Equipping God's People to Create Missional Culture

God Calls Us to Advocate for Social Change by “Appealing to Caesar” – Part I

A guest post by Ben Dudley
Most communities have a gathering place, a sanctuary of sorts. For some it is the break room at their office. In third world countries, it is the watering hole where they go for their daily water. For my community in Portland, it is a local coffee shop or pub. Something that I have noticed over the last five years, are the posters on the wall. The posters are advertising the bands and events that are performing around town. There were posters, bands and events five years ago, but something about these posters is very different. Almost all of the events are supporting a cause or raising awareness about a problem in society.

It is almost impossible to turn on the television, pick up a magazine or surf the Internet without seeing a promotion for the latest socially conscious trend to help people in need. Weather it be Bono promoting the One Campaign or Don Cheadle raising awareness about the situation in Darfur, social activism is not just a good thing to do, it has become the popular thing to do. With almost all of these causes there seems to be a common theme: petition the government. “Email the President asking for more money to be spent on AIDS relief” or “Email your Senators asking them to help bring a stop to the genocide in Darfur” are common examples of things you will read if you join one of the causes.

The thesis of this essay is God calls us to advocate for social change by “Appealing to Caesar.” The essay will be broken into four main sections. I will begin by making a case for social involvement showing that it was part of God’s intention for us to “rule” or govern. Section two will look at Old Testament examples of God’s people petitioning the governments for social change while section three will do the same in the New Testament. Section four will conclude the paper examining how “appealing to Caesar” will impact the life and community where I serve. I hope you join along for this series! In part II I tackle the question: Why should Christians get involved in government at all?

Ben Dudley was born and raised in Texas, though he has always felt like he belonged on the West Coast. He and his wife now reside in Portland, Oregon. Ben is a graduate of Baylor University in 1999 with a Church Recreation and Leisure Services Degree, and is currently two years into a Master of Arts in Global Leadership Degree from Fuller Theological Seminary. He has served as a pastor in two different churches prior to moving to Portland where he and his wife, along with a core team of people are planting a church. Ben also works with CrossTraining-US where he serves as a chaplain to professional soccer players in Portland. He considers himself a very lucky man to be married to his beautiful wife Jamie, who is his best friend and partner in ministry. They both love to travel, eat good food and spend time with friends and family.

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