Due to the state of our nation, many Christians feel a call to political action for the first time and the old grassroots veterans are experiencing renewed passion. How then should Christians engage? I have an unconventional suggestion based on a radically different kind of political meeting I attended last weekend: prayer.
I'm an old veteran of the political arena who is experiencing a slow renewal because of the past battles in which I've been engaged. Simply stated, fighting grassroots political battles can be rough and draining experiences. But what I experienced last weekend was invigorating and holds great promise for the future of Christian political action.
At that meeting held on property previously owned by William Penn's sons in Campbelltown, Pa., a group of Christians gathered for the purpose of forming an umbrella political networking, education, and action organization. Frankly, I wasn't optimistic. Been there, done that.
Twenty-five of us sat around a boardroom table in a beautiful basement room with fieldstone walls. One of the organizers opened the meeting by playing solemn praise music. Hmm, I thought, this is going to be different than what I've experienced at a political meeting before. Another of the principal organizers, after he walked us through the agenda, opened the session in prayer with participants praying as they were led. Again, different.
When we encountered difficult issues and it appeared that the meeting would break down, we took a break for prayer. The fog of contention lifted. We joked about our religious differences: Presbyterians, Pentecostals, Catholics, and Baptists. Joy! Yes, this political meeting was much different than anything I had experienced.
Reading the proposed mission statement, I thought the primary objective would be to put government back into its constitutional box. But as the group discussed its priorities, it became clear; again, this group is out of the ordinary:
- Job No. 1: Unity through prayer.
- Job No. 2: Issues education.
- Job No. 3: Political action to put government back in its constitutional box.
Had I known the primary goal of this group would be to build a statewide organization based on unity through prayer, I would not have attended the meeting thinking it to be impractical. But having experienced joy and unity at our first gathering, I am enthusiastic about the prospects of this group. Is this group developing a model for effective political participation? I don't know, perhaps big things will follow. I am intrigued and have found my interest in political action renewed. Truly, as the psalmist says, "How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity."