By Jeff Ziegler
The great dynasties of Major League Baseball have always maintained supremacy of the ball diamond through the development of supportive minor league teams more commonly referred to as the farm system. When properly supported, the farm team – minor league organization, cultivates young talent that can be employed for the “big leagues” when the need arises or the position has opened. This is an inherently”bottom-up” approach which in the long term, provides a particular franchise with stability and success. While the age of “free agency” has modified this approach (using large sums of cash to buy a players contract), the farm-system comprised of home grown talent is still the dominant theme for long term stability and annual competiveness.
In the political world success is measured in the terms of victories, from which the projection of power determines policy. Even if one desires to decentralize and restrict political power, such polices must at some point be enacted from a position of authority. In order to achieve that influence one must field candidates, win races, and control political parties at the local level. Unfortunately, most politically active Christians think in terms that cripple any long term development of local “talent” which can then be called upon to cogently represent the claims of Christ in the “big leagues” of civil discourse and policy making.
In America, politically active Christians are eerily uniform in their reactive response to negative and sinful national trends. They are very good at the point of protest and can marshal grass roots outrage on the national stage. But as SGI oft declares “outrage” rarely wins battles! So even when Christians are victorious at blunting a particular onerous policy, such obsessions with all things national brings a woeful neglect to the gateways of political influence at the local level. Therefore we are always left to react to what the “bad guys” are doing instead of making them react to us. You can’t play defense all the time and expect to take ground!
This negligence ensures that explicitly Christian thinking candidates are not developed. Hence; the saints are nearly always left outside the political process, first at the local level and then in the larger arenas. Tough we do become expert “rock throwers”! Local political farm systems support the development of national candidates. Where do you think Sarah Palin came from? Was she groomed by a cabal of “New World Order” thinkers? Hardly! She started out as a school board activist! Hence patience over panic, planning over reaction, and intelligent action over protest wins the day!
Yet, most Christians hold to a “top-down” approach to political thought that deleteriously ignores grass-roots foundations. Result? The saints are marginalized as protestors with little if any bite. Indeed, if I had a dime for every sincere saint who said something akin to “I don’t care about this local stuff … look at what Obama is doing to the nation” I would be a very wealthy man indeed.
When you add the varied conspiracy theories to the milieu, the saints are at a huge disadvantage. “Success” is deemed impossible in that even if some measured advance is noted “the conspiracy” either real or imagined will succeed in thwarting any meaningful advance. Hence local politics is seen as naive and without hope for promotion. Yet it will be local politics, state sovereignty issues, governors and business leaders that will determine the outcome of the Obama years, not Federal obsessions, international cabals, or elite effete billionaires!
A Dominion Attitude
A dominion attitude rejects defeatist notions and embraces long term biblical strategies which ensure a “little by little” conversion or defeat of entrenched political adversaries. Some of these strategies include:
1) Training explicitly Christian candidates in issues of civil polity, campaigns, and theology. This is paramount! You can’t beat something with nothing!
2) Building campaign organizations that are not dependent on the party. That is building a self-sustaining entity at every level of campaign involvement. THIS IS IMPERATIVE! More Christian candidates have lost races due to their naive dependence on state party machines than any other single factor. The machine is NOT on your side! No exceptions! Build your own base, over successive elections and watch how effective you become as a power broker for Constitutional causes!
3) Training precinct committeemen for party service. Concentration is on trained Christians who look to control the executive committee and various other committees (finance, public relations, candidate recruitment etc.) with an eventual Christian party chairman that takes seriously his mission to win back and advance basic Christian cultural ideals.
4) Running races at local and state levels. That is zoning boards, city council, county offices, health boards, school boards, state representative etc. Start with the achievable and LEARN!
5) Involvement in vital peripheral organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Clubs, or start your own think-tank!
6) Discipleship of existing civil magistrates.
7) Committees of correspondence and phone/email/fax/blogging networks to bring public pressure to bear on various issues.
8) Using antithesis both in campaigns and marketing to help define the battlefield in the community. Politics is war by another means! Grow up! Remember Jesus called the scribes and Pharisees “whitewashed tombs and vipers”.
9) After one local county party is sufficiently controlled, branching out into the contiguous counties within the same congressional district.
10) Encourage Christian independents to also run for non-declarative races (city council) and so as to raise up an alternative group of candidates that can assert pressures from outside the main parties.
11) Start your own business! Especially in an age when entrepreneurism is frowned upon by the Obamaites, what better way to resist and prosper than to start your own business!
The average church in America has membership of approximately 190 people. If each church represented on the SGI mailing list were able to activate 10% of their parishioners toward service in the civic realm, a great political force would arise. Now many a churchman decries political involvement. They claim we are not “saved” through politics! To which I agree! But one must ask the question for what end did Christ save us? Certainly he saves us from our sins and sanctifies us for an eternity spent with Him. Nevertheless we are not placed in this life to take up space, but to press His claims in every sphere of life. Politics is of importance because in this age it has become the chief battleground, the place of contest and the great engine of brutish state power. Our involvement in the body politic will be to make poltics of less import through limited government power, greater personal freedom and responsibility, and finally emphasis on family renewal in Christ. In the end we work for a world free from Caesar that we may be free in Christ!