Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Playground politics

Two posts in one day???  I can't help it.  After my last post I read an article about Nancy Pelosi claiming to "know something about Newt Gingrich" that will cause him to be defeated if he is selected as the Republican nominee.  I am not a supporter of Gingrich, and I don't care one way or the other if he is selected by the voters to run against President Obama or not, but reading that article really ticked me off. 

With the important issues facing this nation here is a former Speaker of the House playing what I call playground politics.  It reminded me of hearing a small child on a playground taunting others by saying, "I know something you don't know."  (It helps if you repeat that in a whiny, nasal voice.)  It's no wonder that the approval rating for Congress is as low as it is with this kind of leadership.  When asked, her office tried to claim that she just knew Gingrich would not win election, but she has repeated this twice for the media insinuating she knew things about Gingrich which she would reveal if he is selected as the Republican nominee.  In typical Gingrich fashion he has responded if she knows anything she should reveal it now.  He also said that he would rather have Pelosi opposing him than supporting him, and on that point at least I can agree with him.

It is just this kind of childish behavior on both sides of the aisle that prevents this Congress from doing anything of substance.  Someone once said that a nation gets the leaders it deserves, so I'm not sure what this says about our nation or its future.  With continued high unemployment, continuing foreclosures, and a growing deficit is it too much to ask that our elected officials begin to act like grown-ups and work together to improve the situation our nation finds itself in?  It's time our elected officials remember they are in office to represent the people they serve, not their own self-interests or the interests of their party.  Maybe the voters need to begin saying, "I know something you don't know," and that something is that if they can't represent their constituents we are ready to replace them with people who are.

Enough political talk.  The truth is that I've also seen such behavior occur in churches when people are resisting some change.  I've seen church members, supposedly mature Christians, withhold their giving to force a pastor to resign.  I've seen church leaders force out pastors who they could not control, and I've seen pastors abuse church members who opposed their wishes.  I've sat in church business meetings that turned into shouting matches.  I've witnessed churches leaving their denominations because of misunderstandings and erroneous information that someone with an agenda presented to the congregation.  Unfortunately, I've seen plenty of playground politics in churches, and it's just as sad when it happens there as when it occurs in Congress.

We have important work to do, but we live in a society that is growing more and more disenchanted with the church.  They see us as irrelevant and unnecessary.  Petty personal preferences and playground politics will do nothing to change that perception.  People need to be introduced to the person of Jesus Christ and invited to enter into a relationship with Him, and the church will only be successful in doing that if we are led by spiritually mature individuals willing to set aside their personal preferences in order to touch other's lives in a meaningful way. 


Greg Farra said...

Good column, Dennis.I see the same problems on Facebook. I've seen stuff from pastors on there that should never be uttered.

Dennis Bickers said...

You're right Greg. I defriended one person on FB because of a constant stream of comments that were inappropriate for a pastor to make. I once met with a pastor who had sent an e-mail that was demeaning and rude to the recipient, and I told him so. To his credit, he already knew that and had regretted he hit the send button, but by then it was too late, and that e-mail continues to circulate. Of course, that reveals a problem of unforgiveness on the part of the recipient, but these are the kinds of things that cause people to avoid the church. We must come to the place where we realize our work is more important that our own personal interests. Thanks, Greg, for your comments.