Life and Books and Everything
Life and Books and Everything

Episode · 1 year ago

Why Christians Should Be More Involved with Politics, with Jeff McAlvey

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode of Life and Books and Everything, Jeff McAlvey joins Kevin and Justin to discuss the Christian’s role in politics. Jeff worked closely with Michigan Governor John Engler in the 90s, oversaw the state appropriations process when Governor Engler was the Senate Majority Leader, and started a lobbying group after his time in Washington DC. Listen in as Kevin, Justin, and Jeff unravel some of the misconceptions around politics in America and offer advice on how church members can love their neighbors and be more politically involved in their local communities.


This episode of Life and Books and Everything is brought to you by Crossway. The Crossway book we want to highlight this week is, When the Stars Disappear: Help and Hope from Stories of Suffering in Scripture (Suffering and the Christian Life, Volume 1) by Mark Talbot. When the Starts Disappear engages the topic of suffering, not only through Reformed theological and philosophical insights but with profound biblical reflection and personal experience through the author himself. 

Book recommendations

Kevin:

God's Design for the Church: A Guide for African Pastors and Ministry Leaders by Conrad Mbewe 

Lost in Thought: The Hidden Pleasures of an Intellectual Life by Zena Hitz

Jesus and the Forces of Death: The Gospels' Portrayal of Ritual Impurity within First-Century Judaism by Matthew Thiessen

Ten Global Trends Every Smart Person Should Know: And Many Others You Will Find Interesting by Ronald Baily and Marian Tupy 

Justin:

What It Means to Be Human: The Case for the Body in Public Bioethics by O. Carter Snead

Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race by Thomas Chatterton Williams

Jeff:

Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray

Greetings and salutations welcome backto life and books and everything I'm Kennedy, young and good to be with youagain. Thanks for listening, I'm joined by Justin Taylor, Justin, Hello, R ranthe Acomplis Collin Hanson is not with us. He is in somewhere hearts unknown.I think he's administering the COHID test for Nicksaven. I think Um yeah. I think once once hegot the positive. He decided. Let's just give some people within the stateof Alabama, maybe somesome interns or something to wringup three negative tests, so so Calan wherever you are, we welcome you back,but we have a special guest who we'll introduce in just a moment, and I'mreally excited for this conversation. Want U say thank you as always tocrossway or sponsor they really do, publish great books and they care abouttheir authors. They care about the books that they publish they care aboutserving the church n. Now lots of ministries say that, and I bet a lot ofthem mean it, but I know that crossway really does and it really guides whatthey do and how they think about the books that they publish. Today. We wantto mention Mark Talbot, has a new book called when the stars disappear andit's about suffering and Justin. I know you no mark fairly well tell us alittle bit about mark and why he's uniquely qualified, perhaps to write abook like this yea mark is one of the godliest mosthelpful voices. That I know is a Christian philosopher at Weaton College.He he really integrates reform theology and philosophical analysis in his wholeteaching and Writing Ministry. So this is actually the first of four volumesthat he's doing on suffering in the Christian Life Um. It's not a majorpart of this volume, but mark himself as a a teenager fell from a fifty feetfrom Atarzan like robe and broke his neck, so he div H, deals with disability and hisown life profound suffering and offers hope for Christian. So here's a blurfrom Timoty Larson whis Collig at weat in college you're, a Christian who'sexperiencing suffering, or I, as weighed down by the suffering ofsomeone you love than this book, is for you. It offers profound biblicalreflections that do not dodge the hard questions or try to minimize thesometimes overpowering reality of pain and Lon. So if you want to read onsuffering from somebody I's, not just writing theoretically, but isprofoundly tethered to the scriptures, then I think this book might be for you.It's great. I wonder, Justin, here's a a publisher question for you. Peoplealways seems like they're they're, alwayscomeg out with new books on parenting, on prayer on suffering, maybe on marriage. Do you get a lot ofproposals in those genre and do you find that? Well, people want to writeon them because people always want to read on them, or is it actually hard tosell those kind of books? I think it depends on the author and ontheir platform in particular when something's been so well covered, butyou know somebody's becoming a parent as we speak, rightsomebody's gettingmarried as we are righ b t there's these. You know somebody suffering aswe speak. So there are these perennial things, whereas you now sometimes books can sell evenbetter. If it's some flashpoint thing, you know, if you're writing about thetwenty twenty election, I mean that could explode, but it's going to be forgottenby next year, other than for historical novelty purposes. So perinnial topic. Ithink, when you're writing on something that everybody else is writing on. Itbecomes a little bit harder just and...

...you forgot to say that there are peoplewho are crazy busy right now, who need to do just do something right now: Yeah, that is an emerging joke. Itsounds Lik an emerging okay. We have a special guest with us today, who's wellknown to me, probably not to most of everyone else, but you'll, be I I'mvery confident you'll be glad to hear from him and 's just getting to knowJustin here as well. Jeff mcalsi chef is a ruling elder at university,Reformed Church, the congregation IED the privilege of serving for thirteenyears, and now I'm very pleased that they're serve so well by my very goodfriend, Jason Hallopolis WHO's. The senior pastor there now jeff is with usto talk about Christianity and politics, or, more specifically, being aChristian in politics, and I'm going to ask Jeff to tell a little bit ofhistory an just a moment, but just to know why we would invite Jeff he's he.He is H. Well, he'd be the first to say: Hi. His wife is much better than he isespecially at following Jesus, but jeff follows Jesus and he's a tremendouselder. I know that from first hand, experience and loves people and lovesto be involved in people's lives and loves the church and as a goodchurchman and has spent his adult career in politics as a a seriousChristian and was I forget, Theac? Were you the legislative aid for GovernorEngler, Lodlep, Director Yeah Legislative Director? You were one ofthe the the key right hand, man for Governor Englar and now has been formany years a lobbyist that swampiest of swamp creatures a lobbyist. I'll. AskYou about that in a moment, but jeff so glad to have you here, thanks for beinghere, to talk about being a Christian in politics. So tell us about those twothings: How did you become a Christian and how did you get involved inpolitics? Ook Have Youve heard the stary before,but it it goes back to that wonderful wife ofmine, you talked about, came to Michigan State University H andwas smitten by a young lady who lived on the floor above me in the dorm beganto pursue her, and she said to me very plainly. I really like you, but Ibecame a Christian last year and I can't date you because you're, not aChristian. I thought I was and told her that andshe said well here's the phone number of of a friend of mine. If you call him-and he says I I'm OK to date- you than I will that turned out to be her pastor, Kevin's prodecessor Tom Stark and thatstarted time and I meeting we we met off and on mostly for twenty five yearsand sometime in the first year I came to understand the truth of the Gospeland that I needed to make a decision which I didto follow Christ at that point and when you were at Michigan State,were you studying politics? Did you think that's where you were headed? No,I was actually studying education. I was going to be a teacher and a coach,but I had always been involved in in campaigns and politics. I think Colintalked on your last potcast about H, moving from campaigns to Pulipolicywhil began in that spot and working in campaigns and loving that and h found.My first job was in politics. Instead of teaching the didn't happen to anyteaching jobs Wen, I graduated from Michigan State so that that brought me on a course and,as Colin said, I soon got tired of campaigns but found public policby. Wwas a lot more fun and a lot more significant yeah. I can't remember whatColin said. I know I you know some of this that I I when I went to HopeCollege. I studied political science at first and I got involved in...

