Okay. Now that we've gotten the two major objections out of the way (yes, God expects you to vote as a citizen of Babylon, even though the political system seems corrupt), we can start working toward what I really want to say this week about Jesus.
To do that, I want to ask you a question: how do you choose your candidate?
When you're looking at any election in which you cast a vote, how do you decide where your vote goes? How do you pick between one name and another?
Yes, I know that far too many of us just show up at the ballot box and pick a name that sounds good. Or a name that we've heard a lot about in the past few weeks. Or maybe we just vote for our friend's cousin's ex-roommate because we feel some kind of obligation to vote for that person or else we'll have to hide from that friend when we run into her at the Walmart. But I'm not talking about mindless voting; I'm talking about engaged voting. When you actually consider the power of your voice, how do you decide who to give it to? When you think about who you want to be representing you, whether it be in Congress or on the local school board, how do you decide who to trust?
Most of us choose the candidate that we think can best understand and appreciate our specific concerns, which are borne out of the particular life that we lead. That means that if we live in a small town, we're more likely to pick a candidate who either lives in a small town now or came from a small town; we're less likely to choose someone from a major metropolis. If we have worked with our hands all our lives, we're more likely to choose a blue-collar candidate; if we have a white-collar job, we're more likely to choose a candidate with administrative experience.
If we're Christian, we're more likely to choose a candidate who professes a Christian faith. If we are living in poverty, we're more likely to pick a candidate who understands what it's like to try to navigate the very system that we are putting them into.
Sometimes, we don't pick candidates based on our ability to feel an affiliation with them; sometimes, we pick candidates based on what we think we need. For example, if finances are a specific issue of concern for us, maybe we choose someone with investment experience, even if we're living paycheck-to-paycheck, because we believe that candidate has the professional knowledge and skill needed to address that issue of our concern. If we're concerned about healthcare or access to wellness, maybe we vote for the doctor, even if we never visit one (for any number of reasons). If we are facing some kind of moral crisis in our community, maybe we vote for the pastor - even if he *gasp* has a different denomination than we do.
Primarily, our vote comes down to these two things: 1) who do we believe has the life experience that is best able to relate to what I'm going through? and 2) who has the qualifications, experience, and ability to address the things that I believe are the most pressing concerns for my community right now?
Now, what does all of this have to do with Jesus?
Quite honestly, everything.