Ask A Pastor
By Rev. Beverly Kahle
St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, Nashville
As a pastor, what do you feel your personal involvement in politics should be?”
When answering this question, we must first deal with the definition of politics.
In its purest and most stripped down form; politics is the practice of ordering people’s lives together.
As such, everyone, including and most profoundly pastors, engages in the practice of politics every day for at the heart of our faith is the practice of how to live in community with one another.
As pastors, we then, are mandated by our calling to speak of the community that God, through Christ, has invited us to join.
Therefore the teachings and preaching we engage in are all about the politics of living together in the realm of God where we practice and learn such things as faithfulness, kindness, justice, love, compassion, forgiveness, etc.
We are a voice that speaks of these things especially in a world that turns from them.
As I understand and interpret my involvement in politics of the realm, I see it as my responsibility to hold a mirror to Christ.
Government is a gift from God that orders our society, but just like the prophets of old, I see one of the roles of the pastor, one of the roles of the church, is to keep governments accountable to their responsibility to care and rule justly.
We are not to use the pulpit or the office to which we have been called for personal agendas, but for God’s agenda of peace and well-being for all.
This can become very murky waters if one does not diligently and carefully listen for God’s voice in a community of others who are also faithfully and diligently seeking God.
I believe this is exactly why God gave to the Israelites and us the Ten Commandments and why Christ preached the Beatitudes – to help clear the murkiness by giving us a moral guide for life together that honors each person.
So to mimic Christ who, though he never sought an office of any kind, was a very political person as he spoke of God’s realm, and the importance of living that realm in this place we call earth, I, too, should advocate at the heart of my political action – not the rightness or wrongness of any one “political” candidate or party, but what needs to be said to bring God’s concern for justice and to show God’s love, Christ’s love, to the world.