Politics and Religion
James Newton Poling
(first preached on Oct 14, 2008)
Text: Matthew 22:15-22
Another national election in the United States. And we are in the midst of an economic crisis that seems to have no end. I continue to go about my daily life like usual, but I have this feeling of dread that my life is precarious. Living in the midst of a national and global crisis changes our lives, and we don’t know what changes will come.
How do we talk about politics and religion? When I was a seminary student, debating politics was a daily activity. But in recent years, I have noticed the eerie silence in seminaries about politics. Maybe things are about to change. When do we interrupt what we are doing and have special prayer meetings and seminars with experts so we can figure out the best responses?
Jesus lived every day in the midst of crisis. His friends and neighbors were poor, hungry, sick, disabled, and disempowered by the alliance of the Temple Elite and the Roman rulers. The corrupt leaders had stolen the historic lands of the families in Galilee and turned the people into sharecroppers and day laborers. Jesus’ parables are full of stories of oppressed people who were lucky to get enough food for one day. They yearned for a just king who paid them their wages without cheating them. They remembered the day when their families owned their own land, but they despaired ever getting it back. These stories are one reason why poor Christians all over the world love the Bible.
See the full sermon under Writing>Sermons.