(Mildly edited on March 31st.) I’m a political junkie. Have been since I began working for the Liberal Party of Canada in my teens. (I was even the 21 year old chauffeur to the the leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, Stuart Smith, during the summer 1977 election.)
In my late twenties, my politics began to shift more to what would be called Red Tory here in the Great White North. Had I been a Yank, in 2000 my vote would have been cast for the man with the big hat – the former governor of the Great State of Texas. Perhaps in ’04, as well – though I was a lot less impressed. (The Jr. Senator from Mass. was hardly a great candidate for the Party of the Donkey – actually, on 2nd thought…)
When I haven’t been working, I’ve been glued to CNN in HD watching the Dem Primaries. (Granted I’ve watched a lot less than I would like – but I must work when I have it.) Hillary "How do you know when I’m lying? When I open my mouth" Clinton makes my skin crawl. She always has.
Like many, I’ve found Barack Obama particularly attractive. I’ve been captivated by his charisma – his ability to make the teleprompted words sound like they’re his own. He is a very attractive politician. But. He is a politician.
The Obama mythology, however, would have us believe he’s "a new kind of politician." Not so much. I might be willing to believe that he could bring a mildly new perspective to politics – but he’s still a pol. (Rather than arguing with me about this, which you are welcome to do BTW, do some research on where his political support came from when he began his political career.)
However, might I suggest that our reaction to Obama comes out of desires similar to the people of Israel in 1 Samuel. They want a king. They aren’t interested in a priest/intercessor between them and YHWH. They want a king. Now. And. So do we.
Look back to the Sixties and the language around the Kennedy myth. His "court" was called Camelot – JFK, the immensely flawed King Arthur. Similar language is being used for Obama. Perhaps he’s the political Messiah we’ve been waiting for. We pray that the audacity of all our hopes will be fulfilled in him.
They won’t be. He’s just a man. As flawed as the rest of us. A fatherless man who thought he’d found the wright man to be his surrogate "father." And then discovered he had to throw that "father" under the bus, along with Obama’s white grandmother – to ensure the viability of his political future.
Obama may (and I emphasize "may") be the best candidate in a pool of slim pickings. (No offence to the late Slim Pickens – the nuclear bomb riding character actor.) But he’s no messiah, no saviour. He’s just a man. And as the Lord says to Samuel, he’s just as likely to…
…take your sons and make soldiers of them—chariotry, cavalry, infantry, regimented in battalions and squadrons. He’ll put some to forced labor on his farms, plowing and harvesting, and others to making either weapons of war or chariots in which he can ride in luxury. He’ll put your daughters to work as beauticians and waitresses and cooks. He’ll conscript your best fields, vineyards, and orchards and hand them over to his special friends. He’ll tax your harvests and vintage to support his extensive bureaucracy. Your prize workers and best animals he’ll take for his own use. He’ll lay a tax on your flocks and you’ll end up no better than slaves. The day will come when you will cry in desperation because of this king you so much want for yourselves.
That’s what the King’s we appoint do. It was ever thus.
I put the video below on YouTube yesterday. (I’m not really happy with YouTube’s encoding, but oh well.) It’s one of my favourite Chris Falson songs from a Maranatha! Music Live Worship video Imbi and I produced and directed in the mid-nineties. (As the hair styles would indicate.) The song is called, We Need a King. (As an aside, the song features Rob Mathes as music director and pianist. Rob has produced the new and killer album from Panic at the Disco with the great line in Behind the Sea – "we’re all too smart to talk to God." The iMonk has been talking about Rob, and his pastor, Ian Cron of late.)
Chris sings of the King we both need – and already have.
If you’ve made it this far down the post and actually watched the video, I should note that this version is not the finished version. For some reason, the version I transferred to DVCam from Digital Betacam was two cuts before the finished version. You still get a sense of the song – but you also get to see the handheld camera man running around in the background. This video was cut in a digital linear suite. No Avid was involved in the production. All cameras were slaved to VTRs and the show was built in post-production. Too much information for most of you. Hope you enjoyed it. The song, that is.