06 Oct Discussion Guide: You Have a Part to Play – Politics
Before We Get Started
For our discussion today we will be using the You Have A Part To Play discussion guides. If you would like to follow along you can access this discussion guide on the website at mosaicchurchaustin.com and then select “community group resources” in the menu options.
Because the main goal of our time together is to establish relationships and learn how to walk with one another in all that God has called us to be and do, we’d like to begin by praying for one another. So, does anyone have anything you’d like us to pray for, or anything to share regarding how you’ve seen God moving in your life that we can celebrate together.
You Have A Part To Play Topics
Fame Culture. Homelessness. Creation Care.
Politics. Modern Day Slavery. Our Common Humanity
This Week’s Video
Red. Blue. Purple. My party. Your party. Their party. Whatever happened to the idea of “We the People?” Now, over the last 20 years, politics has become more, well, politicized, and voting tendencies, more than ever before, lean along racial and ethinic lines. How does a person of faith, and the church of Jesus, respond in our current political crisis? In today’s discussion we are not going to debate which side of teh aisle is right, but rather how can our heart and relationships be right as we seek God’s Kingdom above all else.
From a general sense, and without blaming or naming anyone specifically, what would you say is wrong, if anything, with our current political environment in America?
In the 1920’s Time Magazine posted an article posing the question, “What’s wrong with the world?” In response to this article the author and theologian, G.K. Chesterton sent the following letter.
Regarding your article ‘What’s Wrong with the World?’
– G.K. Chesterton”
If we, as a people, took that same posture of humility and honest self reflection when it comes to how we approach politics how might that affect the dialogue and conversations we have around the political scope of our country?
Why do you think people are so quick to want to point the finger and blame “that party” or “those people” for the problems we face?
Judge Steve Vigorito mentioned the idea that we are becoming more “tribal” in our approach to community, why do you think that might be happening? And, what can keep us from continuing to move in that direction?
When Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil they did so from the motivation to “become God” rather than to glorify God. Ever since that fateful day humankind has been seeking to set ourselves in the position of God through power and fame. Tribalism has existed throughout time becuase it is humanity’s attempt to prove that power and fame. If I am to be like God, and therefore I am to be the one in power and control, then I also need to surround myself with people who are going to reinforce that idea by agreeing with the way I think, act, feel, and operate. Conversely, the people not like me who tend to question, contradict and challenge my way of thinking and living need to be dismissed at best and oppressed and controldded at worst.
This is the underlying mindset behind the tribalism that exists in our own nation today. We have removed the sovereign rule of a good, loving, just, Creator from our lives and in His place we have sought to fill the resulting vacuum of leadership with ourselves and/or with the people who most represent us, and therefore anyone who disagrees with that we vilanize, margenalize and dismiss because they threaten the control and power we imagine ourselves to possess. Ultimately, this is all rooted in fear. When we become afraid of something we reach for whatever it is we think will stabilize our situation, that thing that allows us to predict and control the outcome of our circumstances. On a roller coaster we grab the lap bar. In a car we grip the steering wheel. When that fear finds its way into our relationships and perception of society we reach for the position or person that can elevate our status and give us that sense of control. The moment that sense of power and control is threatened or questioned we seek to control the people threatening it and empower the people who we feel can reestablish our status quo.
This is the heart of tribalism. Having our tribe enables us to feel more significant, more powerful, safer in the midst of a turbulant society.
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. “
Based on what we know from the Gospel accounts in Scripture, and from what Paul tells us here, how would you say Jesus related to the political systems of His day?
How did His way of humility, love, service and Truth impact the world and the people around Him?
What might it look like for us to approach the political environment in our day with this same kind of mindset and heart?
Jesus’ approach to the political atmosphere He lived in was unique, not just in His own day and age, but in our day and age as well. Jesus did not ignore the political arena in His day, but He also didn’t capitulate to it either. We see Jesus engaging in conversations with the Pharisees and Saduccees, a form of religious politial parties in His day. We also see Him having a conversation with Pontious Pilate and talking about the difference between the kingdom of Rome and the Kingdom of God. When two of His disciples seek to gain a place of political power and advantage (at least as they perceived it) within the Kingdom of God Jesus doesn’t dismiss them, but rather redirects their political pursuits from seeking power to submitting to God as King first and foremost.
However, the common denominator in how Jesus approached politics in His day was to do so not by arguing from a political party but rather declaring and modeling that all man made political systems still fall subject and find their place and meaning within the rule of God’s Kingdom first and foremost. So, as Jesus went about His days He did so as a citizen of God’s Kingdom first, not as a citizen of Israel or Rome or any other political representation. Because He lived from that higher political identity He was able to rightly evaluate the lower political agendas of His day, and He was able to love and serve people from all political identities whether they agreed with Him or not. Jesus came as an Abmassador of God’s Kingdom to represent God has King and to model His rule of Love, Truth and Righteousness. From that place He was able to engage and function within the political arenas of this world in a way that brought healing where needed, correction where needed, and recognition of truth where it existed.
If we can follow Jesus in this calling I believe it would drastically impact our nation and the political environment we find ourselves in today. If we can remember that first and foremost we are, “Ambassadors of Christ,” and, “Ministers of reconciliation,” whose political identity is found within the citizenship of God’s Kingdom then we can engage in political conversations, activities, and leadership in a way that seeks to love and serve others rather than proving our point or elevate ourselves and the people we feel represent us at the expense of others.
Judge Steve Vigorito
“It is often on a local level that issues are dealt with that are going to most profoundly affect the lives of individuals.”
We tend to think that in order to make a difference in the world we have to do something big, but in our video Judge Steve said it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. Why do you think that is?
What are some of the reasons people don’t get more involved in public service?
How can we play our part in serving others, loving others, and seeing God’s Kingdom come and His will being done within the political atmosphere of our nation?
Text Journey Invitation
The ultimate goal here is discipleship, for us to encourage and walk with one another in our pursuit of being conformed to the image of Christ. Obviously, there’s only so much that can happen in a setting like this, so to continue in that pursuit together we are doing something we call our Text Journey. This will be a daily devotional sent to you via text and our ask is that you would partner up with someone from our community group (preferably someone who doesn’t live in the same house as you) for the purpose of talking through whatever God speaks to you or reveals to you each day. So, if you have not opted in yet you can text the word “Pray” to (855) 931-1450. If you have not partnered up with someone yet then let us know and we’ll help you get connected with someone.