Posted tagged ‘Candidates’

Why Are So Many People Running For President?

June 17, 2015

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                                  June 17, 2015

                             

Currently, there are 16 people who have announced that they are candidates in the running for the 2016 Presidential race. Why so many?

Let me step back for a moment. Why would anyone want to be President? On most of the decisions half the country isn’t with you, and the half that are with you are at risk of jumping ship any moment…depending on how your decision affects them. Why would anyone want to be in that position?

Don’t get me wrong. There have been many good presidents in the history of our country, but most of the time they aren’t recognized for effective they were until years after they left office. Rarely has a president been recognized for right decisions while in office! that would mean that the rival party would have to give credit, and how would that look when the next election came around?

It still begs the question that is on my mind…why are there so many people running? The answers to that question range from practical to an inflated level of self-confidence. Some are running because they are getting their name out there for 2020. They don’t expect to win in 2016, but perhaps people will take notice of them for four years on down the road. My guess is that most of those reading this post will find it difficult to remember even half of the candidates who have declared, let alone the two others who have formed “exploratory committees.”

Some of the candidates will fall by the wayside in a few months when they realize that their is no steam in the engine. But others will stay the course too long because they either feel called to run, have never started something they didn’t finish, are being urged by their constituents to stay the course, or they are simply full of themselves.

Self-confidence needs to be a quality of the president, but not so self-assured to the point that the person doesn’t think their bodily discharges don’t stink…if you get my drift!

If I start believing I can personally fly, and keep telling myself that, at some point the reality of my earthboundness is going to come into play in a crashing sort of way.

What should we look for in a president? Some may crucify me for this, but I’m looking for just a few things. The wisdom of Solomon…the patience of Job…the strength of Joshua…the prayerfulness of Daniel…the ability to listen like David…the grace of Paul…the faith of Abraham…and the willingness to say “I’m wrong” like the prodigal son.

I know that I just listed eight men in those qualities, but gender if not an issue for me. the candidate I vote for will not be on the basis of a gender, although I know a lot of people would make their decision on that basis.

I simply go back to the question again: why would anyone want to be president?

“Somebody has to be” may be the best reason!

Endorsing Candidates and the Baptist Church

September 29, 2012

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                     September 28, 2012

I ran for political office about twenty years ago.

Well…it was the local school board…but it was an election, there was tension (since a certain faction the community didn’t like the Superintendent and didn’t want to approve a bond millage), I was elected, and served for five years (One year appointed to fill an unexpired term, and then elected to a four year term).

What I never did, however, was bring my school board candidacy into the pulpit, or into my pastoral ministry. That was a dividing line that I was not willing to cross. I didn’t pass out campaign signs to my congregation to stick into their front yard grass. I was their pastor. I was one of the community’s elected officials.

Somewhere along the line Baptists got mixed up, and started endorsing candidates for political office. But, you see, the separation of church and state is a basic principle, a foundational benchmark, of Baptists. Roger Williams established the “Providence Plantation” in 1636 because of religious persecution in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In essence, the state and the church and linked together, and Williams settled a place where people could come and worship freely, according to their tradition and beliefs. He established the “First Baptist Church” in America, located in Providence.

When we come to election time…especially a presidential election…both conservatives and liberals of the church seem to blur the line on endorsing candidates. Many will focus on the religious convictions, or lack of, in the candidates, framing it in issues such as justice, or health care, or the use of the Bible, or prayer to help it look more spiritual.

Once in a while I’ll come to our church about this time of year and find a sign planted in the public strip of land between the city sidewalk and the street. It’s public property so we get signs there all the time for roofing companies, cleaning services, and aerating lawns. The problem is that people think we’re endorsing the candidate. I’ve thought about putting this on our marquee sign just a few feet from the political signs: “If there are political signs here, we didn’t put them there!” Or “Don’t vote for any candidate who put a sign along our property!”

As long as I pastor, the only candidate our church will endorse is Jesus. The church should always trumpet the causes of justice, fairness, compassion, mercy, peace, and reconciliation.

What we fail to realize is that there is a different Kingdom that the church is endorsing. It’s the Kingdom of God. Our investment is ultimately not in a certain political plan or presidential proposal, bur rather in the Kingdom that transcends time, and election districts.

When I hear of Baptists churches having voter registration tables I can envision Roger Williams rolling over in his grave.

Oh, and going back to when I ran for school board! I received one campaign donation…from the local plumber’s union. The man who fixed the urinals at church when they broke thought I’d make a good addition to the school board. That’s it! I guess you could say it was the Baptist version of Watergate…except it was precipitated by a flushing problem!