In his last column of 2011, Charles Krauthammer restates without qualification the triumphant humanism of the last sixty years. "Politics — in all its grubby, grasping, corrupt, contemptible manifestations — is sovereign in human affairs. Everything ultimately rests upon it. .Fairly or not, politics is the driver of history."
No matter how much we blather about the "Judeo-Christian west," "Christian "values" etc.,, it comes down to—politics? If that were so, which I do not buy for an instant, we are doomed.
A more apt metaphor for politics than "driver of history" is the children's game of "king of the hill," a perpetual struggle to push the kid from the top of a pile or mound and replace him, thus gaining ascendancy over the other players by being stronger, tougher, smarter, and more determined than all of them.
When nations play their version of king of the hill, however, the rules are loose to the point of invisibility. There is negotiation, but it is stretched beyond recognition by lies, deception, cheating, and stealing, even if the negotiating table is not itself blown out of the building by saboteurs. We even spy on our allies, the moral equivalent of cheating at a table parlor game.
If you don't believe that God is "riding the bicycle of history toward home, no hands" (Robert F. Capon), then trust in politics; maybe your kids, at least, will escape the next holocaust, genocide, famine, pandemic, or terrorist attack—all of which have been consequences of politics in my seventy-five years.
The God who rides the bicycle of history is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Modern politicians try to enlist him for their side, there to play by Mormon rules, Roman rules, liberal Protestant rules, Jewish rules, Islamic rules, "evangelical" rules, or ephemeral "spiritual values," which politicians tailor to fit their campaigns. It doesn't seem to occur to politicians that God is riding that bicycle under his own power, not theirs, to a destination of his choosing. He invites us to join him--his bike is infinitely large-- but if we fight him for control of it we'll get bounced and never get to where he is going.
God is people oriented, not issue-oriented. Issues are abstractions. We are not, nor is He. We cannot enlist God in what we are doing, but he invites us to join him in what he doing; we may love sacrificially, and pray for his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. We do not get to tell him what he is supposed to do.
Politics has a place, but it is not in the driver's seat. In the kingdom of the world it is a humble servant; at its best when clarifying issues, at its worst when cheating or murdering its way to power.
Happy New Year.