Friday, October 24, 2008

Voting biblical values

I had a recent conversation with a friend about politics. And of course I can't help myself with the whole idea of "stimulating" different thoughts than the ones currently rolling around in someone's head. My close friends never know if I'm advocating a position I really believe or just in the stimulation mode...

But the conversation made me think about the phrase "voting biblical values."

I know what they mean when they say it--two values in particular--life and marriage.

Now I don't by any means intend to downplay those two things. They are biblical values, and very important ones.

But just not the only ones.

So I usually say something like "which biblical values are you suggesting I vote for? Forgiveness of enemies, turning the other cheek, justice for the oppressed, rescuing the impoverished, caring for orphans and widows, or what?"

There are more than 2 biblical values.


Victor R. said...

True ... I agree. The challenge is when you prioritize those values (as in how foundational are they to society) and then ... how likely is any president to have an impact on them: appointing judges, policy, etc.

K Burkholder said...

"Then they will say, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or in prison..."

"For wrath is mine, says the Lord, and vengence mine to repay..."

"Love your neighbors and bless you enemies..."

"For true religion is this..."

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come."

For being on such a narrow path, we have a wide swath of values to implement. And we have very little time to do it.

Arnie Adkison said...

I'm not sure I would agree that prioritizing them is discussing "how foundational they are to society" although I think that is definitely a factor. Prioritizing values is really tough work, maybe impossible. I would describe it as more like a pizza pie. Each value represents a slice, and some slices are bigger than others. But the societal impact is what the pizza as a whole does, not what order the slices are in. Okay, I'm not sure that analogy works that well.

So let's talk about societal impact. We talk about this with orphan care a lot. What is a bigger impact, delivering 200,000 shoes to orphans around the world or getting 20 orphans adopted? One is smaller in breadth but is transformational to those involved. The other impacts exponentially more people, but the impact arguably only lasts until those shoes don't fit or wear out. Or get stolen.

The same is true in evaluating the priority of biblical values--which Kyle has done a good job of listing. The tough decision is how each of these values fit together in a holistic whole of a community's impact on society. And my point is that too many Christians don't think of values as holistic, but as a list. If being pro-life is #1 on a list (instead of the biggest slice of a pizza--sorry I can't think of a better metaphor), then you don't move on to #2 until you finish #1. That's where too many Christians who place pro-life-ness at #1 on the list find themselves.

Victor R. said...

I don't think prioritizing means that you can only work on one thing at a time. Even when it comes to a pizza ... most people still will look at all the pieces (or at the ones that are left) and the pick one based on their particular preference (bigger, smaller, less pepperoni, etc.). Prioritizing doesn't mean only certain things are important ... it speaks of worldview, assumptions, and presumptions. it is important to both provide shoes to orphans and to get them adopted ... you worked on both at the same time ... but that doesn't mean that having a good set of foster parents isn't more important than a pair of shoes ... not that you have to choose between those two categories, but that as far as values are concern a pair of parents is more important (valuable) than a pair of shoes.

Arnie Adkison said...

Couldn't agree more about how you describe prioritizing, Victor. But the hard part comes when it takes $1,000 to find a foster parent and $1,000 to ship some shoes to orphans and you only have $1,000. Then you have to figure out which is more important at that time. And it might be different tomorrow.

So I agree, priorities change, priorities are holistic, worldview kinds of things.

Victor R. said...


It's always good to be here and learn with the community!