Politics Is Not about Campaigning. It Is about Governing.

Excuse me for a minute while I get pedantic… and a little ranty.

Not too long ago, I was listening to a political podcast, and they starting talking about the difference between policy and politics. And they talked about it this way: they said that representatives needed to do the right thing—choose the right policy—regardless of how the politics would play out. They made it sound like governing was one thing and politics was another. They made it sound like the politics of a moment was about how things would play out in the media, on the campaign trail, and in the voting booth.

And that’s wrong.

It’s become a truism that the media cover politics like it’s a horserace. They act as though the biggest question around any policy work—from a speech to a vote—is how it will affect the next election. And our current political moment is one result of that. We have a president and a political party who seem wholly unconcerned with how their actions will affect people, and almost entirely concerned with whether those actions make them look like their winning. But government isn’t about winning… it’s about helping people.

Or, at least, it should be.

Politics is the work of figuring out how we will live together. That work—and the policies that it produces—should be the focus of political coverage. The horserace is fun. But our country will be better if people know how policies are enacted and how they affect real people, not just whether one candidate or another moved ahead in the polls.

Right now, there is a movement in churches and nonprofits arguing that charity is toxic, that helping hurts, and that the entire nonprofit sector needs to be reformed to truly lift people out of poverty. These charity skeptics are telling Christians that traditional charity deepens dependency, fosters a sense of entitlement, and erodes the work ethic of people who receive it. Charity skepticism is increasingly popular; and it is almost certainly wrong.

Now available from Wipf and Stock’s Cascade Books imprint, Radical Charity: How Generosity Can Save the World (And the Church) weaves together research and scholarship on topics as diverse as biblical scholarship, Christian history, economics, and behavioral psychology to tell a different story. In this story, charity is the heart of Christianity and one of the most effective ways that we can help people who are living in poverty. Charity—giving to people experiencing poverty without any expectation of return or reformation—can save the world and help make God’s vision for the church a reality.

Pin It on Pinterest