As I said in several times past, I am not political. I used to be, but I’m not anymore. I personally believe that politics, at least in its current form, is broken and not serving our best interests. And I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be involved in politics. In fact, I’ve seen good things happening at the local level.
What I’m specifically against is the partisan spirit. It’s a divisive and polarizing spirit that Jesus warned us against that runs absolutely contrary to Kingdom values.
15 Then He charged them, saying, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” (Mark 8:15 NKJV)
The Greek word for leaven or yeast, ζύμη (zymē), is used metaphorically here. It means “leaven of the mind and conduct, by a system of doctrine or morals, used in a bad sense” (Mounce). You add leaven to dough or batter to cause it to rise. In this metaphoric sense, it means to permeate with an altering or transforming element.
Jesus also used leaven in a positive sense in Matthew 13:33:
“He spoke another parable to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven (zymē | ζύμῃ), which a woman took and put into three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.”
But in Mark 8:15 Jesus is warning us against two types of leaven that create dangerous strongholds. These two are the spirits of religion (Pharisees) and politics (Herod). I use the term “spirit” here because, whether or not they are actual spirits, they certainly act like one, creating such obsessive and almost sociopathic behavior in otherwise normal people.
I’ve talked about this before but a quick review would be good here. Both spirits thrive on power through separation. The spirit of religion separates us from God and puts us under the control of people and rituals instead. It’s transactional instead of relational, trading on fear, shame, and guilt. Jesus condemned the religious leaders for doing this (see Luke 11:52). The spirit of politics polarizes and separates us into factions instead of letting our differences make a better world that works for everyone. This is a work of the flesh or the sinful side of human nature:
19 What human nature does is quite plain. It shows itself in immoral, filthy, and indecent actions; 20 in worship of idols and witchcraft. People become enemies and they fight; they become jealous, angry, and ambitious. They separate into parties and groups; 21 they are envious, get drunk, have orgies, and do other things like these. I warn you now as I have before: those who do these things will not possess the Kingdom of God. (Gal.5:19-21 GNT, emphasis added)
Hopefully, you can see the difference between these spirits and healthy and helpful religion and politics.
I’m focusing here on the spirit (or leaven) of politics because, at a national level, it’s become totally dysfunctional and increasingly detrimental to our society. It doesn’t take a sociologist to tell us that the current climate is totally saturated with this polarizing spirit that foments vitriolic hatred at a hysterical level.
And there’s nothing more evil than when the proverbial torch and pitchfork-wielding angry mob rears its ugly head.
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about with regard to our current broken political system. This is a clip from the Joe Rogan show with Tulsi Gabbard, U.S. Representative for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district. She talks about the current state of affairs with Congress and what the “powers that be” tell their incoming freshmen. Gabbard is also a Democrat and Hindu, by the way, and currently serving as a Major in the National Guard. This is not an endorsement of her current run for presidential candidacy in 2020, but I do applaud her courage to speak out against the beast.
This is why I place no hope whatsoever in our current political system. I’m not a fan of either the Republican or Democratic parties. I also place no confidence in any religion that preaches separation and distance from God (or separation between believers based on doctrinal disagreement). My confidence is in the One who loved me so much that He came and rescued me from such sinful foolishness. His name is Jesus Christ, and He did this selfless act of love on the Cross for the whole world (1 John 2:2). And I personally believe that (actually) following Him is our best hope for a more humane future for everyone.