There’s a relay race. Runners try to pass a baton from one to another. The goal? Cross the finish line. But this isn’t a normal baton – on it are words like “justice” and “poverty alleviation” and “equality.” The race is a long one.
Some of the runners stand on the sideline. Instead of running the race, they stand there cheering for the runner who will run the final leg of the race – even though that runner hasn’t even received the baton yet. Then those runners on the sideline – who should be contributing to the race – start screaming at each other about who should run that final leg. The baton falters and is dropped, yet those idle runners continue to argue.
It’s kind of ridiculous.
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Politicians play an important role in our society. They stand at the finish line and wait for the baton. Most of the race is run at a relational level, bringing change and justice and giving a voice to the oppressed. The race is run by individuals who work hard.
The race was the Underground Railroad.
The race was the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
The race was the Freedom or Death speech.
These people run the race. They do the work. They change people’s hearts. Then they arrive at the finish line, where politicians take the baton and ratify the laws and sign the amendments and walk across the finish line.
Do not let the current power-grabbing in our country disillusion you to this fact. When you elect a politician, when you select a party, you are choosing the person best equipped to walk that cause over the finish line – you are rarely choosing the person who will run the race. This is a representative government – politicians who bring about change not asked for by the majority do not get reelected, thus powerful and radical change is not one of their well-worn paths.
I am not saying that politics is meaningless. I’m saying that if you want change, run the race. I’m not saying you should lose all concern with those who will run the baton over the finish line. I’m saying don’t let that be your only concern.
I’m looking at you, Christians who are acting like one political party is going to bring the kingdom of the heavens to earth.
Run the race.
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Is my metaphor totally screwy? Do you have a better one to offer?
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This post is part of the Faith and Politics Synchroblog over at Andi Cumbo’s place. To see the other participants, click HERE.