Saturday, January 19, 2008

Politics and Religion

Last Sunday, a friend at my church told me that he could barely get by the Baptist Church that he drives by on the way to our church. Turns out Mike Huckabee was preaching that Sunday and there wasn't enough room to pack the cars in. Now, I'm not naive (much), but I do wonder about this practice.

Certainly churches and Christians do have a right, and maybe an obligation, to speak their mind on issues. I have no problem with that. In fact, maybe we're a little too slow as Christians at speaking our mind on important issues. But, this business of endorsing a candidate from the pulpit, of using the pulpit to support a particular politician is distasteful to me.

Maybe I'm just jealous that no one cares what we Methodists think anymore, if they ever did. Or, maybe I'm a little sqeamish about associating too closely with Politicians (celebrities) in our culture. For me, religion is something that goes beyond mere politics and politicians. Our call to serve Christ who is Lord of heaven and earth is a call to serve the world. No matter who the politician, we don't put our faith in "princes", according to scripture.

I think it was Stan Hauerwas who said that we Christians ought never to forget what the government w/religion did to Jesus.

I will vote because it is part of my responsibility. But to say that one politician is better than the others is not for me to say from the pulpit. I wil pray for all of them. There is more at stake than whether one politician or another get elected.

January 15, 2007
Dave Nichols

Monday, January 7, 2008

After Christmas Blues

Hey, I know I'm a preacher, alright. I get it. I love Jesus and all that. I've never loved anybody more. But, it's January and I'm blue. I'm blue because it's after Christmas, I think. Advent begins with great hope and expectation. An Advent wreath is added to worship and the first candle is lighted. Then, we light the second candle, and... Well, you know what I mean. It all gets so busy and things just happen so quickly. Now, it's January 7, and what happened. As always, the church staff and pastors are left with feelings of exhaustion.

I said I was a little blue. So, at this time of year I do several things to try to get back on track.

1. I try to start praying again regularly. Not that I stopped praying during Christmas. But, with the busy schedule and all my own spiritual life takes second place. That's part of the reason I'm exhausted now. I start to thinking about making the budget and getting the next budget pledged all while I'm working on Christmas joy. So, today I'll try to get back on track with prayer. It reminds me that it's not all up to me. It's not you know.

2. I take a few days off to plan and scheme for the new year. I make a list of my goals for the new year- the things I hope to accomplish. I know I won't get around to all of them but it helps to have a list to work on. I try to at least plan my preaching and scripture texts for the next six months so I know what I direction I'm moving in.

3. I get back in touch with my friends. I do have friends, you know. I have some very close friends that I have taken for granted. I need my friends; they know me. They hear me through. They laugh at me and with me. I will start getting together with me "bros" as I call them regularly again.

That's it. Nothing dramatic. Just ordinary things to get my life back in order. I know that if I don't take care of myself I can't take care of anybody or anything very well. So, pastor/preacher, get your habits back. It's a good time to resolve to do that.

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