...some campaigns actually in high schoolbefore that I won't get into that store and in college, and I thought realquickly. This is not for me it's for somebody and hopefully it's for somegood people. It was not for me. So what Jeff I I I promised that I wouldn't ask,and I'm not going to ask 'cause. We don't have you on here to talkpundatree or to talk partisan politics, but you K ow. So I'm not going to askyou about specifics, but feel free in telling your story to you need to talkabout people. You've worked with or things that you've done, that by allmeans, so just give us a little run down of what you have done in politics and whatyou do now- and I was joking but lobbyist is- I mean everyone knows. Lobbyists are horriblepeople and you're a lobbyist. So so tell m:What have you done and what do lobbyists do and how can you go tosleep at night? Thank you, Kevin for that. The opening I, as I said, I started out incampaigns. I actually took a year off of Michigan State to help run acongressional campaign Um that that individual one, we beat n a long timeincumbent. I thought that that was a signal that I should go to Washingtonand Um make a career out of politics. Myfather had other ideas about finishing my bachelor, so we did not do that andthat turned out to be a great blessing. I then went to work for a tradeassociation for a few years. Caralwhin I got married when we weretwenty as college students Um and had to get a job right away, then got ajob working for a Gentlemba, John Ingler who in Michigan was the Senate Majority Leader and after four years ran for governor in anmassive upset became governor. As you mentioned, I was his legislativedirector. I did that H for him for about seven years and then began alobby firm partially to be able to prove that you could be aChristian and and and be a lobbyist as well, which we started a firm and part of the the ethic of our firm or ou orecommitments that that underly. Everything else is that we don't takeany clients who we think would would be offensive to anything in the Gospel. Sowe don't reresent alcohol or tobacco, we're gambling or those sorts ofinterest. So what does then I'llet just and jump in what? What does a lobbyistdo? And I was just kidding 'cause. I know that I know your integrity, what you know,people here lobbyists and they think you know just having you know, threeMartini lunches or something and money is changing hands. But, as I understand it, bills and legislation would not happenwithout lobbyistss, some something of a middle man. So what what a you? Whatare you actually doing? T as a lobbyist, I'm building relationships M withlegislators, key bureaucrats keystaff in the governor's office and acting asan Intermedi? I know how to communicate with those foks my firm, the other lobbis,to my firm. We know how to communicate and what messages need to becommunicated. I would argue almost everyone has a lobbyist Um, there'ssome group that you belong to, that is represented by a lobbyist here, whetherit's in in Obvi, I just loy in Michigan the Michigan Leseer, but Michigan FarmBureau. So if you're a farmer, you have a lobbyist, if you're pro life, youhave right to life, is your lobbyist Um? If you UH southern Baptists, have a lobbyist, sosouthern Baptist ot in Michigan, but yeah? They certainly do in lots of ofgroups onthe that would be on the Progressiv site, have lobbyists to theLeague for public policy and other things like that. So almost every group and it's simply away to communicate.

I understand how the legsature worksand I try and take the the messages that they they might be frustrated withthe experiences they're having the statutes they're, causing them troubleand can help them figure out where they might need to go and communicate thatwell. One of my clients is the Salvation Army Um, which we we do in avery, very reduced rate, because I believe in their ministry, they'rewonderful at serving the poor and they run they. They actually oversee theentire homeless shelter program for the State of Michigan, their terriblecommunicators with state government, because but they're really really goodat serving the poor t, they run alcohol, N and Drug Rehadprograms that are marvelous, but they don't really know how to communicate.So I helpe them to do that. That would be one example. What is a legislative director do howmuch of that is devoted to crafting policy and how much of that is kind ofthe Horse Trading? Is the governor's office works with T E legislature? I it's really the role of being thegovernor's lobbyist. At least it was in this administration that I was part of,but I was also involved in crafting the policy thinking through what what thatwould look like, I would say Kevin would remember, buthe was probably in grade school, but there was a big issue about how schoolswere funded. I remember it very well. Yeah Yeah there was Ho schools werefunded, and so there was a sizmic change where we completely took it awayfrom property taxes at a local level and change. Tol schools were funded H,but much of that was then taking what the governor wanted to do and being hislobbyist in the ledstature talking about Um. What that, what that would mean try andto find the keyvotes understand what members would be concerned about whatissues and how we would move forward? Have you ever been tempted to go backto Washington to go to Washington for the first time I have not. I I getPatoma Chever just when I fly there. So I know I know my my own pride in egoand I know t that glancing is a very good place for me, so Potomac fever being you're drawn toit or you e, don't now I', I'm drown to it. I I think the the power in the thewhole atmosphere can can be intoxicating. So H when I was young,but as I mentioned Carrol, I got married very young. We had childrenvery young and so that that was never really an option anyway, trich and I decided to have kids veryyoung and have them very old. We just have hem for a really long time. Mywife's not old an well, and you have delightful children too. Well somethingErisand. I know all all. I know eight of the nine IAVE not made us ana yetbut thy'rethey're as delightful as your grandchildren, yeah they're, sort of Withe I was actually at the the doctor the other day and he was telling meabout how he has two kids and his brother doesn't have any kids and hethinks his brother's making a mistake, and he said you know my brother's beenmarried for number of years. His wife wants to have kids and he just can't doit, and I just told my brother, I said: Look Yo 're you're. Forty three now,can you imagine having a kid now that you're, forty, three and you're goingto be sixty when and Iwas sitting there? As he's, I don't know, cracking my backor something thinking, I'm forty, three you're don't appreciate the Yo nos telling meYeah T hi'm here Jeff, I wonder and again just speak: browly, not ase tname any specific examples, good or bad, but n, maybe DCS different than at astate level. But I wonder over your years of seeing the sausage making asit were, do you feel like most elected officials on either sideof the aisle ar the're? Even if you disagree with them, our basically goodpeople trying to make a difference, even if you think they're reallymistaken in their views or do you think...

