In the world of American politics, it can be as dangerous to go too far right as it can be to go too far to the left. When any system becomes corrupt and ineffective in its current state, it becomes in danger of being mistaken for a bad system.
We do this in all areas of life. We have bad church experiences so we separate from the organization as a whole. We have bad marriage experiences, so we distance ourselves from the institution of marriage. So naturally when we have bad experiences with government, we begin to wonder if government is the problem.
While there are times that a system itself is the problem, it is more often the case that the people in the system are the problem. But here we often make the mistake in thinking that different people will correct the problem. We practice this thinking when we leave the people who hurt us in one church to find a new church where people will behave more like proper Christians. We do this when we leave one marriage to find a better spouse who will make a better marriage. We do this when we think that replacing those in government with new people will result in a better government. We do this when we think that removing government altogether would be an even better solution.
The problem is not that the system is broken. The problem is that the culture is broken. We have forgotten that no matter the system we are fallen people and that relationships between fallen people are difficult in the best of circumstances. The next church, the next marriage, the next group of elected officials is all going to have wounds and weaknesses just like their predecessors.
If we think that fallen people are better left without marriage, church, or government we will have a bigger mess than what we have now. Some may object that these three institutions are not the same and ought not to be lumped together in this analogy, but the reasons behind the rejection of one are typically the same reasons behind the others.
Sadly, we are not facing a philosophical problem because we as a society, in and outside the church, think emotionally more so than philosophically. It ought to be something to be considered philosophically, and some do, but most do not. We seldom care why things ought to be a certain way, only that we dislike it and feel we are free to have something we believe to be better than what traditionally works. Freedom has been reduced to a feeling as opposed to the philosophy of liberty. We are no longer a thinking culture.
We could, for better or worse, be facing one of the most dramatic shifts in Presidential leadership we have ever seen as a nation. Or we could have more of the same, depending on who gets elected. No matter who is elected the system of government is not the problem. The system can only be as good as the people in which it serves. If the culture is sick, the leaders that are born of that culture are sick, and their governing is also symptomatic of that illness.
Marriage is good. Church is good. Government is good. People were created good, but have a sin nature that corrupts our best attempts to be good. When those people combine in marriage, church, or as a nation those sin issues become magnified in relationship. The solution is not to dissolve the marriage, or leave the church, or withdraw from caring about your nation, the solution is infusing the marriage, church, or nation with God’s Kingdom. We do this by being in and not outside of the thing that needs infusing. We cannot fix the issues of our marriage with a new marriage as we are still present in the new marriage. The old problems resurface as new ones. We cannot fix the relational issues we have in one church by going to another, as we are still there in the next church. We still have to face ourselves and our ability to love people. Nor can we fix our nation by withdrawing from our participation in that nation, or by becoming anti-government.
The Kingdom works from within to bring restoration and life. It starts with just a little seed that grows to become a tree with many branches. A little yeast works through the whole dough. One lamp can light up a whole room. Let us not withdraw our light, or look for a way out, let us stay engaged in the real world and not reject what God calls good.