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Summary: The issue of Christian involvement in politics has been one of the most debated and divisive issues not only of our times… but throughout much of history.

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Continuing in series focused on Integrating Spirituality into Everyday Life. We’ve

considered spiritual dimensions and dynamics involved with our living spaces… workplace…

recreational life… and today… our CITIZENSHIP.

Perhaps a less conscious role for many of us… not something that we think of as part of our

everyday life in the same way. In fact… usually most conscious of it only when we resent it…

when certain responsibilities are called forth… responsibilities we don’t always have positive

feelings about – taxes, DMV, Jury Duty… and voting. For many there is an unspoken disdain for

all that comes with citizenship.

But it’s also not an area that’s new to Christian involvement. The issue of Christian involvement

in politics has been one of the most debated and divisive issues not only of our times… but

throughout much of history.

We must raise our role as citizens out of the mire of disdain and division…and

recapture it’s proper place in service to God.

Citizenship is a role of power and responsibility.

Encarta Dictionary – Citizenship - “The duties and responsibilities that come with being a

member of a community.”

To appreciate the power and responsibility… we need to grasp what is unique in our God-

given HUMANITY… and HISTORY.

"Aristotle reminds us that man is a political—not (merely) a social—animal. (Only) human

beings inhabit a polis as well, a political community, where they rationally, consciously

develop those laws and political institutions that comprise a just regime and permit them to

live a good life . It is a virtue that elevates us, that invests our daily lives, and civil society

itself, with a larger meaning and dignity, a larger moral purpose. As citizens, we have two

complementary, not contradictory, obligations: to revitalize and, more important,

remoralize the institutions of civil society; and to respect and utilize wisely the instruments

of law and government that make this a country worthy of our love."

"Recapturing Tocqueville: Civil Society and the Pursuit of Virtue," www.empower.org

To be human… fully human… is to embrace this unique quality… the ability to shape the

common good.

"Aristotle reminds us that man is a political—not (merely) a social—animal. (Only) human

beings inhabit a polis as well, a political community, where they rationally, consciously

develop those laws and political institutions that comprise a just regime and permit them to

live a good life . It is a virtue that elevates us, that invests our daily lives, and civil society

itself, with a larger meaning and dignity, a larger moral purpose. As citizens, we have two

complementary, not contradictory, obligations: to revitalize and, more important,

remoralize the institutions of civil society; and to respect and utilize wisely the instruments

of law and government that make this a country worthy of our love."

"Recapturing Tocqueville: Civil Society and the Pursuit of Virtue," www.empower.org

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> Every citizen is a civic servant.

A glimpse into HISTORY can help us appreciate this often unappreciated role of citizen as

well.

The History of Citizenship (The following from lost source was simply summaraized in

brief)

The idea and practice of citizenship originated in ancient Greece, not in Israel. But biblical

religion had a big influence on the development of the meaning of citizenship in the West.

The citizen in certain Greek city-states was someone who had a voice in shaping the common

life of the community, especially in making its laws through a deliberative process. Most

people in those city-states were not citizens. Citizens gained their status by virtue of their

education, wealth or leadership prowess. The role of the citizen came to be distinguished

from other affiliations and classes of people, such as cultic officials, tradespeople, warriors,

farmers and slaves. Citizenship meant having the responsibility and privileges of membership

in what was thought to be the highest form of human community, namely, the political

community.

Several important developments between about A.D. 300 and the Protestant Reformation

(which began in the 1500s) led to new understandings of citizenship. First, the early church,

which had no political authority in the first centuries after Christ, gradually grew to become

the most influential institution in the collapsing Roman Empire and in the feudal period that

followed. For the most part, until the time of the Reformation, a top-down conception of

political authority dominated in this church-led culture, which reached its height in the

twelfth through fourteenth centuries, called the High Middle Ages. The Roman Catholic

Church absorbed the hierarchical pattern from imperial Rome. The idea was that God granted

authority to the church (eventually to the leading church official—the bishop of Rome), and

the church then delegated political authority to lower, nonecclesiastical officials. However,

beginning late in the Middle Ages, a rediscovery of ancient Greek and Roman documents led

to a renewed interest in the work of Aristotle, the Stoics and other ancient philosophers. One

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