Frustration With The Lack of Ability to Make Changes

The recent 2008 Canadian General Election was a fiasco (my perspective). I simply do not see the benefit of electing a Conservative government, a minority or a majority. I am a former conservative for a reason. It implies resistance to change, even by its very name. If anyone should be open to change and willing to embrace it, it is a Christian. God is constantly on the move and as the various streams of His Spirit converge in society, you see God impacting people in the most wonderful and also some of the wildest and unheard of ways. The Scriptures declare the words of God that echo in the very inner chamber of my heart:

Isaiah 55:
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

So many people place their hopes in leaders and governments and in a Western democracy, we place our hopes in our nations democratic institutions including the political process, that at the end of the day, at least here in Canada, has made it very difficult for various parties and competing ideologies to put down their agendas and work to the benefit of all. Canada has had the benefit of a social democrat history that has seen that movement have not just a provincial impact, but a national one as well, that by the early 1960’s, evolved into a national healthcare program. That movement had strong Christian roots, which have now eroded, as the current expression of that national party, embraces social programs and ideology that would make most Evangelical Christians cringe. Everything from same sex marriage, to the state taking care of the poor and the rich, high taxes, government run insurance (auto), and government run healthcare (more than we have already), as well as government run daycare, to a very scary left wing view of protect the environment.

I always had a soft spot in my heart, and a healthy respect for the social democrats (the New Democratic Party in Canada), but their espousing of same sex marriage, which undermines the historical understanding of marriage and family, put it over the top for me. I could never in good conscience support such a party, even though their positions of poverty, the eradication of Third World debt, and protecting universal national healthcare, are all issues that matter to me. So I have remained distant in my support of this party and its ideology. I believe if Tommy Douglas, the founder of the movement, and a former Baptist minister, were alive today, he would cringe at what the NDP has become.

This leads many to just wonder what impact they can have in their communities, not just at election time. I have come to the conclusion that no matter what your view is on politics (I could talk about that all day) and the competing ideologies that strive for our votes, our money, our participation and our allegiance, there is a greater issue at hand for Christians. That issue is how do we deal with the frustrations in our communities, where we live, work, and play, concerning all the social ills and the problems that our families, friends and neighbours are facing. All citizens are facing uncertain economic times, the penny pinching, the weighing of an unclear future horizon, and increasing costs to living and breathing, and making a brighter day for our children and our children’s children. Does the mere particpation in the electoral process bring about change? I don’t believe in such naivete any more. My idealism in thinking that somehow a strong national leader can forge a way ahead in the confusing morass that is contemporary culture is just delusion.

In a Postmodern world there is need for conversation, which implies the need to listen, and to really hear what others have to say about the issues we are facing. As Christians, we have the ultimate guide, in the living presence of Christ within our hearts, renewing our minds, and conforming our minds to His, and transforming our lives by His Spirit, and the water of His Word. We are given the gift of understanding and wisdom and discernment and compassion, if we choose to embrace these gifts from Him. If we are to move and touch and impact the world around us, it will require genuine conversation, and time spent with others, who will be radically different than ourselves.

I am always amazed at how Bono from U2 always rubs shoulders with political power brokers who are polls apart in ideology, but it is Bono’s mission (missio Dei) that drives and moves him to interact with people who would otherwise make him cringe! He has placed and prioritized that divine mission of helping the poor ahead of his own feelings about dealings with others. Bono is a man of conviction, passion, and deep rooted faith in Christ, and his place in popular culture is now an asset, rather than a liability, in addressing social justice issues that Bono believes God is concerned about. If he can lead by example and influence others, fans and others, that this is what it means to be a caring human being, and even more so, a concerned Christian, then he is going to use his place in the culture, to compel others to consider what it means to help others. He is moved by such compassion that he cannot help himself. Oh God, I want that kind of heart! (my prayer).

lur=”try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}” href=””>Perhaps it takes Bono, to give us an live action representation of what it means to build bridges across a wider spectrum than the world according to our own views, understanding and the fabrications of our own minds. When we look at people who have little to nothing to call their own, lousy employment (if they even have a job), poor housing (if they are not already homeless), and little to no education, who are we to grumble about the political outcome of a general election?

