Sunday Morning Coffee: Politics

No, I’m not going to write about the upcoming election, or either candidate; not about the looming scandals and the lying, trickery, threats, etc. Sick of it all.

I just got to thinking about the word politics, and decided to give myself a refresher course on the true meaning.

Too often, we have moved so far from the origin of words that they change their meaning across time and misuse.

The root word is from the Greek: polis, or, in English, city. It could also refer to a fort, a citadel, the state, community and finally citizens.

Politikos, also Greek, refers to the citizens; pertaining to the state and its administration; pertaining to public life.

The Agora of Athens

Citizens would often meet in the agora, an open marketplace where goods were bought and sold and matters of the city were discussed. Agora, by the way is the root word for agoraphobia, or “fear of the market place.” People who have an acute dread of leaving the safety of their homes are often diagnosed with agoraphobia. And if you didn’t already know that, you’re quite welcome 🙂

Okay, so we see now that originally there was nothing secret or subversive about politics. It was simply having to do with the affairs of the city, which in early Greece, where they liked the idea of pure democracy, were settled by the votes of the individual citizens.

History tells us that it didn’t last long, because pure democracy devolves rather quickly into total anarchy, which is what we want to avoid. Instead, America is a republic, in which matters are decided by representatives chosen by the people.

Things get sticky at this point. Human nature being what it is, people in modern politics are subject to all sorts of influences that often have very little to do with the desires of the people they were chosen to represent. Special interest groups, outright bribes, secret dealings with organized crime and even with other countries can go on for some time before such things are discovered. And often, even after they are discovered, they are often overlooked, depending on the power and influence of the perpetrators.

You understand, of course, that I’ve condensed history almost unforgivably in order to keep this short enough to hold your interest. My point? Politics hasn’t always been a dirty business in America. In the beginning, the elected representatives and senators met for a short time each year and then returned to their farms and businesses, because they didn’t make enough money in Washington to consider it their only full-time job.

Those were the good old days. That was before government started to grow into a many-tentacled monster that now wants to control what we think, what we are allowed to read, who we are allowed to listen to. All, of course, for our own good. Which government knows better than we do.

So, in the women’s Bible study I lead, we’re in the book of Hebrews. This week we talked about the only sure anchor we have. Hebrews 6:19. “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast.”

Jesus is our Anchor. He is sure and stedfast. He does not change at anyone’s whim, bribe, or threat. He is always the same. And of course, all of us who were there know this song, and sang it together:

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