...the whole thing looks corrupt rotten and you're dealing withall sorts of people that you barely can trust. That's a very good question Kivin and Ican say very clearly that the vast majority of people who become legislators are really decentpeople who really care about their communities and want to make adifference. That's true whether they come from theright or the left. They have completely different ideas about what that mightlook like, but they're they're, very good people and in Michigan we have avery extreme term limit. So if you're in the house, you can only serve sixyears, if he senate, you can only serve eight. So we see a lot of turnover. Youknow last time we there's a hundred and ten members. In the Michigan Housethere were forty, eight new members, a forty eight freshman out of a hundredand ten- and I can say, ninety percent of them are very good people, maybeeven higher than that who who desired, to do rights by their community M andcome here for the right reasons. Do you think that's different in Washington? I I don't know. I t the people I knowin Congress are pretty good people, whether they're, Republicans orDemocrats. I do think there's probably somethingabout when you get there for a long time that you may lose touch, but the folks I know in Congress. Even thefolks, I know, N Congress who've been there a long time from Michigan are,are still good people on both sides of the WHO who try and and serve theirconstituents. Well, so a question I had someone asked meyears ago who was thinking of going into politics? He he didn't, but he wasasking. Do you think, there's a limit as aserious Bible, believing Christian who wants to have the utmost of integrityin how he respects and honors other people? Is there a limit how high that personcan go in elected office? That is. Do you think that, for a Christian tomaintain his or her integrity, they just can't do some things can't reachsome places of power because it requires compromise at some level. I don't think so. I I do believe thatyou can. You can pursue public office with integrity. Idon't think it's any different than LE reaching the highest level of anyprofession Um. You know you could be in the corporate world and there aretemptations to cut corners or slander, someone or do other things Um, andthere are those temptations, but I I do think- and we've got examples of wewon't name. NAMESWE got examples of folks in Congress and other places whohave have maintained their commitment to the Gospel, AntoChrist and still served well. I do believe that it seems to be a timein the culture where your religious beliefs will be called more intoquestion than maybe even attackd by the other side, when you're, when you'reinvolved in campaigns or as we've seen in some hearings when you're involvedin in confirmation processes. So let me ask this, then we'll throw back toJustin but Jeff. What you've been doing this, for? I guess thirty years, maybemore what what has stayed the same in what seems different the mood. The waythings happen, the type of people involved in politics talked to wasabout the continuity and the discontinuity one of the biggest changes has come. Ithink in the the folks who serve from the Democratic Party when I first cameto work in the Michigan ledsature in the nineteen eighties about fortypercent of the Democrats in the house in the Senate, they were both in themajority were pro life...

...almost exclusively. They were Catholicsfrom traditional Catholic aries of Michigan Like Bay City or Michigan, Ror Meskiga or Um, or the MTRAMAGARIU Kevin T, whic Yo will know in theDetroit area Um. I don't believe that there is a pro life Democrat ineither,the House or the Senate today, Um and that's been a significant changethat on that issue, the life issue hasreally become much more partisan issue. Because of that that change that'staken place H, members have be goten gotten a lotyounger, that's probably because I don La older, but I also think becauseMichigan has this unique termilimits uh. If you know you can only have a sixyear career here, you're not going to give up. You know if you're, aChemistat, Dow chemical in midland you're, not going to give up yourcareer to go for six years. If you know it can't be a career, so we we have aspeaker of the House today, who's thirty three years old. He was thirtyone. When became speaker of the House. We have several. I know him. You doknow att of fact, Um. We we have several legislators who are in theearly twenties Um, so th there is a- and I don't know if that would be truein every state or whether if you could could still make a a a career of beinga legislator whetr that that is different. But it certainly is it's ayoung P, much more of a in Michigan, it's a young person's game and thosewho are at the end of their careers, who seem to more run for the led,slature, okay. So I'm followint with one question before I lied before Igive it to Te Justin Thereso. So so you said most of the people e are decent intrying to do their best. Even if you disagree with them, then you talkedabout that. The change in pro life and proabortion side of thing. So whatobviously your um pro life and that's really really, how many rialies can youput on there important? But you you talk often I imagine withpeople who are not and legislators who are not. Do you H, O, maybe you're not even trying toconvince them. But as you talk to people who you think they're Nice folks,they would be good neighbors and they don't agree on prelife. What why why? Why can't they be persuaded?What what are they not seeing or what aren't wehelping them see on an issue that seems so clear to people like us? Life begins a conception. Every life isprecious in the image of God, but even if you're, not a Christian, every humanperson has worth and dignity and ought to be protected. It seems to be the people like us, absolutely clearand absolutely essential, but it's not to others wha. What sort ofconversations do you have to try to make sense of that? Well, I think the bottom line Cevinwould be. When I worked for Governor Angla, we were trying to push through apiece of legislation that that we thought would limit abortion andwe're having a very difficult time- and I was talking to our our Maor R, ourGeneral Counselo thatpoint. She was a dear Catholic woman and she said JeffYour strategy's not going to work. You have to change hearts and that reallyis Kevin. The bottom line here right this is about hurts Um. I have somedear friends who are are pe abortion, including one of the folks who worksfor me who iam very fond of, and I have come to understand that they believevery deeply t about a women's woman's right tochoose and as I try and peer that back gently, I I I they they don't seem to. They don'tbelieve that a embryo aupetus is a human life. It's it's to me inconceivable. I don't understandhow you could could hold that position...

