A year ago, after a brief conversation with my brother, I decided to check out some blogs. I didn’t know the medium at all. But it seemed that they were popping up everywhere.
I like to write to blow off steam. I like people reading what I write. I like forwarding interesting articles to friends and colleagues. I like when they do the same. The blog seemed like the perfect medium for me.
But, if truth be told, I started this blog on a whim. I was trying to comment on someone’s blog and I couldn’t do so without first registering with Blogger. Argh. I hate it when I have to hand out personal info just for the privilege of using something that’s free.
But I did it anyway. And on the dashboard I spotted a button labeled “create your own blog.” And Three minutes and 22 seconds later, “Kevin G Powell: Where faith, culture, and politics collide” was born.
(I threw in my middle initial (“G” for "George") not to sound like a pompous ass, but because I was hoping that such a moniker would distinguish me from the “other” Kevin Powell, the hip hop theorist. It didn’t work. I wonder if folks confuse the “other” Kevin with me.)
I’ve always been interested in politics. In fact, there was a time when I almost went into politics instead of music, before I ended up training for the ministry. Also, when I was in high school, I knew the names if all MPs and their ridings, as well as cabinet ministers and their portfolios. Classical music and politics. Yes, I was a nerd. No wonder I never got laid.
It wasn’t until I went to seminary that I became interested in the intersection or “collision” of faith and politics. While I strongly believe in the protective wall between church and state, I do believe there is a place for faith within the public sphere.
The best examples of religion and politics colliding are Martin Luther King Jr who provided the moral and spiritual foundation which was based on his reading of the Sermon on the Mount, for the civil rights movement.
Archbishop Oscar Romero, who offered his voice to the voiceless, courageously speaking out against government death squads and corruption that were keeping millions in El Salvador mired in poverty.
Gandhi, who inspired MLK’s reading of Matthew Chapters five and six, led a nation into freedom by using Christian principles of non-violence and love for enemy.
And many, many, many others who struggle 'till their fingers are raw, 'till their bodies collapse from exhaustion, 'till their lives are living examples of the kingdom of God alive in our world.
When faith and politics collide, it isn’t a partisan struggle. While I have been a member of two political parties in my 35 years (NDP and Liberal), I can’t ally myself too strongly, as a person of faith, with any partisan agenda. For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God; the measure of righteousness: justice, mercy, peace, self-giving, suffering love.
The collision of faith and politics happens in deeply intimate human relationships. Public policy happens best when the faces and stories of real human beings are seen and heard, celebrated and cherished.
I blog because it helps me remember and re-think how I relate to the world, as a pastor, as a parent,as a husband, and most importantly, as a human being. It helps me blow off intellectual steam. It forces me to think out loud. And it invites the world into the conversation. That way I can grow by learning from others.
It’s been a great ride so far.
NB: I've cleaned up the grammar, fixed the typoes, and added a word or two.