Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Small Town Politics and the Body of Christ

We are in the middle of city elections right now. For us, that means 5 aldermen/women, who all serve at large, and a mayor. In this election both candidates have held the office of mayor. One is the current mayor and the other is one of only 2 former mayors from our small city. They both attend the same church, (I'm not sure if they are both current members, though I know that they have both been members in the past) my home church and where several of my family members and many, many of my friends still attend.

Unfortunately, this political season has gotten ugly ... and personal. Supporters of the two candidates seem determined to duke it out on the political playground, no matter what the cost to the families and careers of those involved. While the candidates themselves seem to be leaving the mudslinging to those campaigning for them, surely they are, at least, aware of what is being done by their supporters. At this point, it is nearly impossible to extricate the truth from political ploys and just plain lies.

Here is the real tragedy in all of this mess ... the majority of the political mudslinging is coming from and aimed at members of a single body of Christ. Accusations of infidelity and slanderous behavior thrown around as if the consequences are no greater than perhaps a little embarrassment.

I just don't understand. Don't we, as Christians, have enough opposition from the world without creating it inside the church? And what kind of witness is being created for this particular church if the members are publicly degrading each other? I am saddened by all of this, but I am also angry. I am angry that claiming Christianity doesn't hold people to a higher standard. I am angry that much of this gossip has been spread under the guise of "prayer requests." I am angry that the integrity of good people is being called into question in order to advance the political ambitions of dishonest people. All for the honor of being mayor of a small city where the biggest decisions involve what foliage to plant each spring. Okay, that last part is not true, but the plants really do seem to be a big part of the whole discussion.

In just under a month, this city will elect a mayor. And then life will return to some semblance of normal. While the decisions this person will make over the next four years will not have much of an impact on the world outside of our small city, the decisions that are being made now may have an eternal impact on the body of Christ in one local church. I just wonder if it is really worth it.

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