Um, but that's, I really do believe at it is theirhearts. Scripture would tell us they have scalls in front of their eyesright, yeah it. It really is just a complete blindspot mm Justin. I think one of the raps on Republicansis that they know that they have to be per life in order to get elected, butonce they are seated, then they don't really have a passion for Perlifeissues or or the will to past legislation. They just start usingevangelical or Conservative of Catholic voters in order to get elected. Do youthink that's a fair of criticism? Is there some truths with Om Gotn truththrough it or how do you think through that Justin? I don't. I don't know that.I know because Michigan there aren't many PR life issues left in the l forthe legislature to tackle we. This has been a pealife majority herefor a number of years and everything you can do under roby weiht has reallybeen done and they have not had trouble gettingthe votes. For that. I think there has been a move. Maybeone of the other changes. That's happened, at least in Michigan, I think,probably nationally. The Republican Party, which used to be accused ofbeing the the party that cared more about social issues than it did didabout. Other policy now seems to be one that cares moreaboutth'they'rethey're much more libertarian. They don't want to talkabout social issues anymore. They want to talk about economic issues and- andthe Democrats seem now much more to be engaged in social issues and want totalk about H, lgbd, lgb, Q, Isse to yrlike, sorry and and other issues like that. Sothere's been a a shift B, but I think that's almost a national movement ofRepublicans a way th. They just don't talk about social issues as muchanymore Justin. How did you I mean peoplelistes pot, cast? No, we we talk about the things that we're interested in andth the three of us. U N, Colin, are obviously interested in sports. Thatcomes up sometimes books, that's obvious, but we all have some interestin politics. How did you get interested in politics? Why do you care about thisJustin Yeah? I always had an interest growing up and my brother WHO's a yearand a half younger than I we would stay up at night. We we're in the same roomtogether and we would talk about what our plans would be when we run forpresident some day, a he's actually become a county supervisor and and runfor the Iowa House, although I have never had e political aspirationsbeyond the fifth grade, I did volunteer for my first campaign in middle school.An Irish Catholic Democrat and sucity was running for office and I sat thereand listened to ads on the radio a D and tried to transcribe themindifferent technology days back then so I just always had an interest it hiswatching things and and was a Democrat and was pro choice at that time and asI I came to Christ and Maturd an Christ, I I shifted positions and shifted theway I viewe politics, but it was from an early age. I think from my my dadwho was a Democrat and still a life, long casionate, Democrat and H. I Ithink I inherited that in early ages- probably most kids do you, you inherited being a lifelongDemocrat. Do you ant leave t that out there just no? I did I inherited beinga Democrat, and you know following the policies that he had and remember, going to see the the vicepresidential debate when the famous line was uttered ittheinqual and was that in Iowa that debate? No, itwas an Omaha. So we drove down ohwill you Jo, and you were there in theaudience. We were in a an auditorium next door to the debatehall and then Lloyd, Benson came...

...through and was treated like a rockstar and it was like the greatest pice presidential debate and history. If youwere a Democrat, so that was my early interest, I did not become a lifelong pro abortion proponent, but as per youryour blog from a week or two ago, which is getting a lot of traction. Well,maybe we'll get into that later, just in C Kevin Can I ask you: Yeah Yeah onI've had some discussions in the past couple of years about maybe the mistake that my generationmade, or maybe it's not a mistake, but that that we were fighting a culturewar um and that that that seems to have gone away. As we tried to hold off uh gambling and in legislate morality, the other sidewould say- and you seeme to think that that was thathad come to an end and that your generation and thegenerations underneath you and Justin was moving in te different direction.Where how do you see that move forward for Christian leadership who still wantto have an effect on these sorts of issues? It's a really good question.Let Justin follow up Fror, my answer, because I I think it's a it's a majorissue, even within the Church h within churches that have the same theology,even within churches that Thay basically have the same sort ofpolitical makeup. There is a generational difference, obviously T if we're generalizing butsort of fifties and over baby boomers. The very youngest baby boomers in andup, I think in some ways it's a sense of losing evangelical Christendom, a senseof what the country was, or at least was for for White Christians Ha's always been aa different story for minorities, and so I think, there's there's some ofthat. Twerewe're losing our country and every election therefore, is the mostimportant election of our lifetimes. I think that sort of way of approaching things right orwrong is very distasteful, or maybe it just doesn'teven make sense for for younger generations o feel like well wh,whoever promised that it was going to be a Christian country or w whoeverpromised in- and this is just making my work harder or my church harder, a aconstant attitude of pugilism that that would be the critique, I think, fromyounger generations, with a a culture war, mind set and who want O say, lookwe're we're tired of that and and white conservative Christians havebeen too aligned with the Republican Party and there's fair critiques there.But as you and I have talked before so just in our millennial are notmillennials were Genx, and then you go to Millenios and now even Genz UH. Theythey gev some things right, perhaps in wanting to love neighbor and notwanting to be overly associate with one party, but they get some things wrongand I think one of the things they get wrong is to think you know what knowwhat the opposite of Cultural Christendom. It's not. We alljust love each other and Siing Cumbaya, and isn't this wonderful that we havethe the religious right out of the way and now we can just get along with eachother that that's not the opposite, or you know one time, someone that I knowand like had written something about my age person written about how we're twointo electorol politics, and these things don't really matter- and I saidI'll just give you one example, and at that time you know I was serfing on theeast, Lancing Public School Sex, education committee and t the law inMichigan is tos change. was you had to have a clergy representative on thereand the law in Michigan was that you...

