Thursday, June 07, 2007

Church politics - My point of reference

Everyone knows that politics are not just for government. There are politics involved in everything. Even little league baseball. So it shouldn't surprise anyone that the church is just as political. If it does surprise you, let me invite you to click on one of your other favorite websites now.

I realize that Conference politics is more complicated than the simplified, hardcore Liberal/Conservative division. I know pastors who fall into the nebulous Moderate category. Then you have apolitical types who move along the spectrum depending on the issue or current life circumstance. So it is not as easy as this side or this group against that group.

What I have come to realize is that church politics, maybe more than any other manifestation of politics, relies on the perspective of the one observing others. We use words like liberal, conservative, progressive, and traditional. The shortcoming of these qualities is that they are adjectives and not nouns. They cannot stand by themselves unless they have a fixed point of reference.

I think the hard thing for me is that I am not identifiable with any one "side". I am conservative in my theology and moderate in my social position. I am flexible in my politics and the issues I face. That may be wishy-washy to some. I have been quoted the "lukewarm" passage from Revelation. So maybe I am weak.

But I know this much. I have developed friendships and working relationships with people who have vastly different points of view than I have. And regardless of whether or not I agree with them, I can support them. I can also admire their integrity and passion.

I know that I will never play "the game" right. I won't be a big church preacher or a leading General Conference delegate. In fact, I probably won't ever be a great pastor others look up to and admire. But I will continue to see people for more than their political or theological labels. I will work with people to further the Kingdom of God, even if our blueprints don't exactly match up all the time. And I will strive to be a good brother in Christ to anyone who takes the time to come to know me for who I am. And not for whether or not they can count on my vote.