Monday, September 17, 2007

Fred Thompson "Right With God" But Not Churchgoer

According to the Washington Post, recent Presidential candidate Fred Thompson made an appearance before about 500 Republicans in South Carolina Sunday. The WP made the comment that, “the supposed godsend for socially conservative voters…does not attend church on a regular basis.”

The former senator commented that he sometimes attends when he is visiting with his mother in Tennessee but does not belong to a church or attend a church in McLean, Virginia where he lives. Further, Thompson let it be known that his religious practices and beliefs will not be open to discussion. He concluded, “I know that I’m right with God and the people I love.”

Two reflections:
1. If faith is or is not an important factor in a candidate’s life I think that is relevant information for open discussion. If one is not a person of faith then their worldview and values have come from somewhere and I want to know where. It will guide their decision making. If one claims to practice a faith, I want to know what faith because it will likewise have influence on worldview and values. Granted, some of the more recent presidents claimed they were Christians and we were sometimes hard pressed to see how their faith was influencing them.

Senator, your faith or lack thereof is relevant and should not be taken off of the table of discussion.

2. Can someone be right with God and not attend church? I’m not specifically talking about Thompson at this point. I don’t have any gossip or sleazy stories that would undermine his integrity or credentials. I’m asking the broadest sense, can someone be right with God and not attend church?

Non-Christian groups who claim some belief in God would hasten to say yes. So, I’m really asking with respect to what Christians understand about God via the Bible and the person of Jesus.

One metaphor that is frequently used in the Bible to describe God’s relationship with His people is “marriage”. In fact the church is referred to as “the bride of Christ”. Among the ideas associated with that metaphor is closeness or intimacy. God can be known and experienced in a personal way, not just as a concept or idea or force.

If you’re married ask yourself this, “If you never came home and never spent any time with your spouse or the rest of the family in the house, would you be ‘right’ with all concerned?”

Here’s a quick political disclaimer: I’m interested in the 2008 presidential race. I’m following the candidates, debates, interviews, etc. Generally I’m interested to blog about how I see God at work in some circumstance or addressing some kind of God question. There’s going to be much to observe over the next few months.

However, you will not know which candidate I end up supporting by an overt endorsement, nor will I be campaigning in this space. I already wrote a post about Mitt Romney that gives another examples of how I will treat subject matter.

Therefore, if you choose to make comments, please do so with respect to the issue I raise in the post and refrain from political speeches, endorsements or slamming other candidates. Thanks.


Dave said...

What a shame! I was beginning to think that Senator Thompson was the candidate I was waiting for - the best hope for us "social conservatives" in the upcoming election. While I fully appreciate that no one is perfect, I would love to see an election where there is a choice other than "choosing the lesser evil". I feel that the last several elections have fallen into that category. While Thompson's statements don't throw him into that category, they do nothing to drag him further away from it either.

God can use anyone - and I'll be praying for whomever wins the election, but I would love to see a candidate that I can really get behind and support.

Jason said...

Scott what an interesting post. I too am really excited about the 2008 election. I think that there have been some more grassroots campaigns that have started to engage the voter in a deeper way that connects more to actual issues instead of political background.

I think politics would be a hard place to be as nothing is sacred. I would love politicians to be open in their convictions about their faith.