...needed to have abstinence base sexeducation? I said You K W when the legislator Flit Legislat your flips,that's probably going to be changed, and I said that's just one smallexample that at least I have something to sort of hold onto with my kids atthe time in in public school. To say this is what the LAS says we shouldhave. So I think, there's a naivete among younger generations who want tojust wash their hands of the the filthiness of all of this politicaltalk and we've certainly seen you know some bad examples of of Christians andpastors and churchleaders who become so aligned with one party that it becomesr.That's always the danger when you align your hopes and dreams with a party, letalone a person. You Rise and fall with that party ind. That person and the church needs to transcend that on'to just W. We've talked about this before. How do you size it up? Yeah, I I mean I agree with you.Analysis Kevin and I think that to some degree it's that nobody likes to be a loser and on theconservative side you know, we've we've been promised like. If we electRepublicans, we're going to be wee, can have a strong military and we're Gointo have great foreign policy and we've seen the kind of disasters ofinterventionism we've been promised. If we'd just get a Republican president,they will appoint a conservative Supreme Court. Justice and Rovy Wadewill be overturned, and you know decades later that still hasn'thappened. Nobody likes to be painted as a big andwe've. We've lost the war in terms of the or the bat on terms lgbq and then oneconomics. You know if, if we kind of get someone in there who has reganomicsas their economic policy, everything will go better and I think a lot ofpeople are looking around and saying th. This isn't going as well and also thethe perception that we're just fighting for one or two issues, an ignoringother aspects of life. I think all of those have been problematic for youngervoters who, who tend not to think historically think in the moment.You know what does this feel like? What's the perception Um and then thepeople who tend to really be in the Culture Wer Act like warriors N W, theytalk loudly, they H, they want to win it all costs. So even for those of uswho feel like some of these issues are really worth fighting for and that weshould not have politics and religion completely sealed in absolutelydifferent categories. Sometimes we cringe at those who represent that particularside, not only in terms of tone but in terms of strategy and and how they'regoing about their tactics, and I think the the the promise of politics in a good wayand the the temptation of politics in a bad way is that there is a mechanism toaccomplish something. So if you look- and you have three hundred and twentymillion people- and you wish that our country viewed things differently on abortionor gay marriage, you OK H h. How do we, how do we change hearts and minds? Well,we want to do that. We want to preach the Gospel and we want to haveinstitutions, that's a very long game and you may not get anywhere. You haveso many things outside of your control. You'll just see, but you can see a atleast a path. We could really try to do something inthe next two years or four years or six years, and we can get the rightcandidate and we can knock on the doors and we can get the right. Add Oft. Imean there's a path to try to make, like you said, to try to have a win in a cultural environment. On thesesocial issues at least abortions may be a little different, but most of thesocial issues feels like we're just...

...losing and if you can have an electoral win in the midst of so many cultural losses,then why not try for that An- and Iunderstand that- and I don't think it's I think, if Christians, if everyChristian today said you know what I wash my hands to the culture war and Idon't belong to any political party- and I just am walking away from all ofthis to maintain my witness for Christ. I don't think that makes the countrybetter. I don't think it makes Church ministry easier, but there arecertainly a number of mistakes that any of us can make in maintaining political allegiances morestrongly than Christian allegiances in being more dogmatic about prudentialpolitical matters than we are about the articles of the faith and we end upwith well, it's idolatry, I wonder Jeff, do you think? Maybe it's posing it as abinary when it's probably not do you think, do you wish most Christians weremore engaged and more informed on politics, or do you do you feel likehey a lot of the Christians? You know you want to tell them Um just relax andspend some time with your grandkids and find a new hobby. I I wish that we're more engaged. Ithink we all have an obligation to be more engaged to understand the issues which are far more complex than U media would would portray it incertainly more complex than you might find. I in the social media sound biteabout something ther ere important issues that thatneed to have a Christian viewpoint. Legislators need hear from Christians in in their district who docare by the issues and can articulate it their position and their concerns ortheir support, hopefully without anger, with with loveas the Gospel would would advise that we would communicate things, so I wouldhope that they would not that they would be more involved. Iunderstand the temptation to just wash your hands and say this is dirtybusiness and this is frustrating and a pox on all otheir houses Um, but, but Ido think it is. It is important that we as Christians, be involved. Thatdoesn't mean you have to run for office, but you ought to get to know yourcandidates. You ought to get to know your local legislator or city councilperson or township trusty and, as you did Kevin I was. I was soimpressed with what you were willing to do any slancing by getting involved inthat that the issue of sexul sex and what that would look like t at wasn'teasy. It wasn't fun it Wasout bthose. Those are issues that we do need to getinvolved in and therethere are some issues we we we, who sort of led theculture war Um failed on that now the church has to do with you know inMichigan. Gay Marriage obviously is legalnationally, but we now have legal Marimona and we have M. I don't knowtwenty nine casinos, so those are issues that those are things that now become issuesthat pastors and elders have to deal with, because they will have detrimental effects inthe cargation Jeff. If I want to influence mylegislator, I have an opinion on something and he or she sees thingsdifferently. What's the most effective way to do that, I I've always felt likeyou know they say, call you're the legisator and it it feels like it'sjust going to be a pointless exercise. I'm going to talk to some staffer who's,just Gointa, give me a boilet play to answer and hang up and it's not goingto affect anything. Are there some strategies or some things that weshould know if we're outside politics, when we want to influence ourlegislators with Christian perspective?...