The sad reality today, three days removed from the poorest voter turnout in Canadian history (since 1867) in which some 41% of registered voters (over 10 million) refused to vote, and the result was a third straight minority government, is that the spending of 300 million Canadian dollars could have been much better spent on the very social ills plaguing our nation instead of this assinine election!

The election did not have to called. The poor and the homeless are here in great numbers, and the food banks have increased, and yet we re-elected a government that has already spent over 18 BILLION Canadian dollars in a foreign war that was not of our own making (the cost aparently is closer to 28 billion)! Can you imagine what that kind of money could have done to eradicate social injustice, poverty, economic disparity, education for all, housing, retraining, more doctors for the regions in need of family physicians? Over 18 billion! And we had the gall to re-elect this government!!! I refused to vote for the simple reason that the Canadian democratic system does not work, and I refuse to participate in giving my assent to a party, when my vote means nothing and does not give me any meaningful way to participate in the process afterward. Herein lies the problem, and that is, electing parties to power who then lack the will and the ability to make concrete changes in society.

In recent days, my anger and frustration soared through the roof, and at the same time I have felt the hand of God upon me, causing me to become still, and to realize that my ways are not His ways, and my thoughts are not His thoughts. I have come to realize even more, today, that God is sovereign, and that my voting changes nothing. I can get some personal sense of satisfaction that I have participated in the process, but that really means nothing. I can feel the same satisfaction in praying for the will of God to be done in and through the process and coming alongside Him for His purposes to be done in my country.

But it means more than that. I believe that much of the frustration that Christians are feeling, including myself, is not our own. It is a holy disatisfaction with the order of the day, the status quo of what is the state of our country, and the raw disatisfaction I am feeling, is a God thing, where God is reminding me that voting is not going to fix our nation. Prayer and engagement with God and our society is going to bring about change. It will mean engaging with our neighbours, and to cease from viewing and using our homes are used as castles of refuge instead of lighthouses or MASH units for those who are hurting and in need in the streets where we live.

I live on a street with 250 houses, and know five people on my street and the others are strangers. The neighbours are polite and very nice, but have their own busy world they live in, and the problem is, that we, in the midst of that many people, all live in isolation from one another. I need to begin to engage, to converse, to dialog, to begin to build friendship, and then see how God aleviates that frustration, by showing me His hand at work in the lives of others, and how He wants all of us who belong to Him to become agents of His grace. This is where we will begin to see the “divine ability” move and do things that removes frustration and brings hope.

And perhaps this is what this election process was all about, at least for me. It is all about, engaging at a deeper level, where I work, where I live, where I play. If I want more friends, I must become friendlier, and open to friendship. If I want conversation, I must engage in dialog, and spend time with others, and listen more than talking. I must quiet my heart, and let the Spirit bring about understanding and compassion. Then I must ask the Lord, what He would have me do to impact one life for Him. I know this works. When I became a volunteer this year, I came to see a lot of frustration in my own life lift, as God enabled me to become a friend to a man who wanted to increase his literacy skills. God gave me a friendship, and He enabled me to reach out and see His hand bring about change in the life of another man.


About Sam Buick

A lover and disciple of Jesus Christ. Married to my best friend, Lori-Anne. Father to 3 incredible daughters, Carragh, Caitlin and Erinn, and sons-in-law Alex Barry, and Stephen Davis. An avid reader, a Droid user, a Mac addict, a lover of footy ball and football (there is a difference), and hockey. Once a soldier. Once a youth worker. Once an ordained minister. Once a claims adjuster. I don’t mind labels, labels define what type of Christian I am: I am a creationist I am a monergist I am a Trinitarian I am an imputationalist I am a Calvinist I am a cessationist ~ Samuel M. Buick
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