What Kenyan Christians can teach Americans about voting

Given Kenya’s disastrous election less than a year ago, it may seem odd to say that Kenyans have anything to say to Americans about elections, but sometimes the best lessons are learned the hard way. Paul Heidebrecht writes:

When I was in Kenya in May, I had many lively conversations with Kenyan Christians about their election—NEGST students, professors, local pastors, ordinary folks—they all spoke passionately about what had happened in their nation. . .

. . . They believed Kenyan Christians had swung from one extreme to the other. For many years Christians had avoided politics because it was seen as corrupt and compromising. The only thing that mattered was “getting saved” and “getting ready for heaven.” But eventually Christians realized that government can’t be left to people without integrity. They had to be engaged. The past few elections saw many more Christians running for office and voting. But church leaders identified themselves too closely with particular parties and their political tactics. This left them without a credible voice when the crisis struck. In some areas of the country, the church was part of the problem, not the solution. . . .

. . . Christians need to be careful with politics. They need to find the right balance. They need to hold firm to higher principles of justice and righteousness. They must ask, What is good for the nation? and not, What is good for me? Nor can they pin their hopes on one party but rather they need to be independent enough to speak respectfully and credibly to all parties.

Pastors especially have to be careful. In most cases, they should avoid endorsing candidates and parties, especially if their congregation has divided loyalties. They should challenge their members to vote and participate in public affairs. They should preach and teach what the Bible says about citizenship in heaven and on earth. . .

. . . Don’t expect too much from government was another lesson learned. Don’t be naïve about politicians. Many are corrupt or susceptible to corruption. The pressure to take care of their supporters and family members is tremendous. Those who have absolute integrity are easily marginalized. Christians must keep calling upon their government leaders to act justly and for the good of all even when it seems hopeless.

. . . churches must tackle the social problems that government leaders won’t face. This means empowering those who live in slums, assisting refugees from other nations, resolving conflicts between antagonistic groups of people, establishing schools, clinics and small business enterprises. . .

Read the whole article: Can Kenyans teach us how to vote

For amazing story of Kenyan pastors leading a prayer march for spiritual cleansing, visit http://www.listeningtoafricanchurchleaders.blogspot.com/  

 

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