Well, obviously, the closer they are toyou, the easier it is so township trustees and city council people andCounty Commissioners are easier to build relationships with than acigressman and your right, an email to a congressman, probably s going to endup being read by staff. So, but there are opportunities thee. Thereare office hours that many state legislators would hold an and I'm often told by LEB SAS how poorlyattended those are. So so you know certain lose say, I'm going to be it ata coffee shop for an hour and they'll get two or three people. There's awonderful opportunity to come in and engage on a Dialogu. Introduce yourselftell hem a little bit about who you are and the issues that are important to youand begin that discussion. If you treat them respectfully. Even if you disagree, you'll besurprised at at the kind of relationship. You can build m that thelesson of my being here and I'm a Republican. I was a Republican. I'vebeen nonpartisan, but you can't get that ar tattooed off O my forehead.It's you know, unch you're, you're identified that way. You still are, butmany of my dearest friends are Democrats and we disagree on almostevery issue, but we've been able to get a dialogue on some issues that we'vebeen able to make progress on what we did on school finances. I mentioned when Kevinwas a young man was done because of great relationships. We had betweenRepublicans and Democrats and could work together and how do you get peoplegets? Maybe not the right word 'cause. So much. What you're saying Jeff isit's a relationship business and I imagine some people are really good atpolitics because they know how to Schmooze and they know how to gladhandpeople, but you wantto have real relationships. Sohow do you walk that fine line? You really want Ta love people care forpeople, even if they disagree with you, but you're also trying to get somethingdone. So how do? How do you build relationships in an authentic way? Thatdoesn't just feel like I'm trying to have a relationship, so I can getsomething from you. Well, I do it um by I try and askmyself almost every day ar the conversations I have are therelationships that I interacted in today. Are they pleasing to the Lord WoLd? Did they serve to promote the Gospel, even if they were 't a Gosppelconversation? And I I think all of us need to ask that question. Did we treatpeople with respect even as we disagreed with them, but W Ddid we stand up for righteousness Um while we're doing that as well, so muchof it is treating people with respect listening to them and caring about themUm. I always thought lobbying is a lot like building arelationship that you would do if you're trying to share Christ right.You want to get to know them. You want to understand who they are what'simportant to them and that's part of what I do here. I wantto know about people's families. I want to know why do they feel so stronglyabout this or why did they decide to give up what they were doing and cometo to lancing and work, and that same was true of young staffers? Why d youdecide to be involved in politics or how did you get this job and as Idisagree, it's it's a struggle for me 'cause. I can be a passionate person asI disagree with with a Lebisater who might not see my point of view. It II'm trying to be forceful, but also respectful in in honoring of their position, is, I think, it'sit's very clear in Roman thirteen and firstpeed or two that we are supposedto honor those who are officials in our government. So I try and and do that inthe way that I relate to them as well. Have you ever been tempted at variouspoints, to think I'm in the room with really important people- or I have Idon't know if YOUV had cell phones back then to have the governor on your cellphone and and what was that like for Carol Who's? You know, as kind andloving as a person can be and doesn't...

...strike me as being a political animal,but probably had to go with you to fancy shindigs and make small talk, andsometimes people paid attention to her, and sometimes they overlooked her. How did you find that, for you and yourwife dealing with Qote unquote important people? It was a struggle for my ego ind. My pride at some point. That'sultimately why I left Um the governor's office. I still loved what I was doing,but I became convinced through prayer andtalking to some of my brothers, who I held dear, that it was becoming tooimportant to me and I needed to let that go um. It was. It was very hard for carrol and some ofthose instances 'cause. She doesn't have a lot of political interest andthere were sometimes, as you said, when people were very kind to her, andsometimes when people ignored her, we tried to pray before every one of thosethat that we would be Um Lights for Christ, where we went and what we did.We are very fortunate to have a group of people who were praying for us. When I went into the governor's office,there was an elder in the church who committed to me that he would pray forme on a regular basis that that I would have a strong witness in what I wasdoing and I I don't think you culd overestimate howimportant that is, and it was never the most important thing to me. What whatwe were doing at university reform church was always more important andthose were always my friends h that that on weekends I spent time with Ididn't- live the political life as many people did, and I think that was thatwas he balance that I needed to have, and then I started every day withscripture Um that that I was trying to soak myself nin the word before I I went into that that job but B, which we ought to do nomatter what our job is right. Yeah, that's really good, just go back to one other thing. Part of what makes politics sow combustible in this country is we have,for all intents and purposes, a two party system, it's different in someplace like the UK. It's not just the Tories and laborer but live Dems, orthey had you kip. I don't know how there's very much of that around orScottish nationalists and and because the abortion issue, at least my friendsin the UK, say it's just not it's just gone. I mean it's just you're you're lucky to find anyone who's going topublicly aligne with a pro life position, even though Rovee Wade givesto the United States much more liberal abortion laws, but just public opinionand the political mood is very different, and so you know tit's onething they always say when I go to t UK. Is it just you find people in in thechurches who aline with all sorts of parties a not just two of them, and sothat makes it very difficult in the United States at times 'cause it. Itfeels like every election is a binary choice and you're this team or you'rethat team Yo of that Jersey or that Jersey. So my one punditary question: I do you think it's ever possible thatthere's a viable third party, or do you see on the other side of trump, whetherit's now or in four years, and whether people love it or not, that H, partiesrealign and R or do you think yea for the rest of your lifetime? It's theelephants and the the donkeys ruling the day. I I don't. I don't pretend tobe a great m pundent on this, but I I do believe at we have a two partysystem. You know if you'l well, you guys werepuppies back then, but in nineteen n eighty eight Rosparou ran and he spenta lot of money and he ginty two. I wasn't ninety two, I'm sorry you'reright, igt yeah, Ewere proppes, but we were paying attention yeah. Well, I wasactually at the debate where Reahara was so. I I sh what year that was, butI was raising children and you tend to forget thing: Yeah when you're raisinga bunch of kids but m. You know he...

