September 16, 2017
by Conor Seed
Last year I became pretty invested in the American election, as I’m sure many of you did! There was so much going on it was hard to keep up, especially with the media sensationalising stories and deliberately twisting narratives to their own bias. I spent a lot of time debating and hypothesising with friends about America’s past, as well as its future if either candidate won. It all came down to this for me though; I promised myself that I would invest, at minimum, just as much time into my home country’s election process as I did America’s. And so I have! Mostly thanks to my wife starting her BA in Politics & Development earlier this year, we’ve spent a lot of time researching and debating our thoughts on the way forward for New Zealand.
I’d like to preface this by saying I haven’t decided on where my votes are going yet. I’m also no expert in theology or politics. But below you will find the deep inner wrestlings of a man who wholeheartedly wants to see heaven established here on earth. I hope you’re challenged just as much as I have been.
Mostly I’ve been thinking about which parties are carrying and looking to outwork Kingdom Principles. “Behaviour Modification” or “Moral High Ground” isn’t what I’m talking about. As we can clearly see from the Old Testament, that doesn’t work very well. Or, in the words of Paul, “I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death.”
What I am talking about is the compassion Jesus showed with the woman caught in adultery, the anger He showed kicking people out of the temple, the creation and restoration of connection and community, the care for the poor and the lost, his Reckless abandonment to go after the one, the freeing of multitudes of captives, and even the way he taught his disciples.
Now, I know a lot of us have been caught up in Labours announcement to bring the abortion legislation out of the crimes act. And yes, it’s a huge issue. It really is. I’ve been wrestling with it a lot. I also acknowledge that for many people this is a deal breaker, but I urge you to find the truth about what has been said and has actually been proposed. For those interested, here’s a pretty good clarification on Labour’s stance. However I also believe that, as Christians, there are many other issues in New Zealand which shouldn’t be ignored and are just as important. I’m not convinced that it’s ok to blind ourselves from the whole picture based on one issue.
So, let’s start here: I’m concerned about lack of honour toward the Treaty of Waitangi. I want to see Māori culture free from oppression, much of which is the generational impact of colonisation (in other words, the real immigration issue) which our ancestors (especially myself as an Englishmen) are largely responsible for. Papa wants every tribe and tongue to thrive, not just the Pākehā. Policy that looks to step in that direction should be just as important to Christians.
Just as it says in the bible, I also believe that the Gospel is for ALL creation. Our mandate was to extend & care for the Garden of Eden till it covered the planet. The land even groans waiting for sons and daughters to arise. I think the land is waiting for us to tend to it like we would have the Garden of Eden. It’s part of rising up as children of God because it was part of our first mandate. Policies that look to care for the planet should be just as important to Christians.
I’m even all for the rich getting richer. That’s great. He has given us the ability to create wealth. What isn’t so great in New Zealand is that the rich are leaving the poor in their dust. The knock on effects of the widening income gap are also super scary. As Christians, we should be looking for policies which show compassion for the poor (like in Lev 23:22), as well as policies which deal with the ongoing effects.
Mental health is abysmal in New Zealand. The current suicide statistics, which are the worst in the developed world, are just the tip of the iceberg. We’re called to bring heaven to earth, but people are experiencing hell on earth and in their minds to absolutely monstrous proportions. Christians, particularly those who consider themselves as Pro Life, should be just as concerned about this.
I debated on whether to include the next paragraph because I wondered if it would offend too many people. But I think it’s worth mentioning, especially when I remembered that you’re all powerful people and are responsible for how you choose to respond.
I’d also like to mention National’s marketing campaign this election. Fearful of loosing power they have resorted to blatantly lying (intentionally misleading the whole nation in the process), and to defaming others in order to get ahead. Why are Christians not up in arms about this? We’re called to love one another as we love ourselves, and to love our enemies. Didn’t Jesus have something to say to his disciples when they started grabbing for power? (See Luke 22).
I could continue into other areas too, such as: the world refugee crisis, modern day slavery, tax evasion, human trafficking and child poverty. But I think I’ve already pushed enough buttons. I believe New Zealand is called to be a prototype country- a place which holds community and connection as it’s core pillars, and shows the rest of the world how it’s done.
So I guess my challenge to you is this: consider the whole picture. The Kingdom is a lot bigger than the world would have you believe.