It's time for a Canadian election: enter the poorThis federal election has been called and Canadians will go to the polls on October 21. National political parties are already seeking to capture support from key demographics of Canadian voters. Christians are one of those demographics.

We, as followers of Jesus, provide a unique challenge to campaign strategists: the issues most important to us are things a party can’t even lie to us about valuing because to do so would gift the election to an opposing party. The only other way, then, to get our votes is to excite, outrage, or scare us about something else and then promise to do something about it

Enter the poor.

The poor make great fodder for election promise cannons. The direction of fire may vary but the target is the same. Some parties will make us feel sad because of what the poor need and then cheer us up by saying how they will finally give it to them. Others will make us feel mad about what the poor take from us and offer to deliver us through their solution to stop them. And still others will make us feel scared about what the poor might bring and assure us of protection by keeping them out. As always, the remedy for how a given political party has unsettled us is to vote for that party and then we’ll be free to resume living in the comfort of our marginalized spiritual lives.

The problem with all of this is that when we allow others to politicize us the Kingdom of God is hamstrung. When we’re off message the Gospel is not being shared in a way it can be heard by the lost souls of our land. When we take political sides our Spirit fuelled fellowship gives way to the divisions of small-talk debate. When we let the carefully crafted and directed social media shares of lobbyists sway us more than the teachings of Jesus, we become as useful as salt that has lost its saltiness.

Thankfully, there are no viable Christian parties in this year’s election because that is not how the kingdom of God comes. Our best hope to honour God in October is to carefully keep Jesus as Lord of our votes.

The Bible is very clear about God’s serious desire for compassion and justice for the poor. As election day approaches guard your heart and mind and soul from the distraction and intent of people who see the poor merely as a tool to reach their political aspirations.>

Rev James Snyder videoPastor Tim has retired from pastoring local churches and is now working alongside his wife to help refugees and persecuted Christians.

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