In NZ this year we have an election coming up, 20 September 2014. Personally I am unsure which party to vote for (party vote) let alone who to vote for (to be MP for my local electorate). If my votes are to be 'true to Jesus' what analysis of the situation (state of the economy, state of the nation, state of local community and national society) will guide me, perhaps you too?
Currently we Kiwis live in a period of life which could be described by future historians as one of our golden ages. In modern history our nation has had its economic ups and downs but currently we seem to be in an up period. We are doing a roaring trade with the world as one of the great farms of the world, increasingly as a farm providing produce for China. On our farm we make lots of money from running a rather large herd of dairy cows, but also from cattle, sheep, a little bit from the sheep's wool, a vineyard and some forests. There is even a small quarry where coal can be dug up. If politics is about what happens to the farm's profit/loss account then voters would be stupid to vote for a new manager of the farm.
But is that what politics is about? It could also be about what is happening to the individual wallets of the voters. From that perspective life in NZ is uneven. Some wallets are bulging, other wallets are empty. (My hunch is that polls showing the National Party in the 45-50% support range mean that the majority of wallets are not empty, many are reasonably thick and some are bulging). The left-wing approach to politics is to try to even up the amount in each wallet while the right-wing approach is promote an economy in which all wallets have even opportunities to be filled.
For those reflecting on the politics of Jesus, what is important? The overall profit/loss account of the farm? The distribution of wealth across each wallet? The opportunity for each wallet to be filled according to a mix of hard work and entrepreneurial activity?
These days politics also has a green dimension: is the farm being run in a way which is non-polluting? There is a Treaty dimension expressed in at least two ways: who actually owns the farm? Whether wealth is distributed in an even manner or opportunity to access the wealth of the farm is available evenly to all, does this translate to equality between Maori and Pakeha?
Other questions emerge. Are the children on the farm being well educated? When the workers get sick, is there a great health service? What happens t people unable to work?
What might the politics of Jesus contribute to attempts to answer these questions? Next week: equality in the kingdom and its reverse economics.