Feb 012013 9 Responses

If This Is True, It Will Blow Your Mind

There is only one problem: most politicians I know are good people who love their country and are trying to make a difference.

The story I want to write is that politicians are evil. They are greedy, self-centered, disconnected from every day life, and care about nothing but their own careers.

This story is convenient. It makes life easy on me.

Believing my own story, I can curse politicians, take no personal responsibility for our social problems, and claim life would be better if I were in charge.

There is only one problem: my personal experience with politicians does not match the story I tell myself.

When “they” become specific people, my opinions change.

  • I see the President with his wife and children and notice a love similar to my love for my family.
  • I hear Secretary of State Kerry boldly speak for a jailed pastor in Iran.
  • I interact with Rep. Steve Womack and find a concerned ear.
  • I correspond with Senator John Boozman and get a thoughtful response.
  • I email questions to State Senators and get immediate responses answering my questions.
  • I meet city officials and discover a shared faith.

The story that politicians are evil machines ruining our country is convenient, but its wrong. It doesn’t match with our actual experience of the individuals. It might make sense as we look from afar and wonder what “they are doing,” but it doesn’t align with the actual people we know—John, Steve, and the like.

Politicians are not evil, but it is hard to deny that our politics seem broken. If it’s not their fault, what is wrong? If the story I have told myself is untrue, what is the true story? 

What if another story is true?

  • What if these are complicated times?
  • What if there are not perfect answers?
  • What if good, intelligent people can draw completely different conclusions about an issue?
  • What if the answer that I think is most obvious is totally wrong?
  • What if no matter what a politician does, people will lie and misrepresent his/her actions in order to get them defeated?

The problem with the story we tell ourselves about politicians is that it is too convenient for us and too unfair for them. Anytime we reduce a group of people to “them,” we have likely oversimplified a problem.

So what do we do?

We try to tell ourselves the truth.

Some politicians are bad, but not all of them.

Some of our opinions are right, but not all of them.

Some of our opponents are wrong, but not all of them.

We must embrace the complexity of life and see solutions, always understanding perfection is beyond our grasp. Even our best solutions will have negative consequences. Even our best actions might end up completely wrong.

We must have reasonable expectations of public servants. We must work with them and for them in finding solutions. We must be discerning in understanding not just their votes but their reasoning behind votes. We must refuse the simplistic answers campaign smear ads tell us.   

We must be fair. Fair to our politicians. Fair to our opponents. Fair to our friends and our enemies. We must debate, but we must debate fairly.

We tell ourselves our politicians are evil and that simple story makes life bearable. It removes any personal responsibility and allows us to sit back and blame others for everything that goes wrong. It is a great story, but it’s wrong. It is a fun story, but it’s destroying us. It’s time we find a better explanation for our current plight.

If we thought it was “their” fault and we were wrong, is it possible that we are to blame? 

9 Responses to If This Is True, It Will Blow Your Mind
  1. Sue Rogers Reply

    Kevin, thanks for providing a “greater & very wise prespective” on the political arena.

  2. RobertM Reply

    “What if the answer that I think is most obvious is totally wrong?”

    The answers are obvious – even elementary – when we don’t know as much as we think we do.

  3. VEEK Reply

    Wow….that’s great. Not really. There’s a very good reason that our founding fathers instituted the separation of church and state. Stay away from politics Mr.Thompson. Keep your nose in the bible (KJV,not the other garbage) and change unbelievers into believers, not anti-politicians into pro-politicians.
    Why didn’t you post something simple and tangible, like the difference in earnings from these politicians as it compares to policemen, firefighters, and even soldiers?
    This country is in the current direction because of one reason……politicians.
    Why do you back them when they push God out of the US? Kinda like rooting for cancer in your own lungs…..not thinking straight.
    You probably have a tithing politician in your congregation. This would explain it all.

    • Kevin Reply

      Thanks for reading. You are welcome to comment anytime, but this probably won’t be the blog for you. Not only do we disagree on the meaning of separation of church and state (making sure politicians don’t censor me, not keeping me from commenting about them) but we also have a deep disagreement over the nature of the gospel (it appears you believe some people are better than others, instead of the Biblical concept that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God). So sense I will speak about politics, don’t use the KJV (the Greek is better), do believe we all have sinned, and am a Cowboys fan, it might be better if you read other blogs.

      • VEEK Reply

        You are blogging on a public site for EVERYONE to read and criticize. You cannot post something and not expect someone that points out a weakness to just ignore the fact that you are over a pretty large congregation as well as influencing souls on the internet and are putting your personal thoughts out there. That church and state comment proves that you are sidled up with them to keep them from oppressing your rights….reaching across the aisle, if you will. We read the KJV because it’s translated from the Greek and Hebrew texts….you can find something “older” and think you are more pious for doing so. No one man is better than another (Rom 3:23) and I take offense that you presume that I think this way. The church has their place….and the state has theirs (Mat 22:21), never the two shall twain. Just remember Rev 22:19. I am a part of an Independent Fundamental Baptist church. I consider myself fortunate to be persecuted for my Christ’s sake.
        It is possible to stand on the grounds of an infallible scripture and not a twisted, made-to-order, version. The KJV came directly from the Hebrew Masoretic and the Greek received texts. And I rather enjoy blogs like this because I think a lot of people are “almost” there, but might need to speak on some things to really open their eyes. Not sure if you and your church use the KJV, but always remember and keep this….Revelation 22:18-19.

        • nickrham Reply

          I too like to believe that all politicians are not bad. My fear is that agendas and motivations are clouded by “have to decisions” which in turn yield poor judgement, poor choices, and poor decisions. All in all, we are good people by nature. Unfortunately, it’s time we are GREAT people by nature. How to do that? That’s the million dollar q.

          • Kevin

            Rham, by no means do I think they are all good. I figure they are just like the rest of us–some good, some bad and most good and bad.

  4. Mike Bennett Reply

    Good thoughts on this topic. I don’t believe for a moment that our founding fathers intended church to stay out of government. No where in the constitution does it mention separation of church and state. Keep on posting!
    I do believe as a person, it becomes very easy to judge a person because of opposing views. We tend to give our arguments the benefit of the doubt. We tend to listen to opposing views with a great deal of skepticism.
    Every profession has bad people in it, even the church. Supporting those in any profession is not a support of everyone. I love my church, but we are a church filled with sinners saved by grace and we are going to make mistakes, sometimes huge ones. Supporting my people isn’t about them being perfect, it is about them growing in grace. Supporting a politician isn’t about them being perfect, but about them doing the job they have been elected to, to the best of their ability and being held accountable for doing that.
    This is our country and we need to work to get it back to where it once was, both politically and spiritually.

  5. […] course all evidence points to the opposite. Washington is not full of bad people (although there are... kevinathompson.com/discourage-christians-politics

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