Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Question: Politics. How far do we go before it becomes an idol?

Politics as an Idol?
Politics as an Idol?, a photo by Mervin Chiang on Flickr.
This whole Roy Ngerng versus Lee Hsien Loong ridiculous debacle has somehow bothered me and I can’t seem to put a finger to it. Many years ago, I used to have very strong views about Singapore politics as well. A contributing factor to Kat and I deciding to move out. When asked why we migrated I’d use this narration: “You know the movie the Matrix?...” pause for effect… “We took the red pill!”… Watch people’s face light up… Works every time when asked why we wanted to move out of Singapore…

These days (as I aged)… I don’t normally care about politics or news in general, for that matter, anymore. I guess I have now more things to worry about… than to - “worry about tomorrow”. I strongly lean on the “tomorrow will worry for itself” part of Matthew 6:34 now. Ignorance is bliss I reckoned…

So why do I now want to write a post about politics? It’s weird… My Facebook feeds are split right down the middle on this Roy versus the PM thing with supporters on both camps. Actually, more specifically it’s the Roy camp versus the “this-is-silly-lets-move-on” camp. Singaporeans are getting more and more vocal and some even stand behind this character, throwing money at him and really believing that gathering at a park in the thousands (Singapore has many million people by the way) would really make a difference.

Again, so what is the point of this post? In light of the above description of the state of Facebook affairs… This story got stuck on replay in my head every time I see a post on this Roy thing…

Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone's opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar's.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.” When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away. – Matt 22:15-22, ESV

… OK this might not be the best example to relay my purpose of the post. But the words “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” were the words that keep coming to me every time I see a post (especially from my Christian brother and sisters) sharing about this whole politics thing in Singapore.

I totally get that we should sometimes speak up when we feel that there is injustice or poor management. After all, if we don’t, who would right? But I’m worried, especially for fellow Christians, that we are totally missing the point if we do go too far with protesting in politics (unless you ARE a politician of course… where politics IS your job!).

I know I am potentially opening a can of worms here. But I am willing to have a nice discussion about this – God willing. Especially after a great start this year with our Church theme “go therefore” (Matt 28:19). If I am getting the point about our true mission here in this world while we wait for Christ, compounded with the fact that I know God is sovereign, politics included... you know, he used evil kings in the old testament to complete His master plan and all… wouldn’t it be better to invest time, energy and even money on Godly things? Leave Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and give God the things that are God’s? (i.e. Our time, energy and resources) Honestly, and this is just me, I feel that spending any part of my energy and brain cells in politics as a non-politician is stealing time away from knowing God and working for Him. Plus, dare I say it, where is the Grace in this all if we become the bitter uncle complaining about “garmen” one leg on the chair sipping tiger beer at the Kopitiam? … Metaphorically speaking…

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