As I’ve (mostly not) followed the Republican primaries and all the commentating and pundit activity,¹ I’ve come pretty close to publicizing a vow. It would go something like this:
I, Brian Casey, being of questionable, but arguably sound, mind, do hereby vow that from now through November 2012, I shall not intentionally turn on any TV or radio news that I know to be covering politics. Neither will I intentionally click on any link on my phone or computer that will lead me to stay informed about political “races”–presidential or otherwise.
I lean. I think the lean is like 50 degrees (yeah, I’m almost tippin’ over) toward an apocalyptic/kingdom worldview rather than toward a politically or otherwise temporally motivated one. And so I am persuaded a) that whatever happens politically doesn’t ultimately matter all that much, and, perhaps more important for this particular blogpost, b) that of all the words exhausted on politics in an election year, about 98.6% of them are a feverish waste of time. I simply choose not to spend my time following all that closely.
Oh, sure, I’m interested, on some level. A word-searching glance back through my blogs will find “Romney” and his ideals more than once, for instance. I don’t think I’ve said anything about Santorum, but I would tend to trust him as a person quite a bit more (for me, his particular religious flaws make him much more a victim of circumstance, whereas any Mormon’s egregious headlong rush into insane error ought to be viewed with less charity). What I heard from Ron Paul a month or two ago made me think three things: a) he makes more sense than most people, b) he doesn’t seem like he puts up a front in the slightest, and c) he will never be viewed as electable. I’m still a little sad that Sarah Palin didn’t pass muster 4 years ago; Michele Bachmann was not her equal. Cain was never a viable candidate, and I don’t even remember another name or two at the moment.
Truth be told, I’m not all that convinced at this point that any current options are any better for this earthly country than President Obama. (I once heard conservative radio talk show host quoted as having suggested that another four years of Obama are probably best for us, because that would really make the country do an about-face toward something different in 2016.) No, I haven’t liked things I’ve heard that he’s done all that often, and there are multiple things about him that have caused me not to trust him or his motives, but he is the president, and one of my duties — yea, my only bona fide duty, I would suggest — is to respect him and his office. That much I should do as I travel on toward my eternal country, because my primary citizenship is there.
I may have a few things yet to say about politics this year, but it won’t be because I make a hobby out of following the goings-on this summer. I have better, more productive things in mind to do with my time. (For instance, walk a quarter-mile to watch a few Little League games with my son.) But for now, I will simply share this meaningful passage from a book I’m currently reading. Although it speaks of the 1st century, not the 21st, we would do well to apply today what Barnett has noted about the early Christians’ focus on the Kingdom, not on this world.
We are struck by this: world history, apart from generalized comments in Tacitus and Josephus, makes no reference to the new “child” (i.e., of Judaism), Christianity. It is preoccupied with the passing parade of emperors, governors, and high priests. For its part, Christian history in the book of Acts is focused on the continuing works of Jesus, the now-risen Christ. For those first Christians the events of the wider world are largely inconsequential and only noticed if they bear in some way on the progress of the word. – Paul Barnett, The Birth of Christianity, p. 41
¹ Can there be a kind of pundit other than the political kind? I don’t think I’d have much use for a musical pundit or a Christian pundit, either.