I saw a problem and I knew God wanted me to do something about it!
While pastoring churches since 1989, unusual opportunities arose for me to be engaged in politics. I became a bridge between faith and politics. What I saw alarmed me! Politics gladly “used” the Church for its purposes. At times the Church returned the favor. But mostly the Church turned away to keep the partisan divisiveness from entering its sacred community and from being tainted by the dishonor of politics.
Sadly, what is lost by this disconnect is a high price paid by our society. Government needs the influence of the Church! Before you tune me out, wait! I’m not talking about amping up Christian voting blocs, or energizing political agendas. What I do envision is a holy Church moving in the authentic spirit of Christ, seeking to exchange a culture of dishonor with a culture of honor.
So I started an organization.
First, let me tell you what The Culture of Honor (COH) is and then I will tell you why I started it. The COH’s long name is The Society for the Promotion of a Culture of Honor (TSFTPOACOH is too long too).
Our Vision is to mobilize the church to change government with love and prayer.
This vision is based on I Timothy 2:2 where we are commanded to “pray for kings and those in authority” and God promised we would live “quiet and peaceful lives full of worship and respect for God”.
COH seeks to build relationships of honor between the church and governmental leaders in Michigan’s 110 state representative districts, 38 state senate districts, 14 congressional districts and 100’s of mayors, that fosters trust, informed intercession and spiritual support.
The short-term goals that we want to reach by the end of 2012 is to find… • At least one church in each state representative district that will invite that representative to their church AFTER the election and before the New Year to honor them, thank them for their public service and to pray for them. • At least five families in each district that will connect with their representative, state senator and US congressman immediately after joining COH. Periodically, we will all collectively, simultaneously reach out to them with love and prayer after New Year’s Day.
We are asking people to become members of COH and to financially invest in COH so we can turn government toward a culture of honor. The website has all the details on how to join COH.
As people join, COH will invest in them by… • sending them information about the elected officials in their districts, • sending them training materials on how to connect with and pray for their leaders, • providing them with outstanding educational/motivational materials, • and sending newsletters with stories of the impact of COH.
WHY SHOULD YOU BE PART OF THE CULTURE OF HONOR
GOVERNMENT IS IN TROUBLE AND NEEDS US
We all recognize government is in trouble. Federal government is borrowing $40 0f every $100 it spends. We all know this is unsustainable, but radical cuts in government will have a devastating affect on the most vulnerable among us. State and local governments are struggling under the same significant lack of resources. Gridlock has incapacitated government’s ability to get things done. Confusion abounds about the moral direction of America when it comes to abortion, marriage, debt, race, foreign policy, and the list goes on.
Because government is a mess, is divided, seems corrupt and has pushed God aside many would say, “Stay away”; but let’s be counter-intuitive and “Rush in! “ Now more than ever we need the Church to arise and do what it does best – LOVE and PRAY!
Our government leaders are folks just like you and me, whom we chose to face thorny decisions every day, manage (even on local levels) millions and billions of dollars, and must do so in spiritual distorted and dysfunctional systems. They need our prayers and the resulting wisdom of God. They need us to come alongside them in an opposite spirit of the age.
God knew the “power” of government could corrupt people and societies. So He gave a VERY CLEAR directive. Honor the king. Pray for those in authority. In essence He is saying, “From within the culture, bring a different spirit to bear on government; a different spirit than the dark spirit that seeks to control, manipulate, be greedy and corrupt; bring the Spirit of Christ that honors, loves, nurtures and prays”.
THE POWER OF THE CHURCH MUST PROPERLY RELATE TO THE POWER OF GOVERNMENT
History through the centuries demonstrates the tension existing between the powers of church and state. In America we have moved from one definition of “separation of church and state” to the opposite in a matter of decades.
During my years working inside the Republican Party, I saw first hand the unhealthy, manipulative way the political parties seek to relate to the Church. The Church is one more voting bloc to be targeted just like blacks, Hispanics, pro-life, 2nd amendment enthusiasts, etc. (At some point I will write about this matter fully). They seek to relate to the Church before the election in order to get visibility for their issues and candidates, but then have little to nothing to do with the Church afterwards.
Many pastors intuitively sense the manipulation and seek to protect their church; therefore keeping anything that smells political far away. While that may seem like the wisest choice, it deprives our government from the goodness of the Church. The KEY here is for the leaders of the churches to take initiative and redefine the relationship so it is healthy and non-manipulative.
Here are some important things to do to bring the life-giving goodness of the Church along side government. First, only bring government leaders into our churches after the election. That will allow us to fulfill our mandate to honor the king and pray for those in authority in a real life, compelling way. Second, bring leaders to our church in order to inspire Christians to love and pray for them more effectively. Actually, I believe that by bring government leaders into our church context Christians will become better citizens, voters and political activists. Third, organize pastors to meet periodically with government leaders so a relationship of trust is developed. Through trust-based relationships leaders can call pastors when their wisdom or prayers are needed.
In much the same way, ordinary Christian citizens can develop encouraging, nurturing relationships with our leaders. COH is a non-partisan group focused on honoring and praying, not on advocating on certain issues. Can you imagine what support a legislator will feel when 5 or 10 or 100 people in his district let him know that they are regularly praying for his success? And pastors are meeting with him to pray and extend God’s wisdom to him?
Bottom line: The Church can fuel the success of government by being a life-giving source of healthy, spiritual interaction full of love, goodness, wisdom and prayer and combating the current system of promoting partisan agendas and using power as a manipulator.
WE CAN HOLD A PUBLIC DISCUSSION TO DEVELOP A BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW ON IMPORTANT ISSUES
The issues we face are spiritual issues – from racism to economics to poverty to rule of law to American history to world history to constitutional foundations. And on and on the list can go. How are we to think, engage and solve these matters from a Biblical worldview?
COH will be a forum to develop biblical thinking on the vital spiritual challenges of our day. I know I have a learning deficit on how to think Biblically on some of these thorny matters. I also know that each of these issues is fundamentally spiritual.
COH will seek to bring quality literature to you, to expose you to some of the best thinkers and writers in our state and nation, to provide forums for discussions and just generally elevate the conversation beyond the current politically jaded and shallow analysis. This year COH is offering to its members the excellent book, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Prophet, Martyr, Spy by Eric Metaxes who does a masterful job of showing the damage done by a silent Church during the rise of Nazism in 1930’s Germany.
The Church is ineffective in speaking God’s wisdom to our generation because it speaks a mixed message. Our prophetic voice is tainted with our political agenda. The true believing Church needs to rise with the mind of Christ and find a united voice. The best, wisest spiritual answers to our dilemmas cannot come to us unless a meaningful portion of the nation is ready to embrace it.
COH wants to be a facilitator of an environment where we can talk through some very difficult subjects with humility, grace and wisdom. We need the Josephs and Daniels to surface and for government leaders to know whom they can call when they need God’s wisdom.
CLOSING THOUGHT Imagine all of our legislators going to work in the new session in 2013 having been invited to a church where the people joyfully honored them, thanked them for being a public servant and laid hands on them to pray for God’s wisdom and grace to aid them in the successful leadership of our state!!
God made a promise to us, “You pray. I will lead the culture into peace and quietness where godliness flourishes.”
Please go to www.cultureofhonor.org and join.
Eric Neale Moore Founder, The Society for the Promotion of a Culture of Honor