
- vote with integrity to what you believe God would have you do.
- recognise that not everyone will come to the same conclusion as you, and that that's OK.
Despite many good intentions and good robust conversations, there is the likelihood that we will come to different conclusions from at least some other Christian brothers and sisters. This is largely based on the different priorities we place on issues. Because of this It is really important that we understand that our different conclusions should not cause bitterness and division. We need to recognise that holding a different political position is NOT the thing that defines you in terms of Christian integrity - that comes from your relationship with Jesus and your commitment to seeking after his will.
So when it comes to ticking the boxes on the 26th all I can say is this: be true to who God made you to be; be true to the integrity that he has placed inside of you; and be true to your identity in Christ. If we can all do that, then we can't go wrong, no matter how we might vote.
Pastor David Auty