Steve BellI’m not going to tell you who, precisely, I’ll be voting for on Monday because frankly, I don’t yet know.  I realized with a laugh the other day that I’m one of those people who falls under the label “promiscuous voter”—in that I am certainly no card-carrying member of any particular party, and can’t imagine ever becoming one.  As a Christian, I feel no necessary affiliation with any one ideology. A healthy theology of “the fall” assures me that politics is pretty much always going to be a broken response to a broken situation—necessary, but broken.  No ideology can carry the full freight of truth, goodness and beauty, and to expect anything different borders on idolatry.

No, it’s not “Christian” to vote this way or that. It’s simply Christian to vote, because we are mandated to care for our neighbours and to steward the earth so that all might flourish. Voting as wisely and selflessly as we can is something we must do.

I suppose I could call myself a conservative in that I believe there are all sorts of good things worth conserving. And I can undoubtedly see myself as a sort-of socialist, in that my understanding of God’s triune (social) nature—Father, Son and Spirit—suggests to me that what emanates from God would logically bear the stamp of God’s intrinsic sociality.

That Christianity has somehow been mistakingly mis-aligned with a commitment to capital “C” Conservatism betrays shockingly short memory. We shouldn’t forget that what has become the NDP was not started by a young, radical anarchist reading Marx, but rather by a young evangelical preacher reading the bible. Indeed, that young bible-reading preacher (Tommy Douglas) was recently voted “Greatest Canadian” by citizens of every stripe.

So…I think that thinking, believing Christians can vote the wide gamut with sober concience knowing that each party will deliver something of the good, and something of the bad.  The real question is what do we need now, at this particular time?  And who can deliver the most of that… or at worst, who is least likely to stand in the way?

This is where I can only say that I feel I have to vote for change. It seems to me, in the aftermath of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, that we have a historic opportunity to reset a deeply broken relationship between Settler Canadians and First Nations people, and throughout the years I’ve been trying to learn about this relationship and its sorry history, I’ve never come across a single person engaged in the issue who would laud our current government’s record in championing this cause.  It saddens me that Canadians didn’t make this THE election issue. Instead we got sucked into fear politics surrounding the economy and issues of security.

I somewhat agree with the adage “it’s about the economy stupid,” but only with the caveat that there is more than one currency in play—money being only one of those currencies, and by far not the most significant. Because, if I’m reading my bible right, it seems to suggest, quite strongly, that the currency of justice, well managed, will deliver well-being in every other aspect of life. In other words, a healthy economy and the security of a nation is something that flows from a people committed to just and fair relations at every level.  And, as a (Conservative) friend once pointed out to me, it is no accident that the word “fair” (as in “fair play”) is the same word as “fair” (as in “fair are the meadows”). In other words, a just nation is also a beautiful nation.

The phrase Truth And Reconciliation should have been a trigger for Christians. If our bibles were to have a subtitle, as books often do, it’s hard to imagine a more perfect one than this. The bible, taken as a whole, could easily be said to be almost solely about truth and reconcilliation on a cosmic scale. That is: a divine concern that stems from the very nature of God who is Christianly understood to be a dynamic, loving relationship of mutual flourishing from which issues mutuality, joy, delight and every other good thing.

This morning I read:

“…the communitarian dynamics within the Trinity, carried out among the Father, Son and Spirit, are a necessary blueprint for human affairs, be these political, familial, sociological, or interpersonal. The logic is inexorably easy—what is true of God is incumbent on humanity…” (italics added)

—Roderick T. Leupp, The Renewal of Trinitarian Theology: Themes, Patterns & Exploration

I don’t know for sure how a change in government will fare in respect to a tangible commitment to repairing and re-setting the relationship between First Nations and Canadian Settler peoples, but I have been terribly disappointed with our current government’s record.  And for this reason, with respect for other legitimate concerns, and for my local Conservative candidate , Jim Bell (who is a really good man – no relation), I feel I have to wager on change.

Steve Bell

And why not end with a song?  🙂

music and lyrics by Steve Bell

Fashion for me a desert of peace
A land that is empty of endless disease
With no one to suffer, hate or appease
With nothing to covet, desire or compete
But You alone

Grant to me Lord by Your sovereign hand
To wander forever in this boundless land
Where all of my yearnings, fears and demands
Are abandoned and lost to the great desert sands
Surrounding me

Fashion for me a desert of peace
Where Father, Son and Spirit meet
Together as one – together release me
Free from sin to enter in
To life forevermore

Fashion for us a city of love
Where the lamb and the lion together lie down
Where all of the wandering pilgrims are found
Rejoicing in song for the Saviour is crowned
As Lord and King

Grant to us Lord by your sovereign hand
A city of joy in the heart of the land
A home for the weary alien man
The fatherless children, the widow whose hands
Are tired and worn

Fashion for us a city of love
Where Father, Son and Spirit live
Together as one – together allow us
Free to take and celebrate
The Life forever more