...spent lots of money and and really hadUm. You know we got eighteen percent of theboat, maybe maybe it wasn't even that high um but um. So I just don't thinkthat that's a possibility going forward and I do think that parties and thingschange faster than you think, N, nine Hutden and seventy six. When JimmyCarter won and the Republicans were in disarray. There was really a thoughthere that this party, the Republican Party, will be down for a decade andobviously O no. The Reagan Revolution started four years later Um. You know this, this, the same country,that elected Barak, Obama in two thousand and eight is it's time forchange, and there was rejoicing across the country eight years later elected someone completely opposite. SoI e it any any prediction that this would be.The end of the Republican Party. Um is probably premature, but I will tell yousomeone who knows the Republican Party. It's it's in disarray, and this hasbeen a president who has not valued building party structure is m. most have so. It willbe interesting to see what happens when his time is. The particular head of theParty is over. If I have a quook question for you hat,would you say to the evangilical person who watches Fox News every night and is kind ofinvested in Um, the INS and outs of daily politics? And you know the latestheadline m: They will vote every election. Theymight get into a a tuter, a facebook war with a family member who disagrees,but they don't do anything in terms of local politics. Why do you think thatis that we're? We tend to be more interested in national politics thanlocal politics, and we think that no getting on social media or watching thenews is politcal involvement. Would you give any counsel to somebody whooperates long? Those lines? I do think it's important to beinvolved. It's probably easier. Just to Oppine, we haven't even talked aboutsocial media and what effect that has had, and we we could spend a whole hourtalking about that Um, but you can make more of adifference, as I've said before, in local politics and as a Christian, I would urge urgefolks to do that, get to know who your local elected folks are. There they'reinterested in in meeting you more interested than you'd think, even ifthey disagree with you and try and build a relationship thereand then pray for your those in government as scripture tells us topray, especially for Christian politicians that they would take seriously theirpersonal, holiness h. These are jobs that are full of temptations and I've.Seen too many Christians fall in that Um. I I heard you talk on your podcastlast week about leaders who have fallen. It happens too often here as well that people run on an agenda of coming hereto to change things and they run on their faith. But seemingly, when they get here,personal holiness is is not a priority to them. So when you're, when you're looking atcandidates tryand determine that, if, if they're a Christian, what what'sthat mean to them and how do? How does that impact their daily life, but alsopray for those who are here that they would be faithful? And there are manyfaithful believers who are in politics, Eres, a abible study here and Lancingof legislators, and I know that there is good fellowship and in study thatgoes on amongst them. Um,...

...but don't forget local politicians,they're important and they're, going to rise up an that tends to be the the training grounds where folks, whoend up in the statehouse and the state Senate and then in Congress, come fromas well last question and then we'll talk aboutsome books or see. If you have ask question just in, but I imagine jeffthat a lot of people who listen to this podcast are: that's probably a number of Christianleaders and pastors. So let's just think what word would you give topastors and don't use your your this previous pastor as a good orbad example? But what advice would you give to a pastor as he relates andleaves his congregation and relates to politics g? Give us both some good andbad. What would you hope a pastor wouldn't do under this whole topic inleading a flock in what do you hope he would do? I hope H as my dear pastor, KevendyYoung, taught me and his thirteen years here, that we always look to thescriptures. That's where our answer comes from. Um therethere has been, Ithink, Justin alluded to it earlier. There has been at least a strain of Christianity,where there is a connection between being a Christian means being anAmerican and being a Republican, and I don't. I don't think that does US Oerthe Gospel any service, so Prachs the Gospel and talk about what the Gospel saysabout how we are to act as citizens in a democracy. There are issues where I do believe pastors do need to speak.Abortion would be one of those where you need to not be afraid to speak Um, but but don't swerve off your course ofpreaching what the Lord has called and put onyour heart to Preac for the book that you're preaching through to to go intoa special area that you think needs to be be addressed at that point, and I wouldcertainly hope that they would not get into to partisanship and Um th. Thatcan be very dangerous and devisive, and it is our hope that many would come toknow. Christ is their Lord and I pray frequently that many of those will beDemocrats t at the Lord will work n and bring revival among Um his church andmany of the folks who come in the doorpeople who who are Democrats yeah. I mean that that's really goodand I try to mean, as someone who's interested, I feel like it's a blessingand a curse to be interested. Sometimes I I uh envy my brothers and ministry who don't pay any attention to social media.Don't don't you know they're going Na vote R, but they just they're not intoit, and I think that seems sometimes healthier and simpler. Of course we'vebeen talking about. That's not always the answer, so I feel like. Sometimes Iwish I weren't as interested but yo. I have been for a long time, and so Ithink of that sort of word, Jeff and, and I think any pastor listening outthere. I think you, but myself here, need to examine your own heart is rightnow compared to politics compared to this coming election. Is The Gospelmore interesting, more important, more eternal, all three of those 'cause pasitors aregoing to say, of course, it's more eternal and I the cosmace sense moreimportant, so it maybe even the first. Is it more interesting to you? We don't want passers getting kind obored with Christologies suteriology exajesas, another expositional sermon.What I'm really into this week is what's going on in the political sphere,that's a danger and it does not serve a local congregation when a pastor, H,you'll be interested in it, be be informed, but the most important thingyou need to do this week is to feed the...

...flock with the word of God, and youneed to find your soul happy and Jesus and communicate that just in any last question before wejust rap up with a few books and o ready to move onto the books, no no particular category but Justinand Jeff. If you have anything just this is life and books and everythingwe've done life and everything. So here're some books, so I just grabbed afew that I've finished recently. I don't know why I'm holding them upbecause you can see it, but our listeners can't conrade in Baway is anew book, God's design for the Church published by Crossway Aguide forAfrican pastors and Ministry leaders. I did a ABLURB for that. I seejustin itdidn't make the back marked Evers did but well it's a very good book and eventhough it's says a guy for African pastors it any pastor can benefit fromthis, and Conrad is one of my favorite preachers and he's a delightful personwe had him at our church to preach was that this year it seemes like alifetime ago that people were coming from other continents to to visit andhad him over for dinner, and I m I'm excited for this book. Another bookthat's been getting some attention published by Princeton Press. It'scalled lost in thought. The hidden pleasures of an intellectual life byZena hits. Have you seen this Justin? It's very it's a very good book. Itit's well written. She tells a lot of her personal story in the beginning andthen the rest kind of moves through literature and Philosophy, and it's I mean it's part it in understanding of why the academiclife matters, but more than that, it's it's not just really for academics,it's about the value in thinking and the life of the mind and that it's notjust for academics. In fact, it's better when it's for all sorts ofpeople and to find beauty and pleasure in it. She's UH, writing from a a sort of a Catholic perspective comesthrough at times, and let me mention two other books: Matthew Tsin has abook: The Baker, Publich Jesus and the forces of death, the gospels portrayalof ritual and purity within firs century Judaism, really fascinatingbook. I don't think I agree with every lastargument in it, but the basic argument is: We have too quickly dismissed Jesus encounters with ritual impurityand have made him out to be like one of us and just didn't really care aboutthat Jewish category when he goes through case aftercase leprosy death sacred time, and he shows how thiscategory of ritual impurity was hugely important for century Judaism and farfrom Jesus just saying you know we don't care about that anymore. Heactually presented himself as the one who healed those impurities and was akind of healing contagion such that. If the woman with the bloody issue eventouched him, his force of healing was stronger thanher power of ritual pollution and it it's it's a quick read for an academicbook and I I've found it provocative and then last book by Ronald Baley and Marion Tupy tuppy ten global trends, everysmart person should know and many others who will find interesting. It's o the Genre of factfulness, whichcame out a couple of years ago, it's kind of a coffee table book. Iwish it was a little bigger and it's actual physical size, because the printcan be hard to read, but it actually doesn't have ten global trends. That'sa just a a seller for the book. It has, I think, seventy eight...

