Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Can Christ followers be democratic leaders?

This article in Slate put into words a long-held conviction of mine: "In its wisdom, America has devised a presidential election system that actively selects for egotistical megalomaniacs: You simply cannot enter the White House if you aren't one."  

On the one hand, to be a serious presidential contender in America it's almost a neccesity to profess Christian faith.  But if you read the list of qualities that Christ said would characterize his followers in Matthew 5:3-12, you have to conclude that anyone matching that description wouldn't get very far in our political system.  I doubt that my brothers who are eager to "take America back" have really grasped just how peculiar a people we're supposed to be.  (My dad would be quick to point out that the word translated "peculiar" in the King James Bible means "specially chosen", not "strange."  But I would contend that if we're going to take seriously the teachings of Jesus we'll be peculiar in the most fullest and most modern sense of the word.)

I don't mean to suggest that our democratic system is any worse than any of the available choices.  In fact I personally would agree with Winston Churchill in choosing democracy as the least bad option in our fallen, broken world.

Nor do I mean to say that it's impossible for a Christ-follower to participate in politics.  In fact, I can think of two very good biblical models for Christian political leadership -- Joseph and Daniel. These two Old Testament rulers serve as examples for us for two important reasons:

1) Given the extent to which the values of the Kingdom of God fly in the face of the values of the world in which we live, it would take an act of God every bit as miraculous to place a Christ-follower in power in a democratic system as it did for Joseph in Pharaoh's Egypt and Daniel in Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon.

2) Once in power Joseph and Daniel had to exercise authority in one nation while retaining ultimately loyal to another nation.  They weren't spies; they were working to be a blessing in their places of power without betraying their own people.  A Christ follower in political office today would also have to navigate torn loyalties, to negotiate living and leading amid the tension of dual citizenship.

Friday, June 13, 2008

This video has all of my buddies back in the Balkans and me ROTFL.  Definitely worth checking out.  

Reminds me of a time when I was in Honduras back in '86.  Some other American college students and I were doing children's activities.  We were resting in a church after a program, and we noticed some kids just outside the open window laughing hysterically.  We watched discretely to see what was happening, and we discovered that one young comedian among them was listening to our conversation then turning back to his friends to imitate the gibberish he was hearing.  They were all loving it up! We got a big kick out of it too, besides learning a valuable lesson in cross-cultural communication.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Love and tolerance

Thanks to my fellow Cajun and Chi Alpha man Glen Davis for this post.  You rock, Glen!  My evening at Stanford was one of the highlights of this year back in the States.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Heron supervising Long Beach harbor
Originally uploaded by kosova cajun

I recently received the following message concerning this photo:

"Congratulations! Your photo has been selected to be on view in the Water: A California Story exhibition at the San Diego Natural History Museum.

The exhibit will open to the public on July 19th, 2008
Preview opening reception for Museum Members & exhibition collaborators (that’s you!):

Selected photos will be presented in a digital slideshow in the gallery."

Lydia read this, and exclaimed, "Wow, dad are you going to go?"

I quickly assured her that I wasn't going all the way to San Diego, California just to watch my picture flash up on some screen for a second. But I am excited and honored nonetheless.

The photo evokes fond memories for me because I took it while visiting my sister Rachel and her family at Thanksgiving.