Category Archives: DMinor

The Ministry of Politics

When one takes upon themselves the mantel of ministry, they take upon the role of a servant. Yes, a servant. This is an uncomfortable feeling for many individuals, because it is human nature to want acceptance, moments in the spotlight, and to be embraced with praise and glorification for our various deeds. Yet, with the call of ministry comes the abandonment of self, the crucifixion of pride, and the concluding fact that you are called to serve a cause greater than one’s self.
Ministry, in a religious respective, is an expression of the will of the religious faith. Politics, in theory, is an expression of policy or legislative affairs that should reflect the will of the constituents. Politics is a ministry, in the sense that the elected leaders are called to serve. In essence, they take on the title of “public servants.” In various parts of the international world, the word “ministry” is widely used. For example, we use the terms “Secretary of Defense/Secretary of State” to relate to our nation’s top military advisor and top diplomat. Overseas, the term used to relate to these positions are “Defense Minister and Foreign Minister.” I find this strikingly intriguing in the fact that “minister” is used to imply that government intends to minister, or to reach out through self-less service, to its constituents. Anytime the government takes on the term of “minister” it is responsible for expressing outreach through humility and having a passion for people.
Ministry is all about people and connecting with their needs. The problem with politicians in the current era is that they know of their constituents but there is no connection to their needs. This is displayed through policies and legislative procedures that ignore the will of the people, and through acts that benefits politicians but can put the constituents at an extreme disadvantage. Majority of politicians are seeking to be in the spotlight, serenaded by a paparazzi of television crew, radio talking heads and attempting to divulge the voter into thinking that they are acutely aware of their needs by doing glamorous, but deceptive public relations. The constituent knows when the politicians are sincere and honest with them. They know that when election time is vastly approaching, the politicians will appear to be interested in improving their economic conditions. This, however, is not ministry. Ministry is a CONSTANT process. It does not occur every 2 or 4 years but it is intact every single day. People need encouragement and advice every day. Ministry is being aware of these needs and making yourself available to being a helpful asset. This concept needs to be applied in the political theatre. The voter needs to see and hear from their elected leaders on a constant basis, not just during an election cycle.
Ministry requires outreach to every human soul that desires to have their lives impacted for the better. Ministry does not see race, ethnicity, sex, economic status, or past failures. Yes, ministry outreaches to those who have done deeds that are considered despicable. After all, it’s not what you were it’s what you can become. The political atmosphere can benefit from the aspects of ministry. Instead of particular parties outreaching to certain voting blocs and turning a deaf ear to others, they could simply engage in outreaching to EVERYONE in need. This will bring about more interest and a better engagement in public affairs and policy. When you reach out to everyone, there is a better feeling of overall satisfaction. The failure to reach out to everyone leaves a sense of discontent and the “out of touch” label begins to take its role.
Ministry isn’t about receiving a prestigious award or adoration. Many times your deeds go unnoticed. Many times you will not receive a “thank you” or a pat on the back. Ministry is selfless. It is the willingness to operate with passion and to influence others without asking for anything in return. Politics is about reaching out to others and impacting the lives of voters without looking for political favors or “back door deals.” It is about staying faithful to your values and principals and not abandoning them for fanfare or popularity. It consists of connecting to the people you have been chose t represent without betraying them for greed, corruption and deceit.
If you feel the call of ministry has landed on your shoulders, you must embrace it without turning back. You must be saturated with a burden to impact the lives of those you come in contact with and the willingness to serve people with the humble heart of a servant. For those who want to be a public servant through the political realm, you must stand with conviction and consistently display the principals that your constituents expect out of you. This must be shown through policies and lifestyle as well.
Will politics embrace the role of ministry and reduce selfishness and greed and increase humility and morality? This remains to be seen. In order for politics to be more positively embraced, it must become a ministry.

The Importance of the Church being Culturally Relevant

The church’s role in a social interacting and advanced, technological paradigm-shifting world is very intriguing, but yet so important to world culture. The big question surrounding this is: How does the church engage in cultural outside the theological remedy without violating its core principals?

Culture is all about engagement. To be engaged, of course, means that you cannot be an isolationist. Culture is about expressing ideas, lifestyle and beliefs in various manners. The church, at times, can be so culturally isolated, that it could risk becoming an outreach mechanism to becoming an elitist oasis for the religious folks.

The church has the ability to embrace cultural diversity and should engage in differences. I strongly believe that we constantly learn and grow from individuals who are different from us. While we may or may not agree with the various socio-cultural views of people, we can at least learn in the aspect of approach and having a dialogue with them.

The importance of the church being culturally relevant is to welcome diversity. Regardless of the church’s religious platform, the most important way to grow the church and to make it a significant contribution to society is to make people feel welcome. People are not interested in embracing the church’s concept if they feel intimidated or judged by their lifestyle or acts.

Even Christ, in his infinite wisdom and sovereignty, embraced the cultural differences that surrounded him. He ate with tax collectors. He solaced a troubled harlot when the “religious” ones wanted to excommunicate her from society. He embraced Paul, an ardent murderer of Christians (talk about a cultural difference!) and turned him into an apostle. Christ didn’t attempt to circumvent the cultural and spiritual struggles and differences of his era. Instead, he produced a message of love and hope for those in despair.

There are so many times that the church’s attempt to reach out becomes strained and contentious. We live in a culture that is more engaged in progression. One way to unravel the church’s attempt to engage culturally is by means of aggression. If the messenger’s attempt to convert society to the church is in an aggressive, judgmental and abrasive way, then the message of love, hope and spiritual connection becomes diluted, ignored and irrelevant.

The fact of the matter is this: The church’s staunch opposition against a carnal and secular cultural nation does not mean that it doesn’t exist. Homosexuality exists and is rapidly increasing and becoming more socially acceptable. Pre-marital sex still occurs and is undeniably common in today’s culture. Alcohol will still be consumed among today’s teens and young adults and bars and nightclubs are still going to be a common scene among many cities. The church is more than welcome to stand opposed to these issues and doesn’t have to compromise on principle. However, a stern message of hell, fire and brimstone to those who are engaged in such lifestyle will not exactly persuade one to change his or hers course of action.

Conviction is a divine, supernatural God-sent message to alter one’s ways, not a man-made or human attempt to change one’s self. I strongly believe that God changes people’s hearts and minds. If there is something that needs to be changed in our lives, he will give us discernment and convict us of whatever the wrong may be. That’s not man’s job. It will never be. Man cannot presumably condemn people to eternity in hell….or transport them to paradise in heaven, for that matter.

Love and transparency can relate to many people. Welcoming people with open arms and offering hope for them in their darkest situations will always be more helpful than immediate criticism and cynical views on one’s lifestyle. Cultural relevancy is essential to just mere understanding of why people live the lives that they do and the views they perceive. It’s not so much conversion, which may occur at a later given time, but it’s more being able to leave the comfort of the church walls, and being engaged and active in a community that is looking for someone to be a difference, minus the judgmental and religious condescending rhetoric.

If the church is cultural relevant, it’ll be spiritually relevant. Church growth and expansion correlates with the ability to love the individual and allow God to put the remaining pieces together. If the church adopts this method, it will be a thriving and live-changing force in today’s cultural landscape.

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