I mentioned several of them actuallycame up in my sermon this week, as I was preaching on Genesis, four aboutthe culture of can and how we see in the line of can great cultural andcivilizational accomplishment by God's Common Grace, but ultimately it's emptywithout true worship, and so I was, I use some of these trends to show andremind us that, in the midst of a constant barage of bad news, we canfeel like we must live in the worst possible times when actuallyobjectively, we live in the the most prosperoushealthiest. U Most profitable advance time by far, and so this book has all sortsof statistics about income in how literacy in eighteen twenty globalliteracy was ten percent. Now it's ninety percent ow those living inextreme poverty two hundred years ago, was eighty four percent of thepopulation. Now it's under ten percent, how global wealth, Pergd Percapita, ifyou plotted it on a line from the time of Christ, to t the nineteenth centurywould be almost a completely flat line and then, in the last hundred and fiftyyear, almost a straight hockeystick going up that that's how much wealth has been created in the world.So it's a it's a fascinating book. You can put it on your coffee table andflip through and convince people that you're one of the smart persons whoknows these trends. One of the fun things about Rosling'sbook is that he developed a survey. The factfulness book, in which he wouldhave a group of monkeys, press buttons to try to determine the answers, andthen he would compare that to various democraphics of people thinking thesame quiz, so the monkeys actually did about as as well or maybe even betterthan journalists. When you ask them about the global poverty, raids andhoely young girls are not being educated these days. So, even if you'rea journalist and should be in the noyou might not do better than a monkey interms of those little friends, so just in any books you've been into latelythat you want to mention yeah, I next time. Let's let me go first and thenyou can go afterwards, because you always see e, like somebody seems likethey don't read anything following Kevin Di Young who reads a Bat Day. Itseems, but two that are on my proverbial night stand one. I justreceived this weekend: Um O Carter seed, who is at noderdame what it means to behuman. The case for the body in public bioethics, UM, Roman Catholic author, obviously, buthe is making the argument that public policy in terms of bioethics has a lotto do with your definition of of who a human beingis, and if you have a the assumption of expressiveindividualism that what really matters is your freedom and your authenticityand o treating the human being as a disembodied will where, where will andexpression, are everything that has profound effects on what we think aboutabortion and on Euthenisia and other things M nd. So he's arguing that weare embodied people and there's natural limits to the human body, and thatmakes us vulnerable and it makes us dependent upon other human beings, and I'm just you know, introduction in thefirst chapter into it. I't really get like areally strong book. Another one, quitedifferent, listening to t on audible is by Thomas Chetterton Williams. I thinkit came out last year, self portrait in Black and White Family Fatherhood andrethinking race and Williams is an American who lives in France married a a woman from Peris. Hisfather is African American and his mother is Caucasian. Several years agohe wrote a piece for New York Times uphead or New Yorker. I can't rememberwhich saying that when he has his own...

...child, he will consider that child, nomatter what it looks like to be African American, then he had his first child, who isblondhaired, curly, blond, hair, bright blue eyes, UM, white, skin and just t.The whole thing is sort of a memoir of reflections on himself as a father, hisown family, and arguing that the idea of kind of strict racialcatagorizations just does not make sense in the modern world so frettingfrom a liberal perspective, but I think also challenging a lot of H, popularconceptions on race so halfway through that and finding it interesting andprovocative, and somebody who all of my my wife and ourchildren are adopted and a mixture of various races, it'sinteresting to think about what it means for Raice, ing the Modern WorldHe's a very thoughtful reflective reader and writer. So yeah I like him.I haven't read that yet jef any books, um well ainol books, politics, books,anything you're. Reading that you think would be worth mentioning. I was challenged by a previous pasture ofmine to have a dear dead friends that you read H, you worded it better than that Keavin,but so I've always been a fan of Andrew Muray and I am reading through hisabsolute surrender right now, which is a challenging last night. Itwas that concept of dying to self. So I'm trying to think through that, but also reading lots of novels and otherfun things too. It's Good Jeff! Thank you so much for taking time o all yourpolitical Machinatians to be with us you're, one of the the good guys andone of my dear friends. So thank you for being here with us and Justin gladthat you could get to meet Jeff and vice versa. Jeffy man. I know thatJustin is a big Tin Fan. Nebraska, corn, Husker whos UNFORTEALAER. All of usyeah play Ohio stat a now. What I saw yes Spega yeatbeen Wisconsin after that,so the big ten is h, putting it to Nebraska for her yeah they're,punishing e M weare at Kevin, and I are Mishiganstate fans, and so we start with rockers, which was: Is it hopefully anice gift, a softball for our new coach? But then we have Michigan right awaytoo so, but it is exciting in the midst of all this to have some normalicy withwith big tent footmell starting yeah, the third game of the season. We playthe eighty five beer, so very good. All Right! Well, thank youmin and look forward to having Collin back next week, and I believe we haveanother yest to talk about his book and well Yo Hant to come back and find outwho that is so until then or if I got, and enjoy him forever and read a goodbook.

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