In a previous article I lauded Rick Warren’s political posture, which to me, is most preferable to that of the Christian Right or the Emergent Christian Left. Blame my centrist leanings, wanting the best of both sides and rejecting their faults, but there must be a way for the church to speak for God without descending into the arena and feeding our opponents to the lions. If you wonder what all this has to do with the price of fish, fish being the title of this post, well, i have just happened upon one other laudable example of Christian leadership’s participation in the political process, this time involving Andy Stanley .
Andy Stanley pastors the giga Northpoint church in Atlanta, Georgia. Andy and his crowd have always been innovative but their latest endeavour is spot on. Andy has just preached a series on leadership entitled Letters to the Next President, which we shall be examining forthwith. Alongside the messages which, America being America, the candidates will no doubt watch or be briefed about, is a website www.letterstothenextpresident.com where anyone can log on and write their own letters to the next president.
It’s a thoroughly non partisan initiative enabling every Tom, Dick and ‘Harriet’ to express their heart to the next President irrespective of his political stripe, or theirs for that matter. Andy is adopting the biblical format of religious leaders speaking words of counsel to political leaders and he is also allowing the people to have their say. Not only can you write, you can also read what others are writing.
Here is a sampling of the letters:
As the leader of our country, please be a positive role model for the children of our country. I hope that the children of our country can look up to you and the office. Please teach them honesty, honor, love and commitment through both your words and actions. Stand up for what you believe in and work to unite our country. Protect our homeland, our freedom and the values that this country has stood for. Trust God first and seek His wise counsel when making decisions that affect this great nation. Honor your family and your country. Make education a priority – shape the future of our children. Help those who cannot help themselves. Lastly, remember that not only do you answer to the American people but to God our Father.
and from none other than Chuck Colson,
The Bible teaches us that God has appointed you as president. This has nothing to do with your personal faith, though I hope it is strong; but rather is because of your office. God ordains government to wield the sword to keep order and do justice. In biblical terms as well as in the long view of history, the way in which you can do both of those things together will determine the success of your presidency.
America’s founders labeled this new nation an experiment in “ordered liberty.” The order to be achieved is what St. Augustine called the Tranquilitis Ordinus, peace coming from order, but order can never transgress liberty or justice.
Having served one president, (not very well—I ended up in prison) and having been friends of several others, I can tell you that the best way to start your day as president is to read a good devotional and scripture. Preserving order means preserving the moral order, as well as the just order of society. But you will find no better source for understanding moral truth than God’s revealed word.
The second thing you should do each day is recite the opening words of the Declaration of Independence. The Constitution is our covenant; the Declaration is our identity. Always remember these words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” When you do this, remember that the pursuit of Happiness, to the founders, did not mean the kind of hedonism that people seek in today’s narcissistic culture. It meant the pursuit of virtue. Free governing republics can only remain free if the people are virtuous themselves and able to govern their own appetites.
Finally, I know, having spent four years in the White House, that you will confront a series of unexpected crises. When these occur, there is no substitute for quiet prayer, trust in God, and then heeding His words, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
May you have wisdom like God gave Solomon to be able to judge between right and wrong and bring justice to a disordered world.
God bless you.
The youth also weigh in :
Dear Mr. President,
My parents would really like it if you would lower taxes.
As do foreigners?
Dear Mr. President,
While it is true that you are accountable to us, the American people, we are not your source of ultimate accountability.
While it is true that you must answer to the Congress of the United States, you must one day answer to someone of far greater consequence.
While you consult with leaders from around the world, our hope is that you will not forget to consult with the Creator of this world.
As the great king Nebuchadnezzar was once reminded, “The Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms and gives them to anyone he wishes.”
So your leadership, like all leadership, is a stewardship. It is temporary. And you are accountable.