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My story - How I came to be a candidate in this election
The way I think I heard God call me to do this started with marrying into a very politically-active family. My wife’s Dad was an area director for a conservative political organization, so my wife cares a lot about politics, and she has instilled a passion for politics in my sons. About a decade ago, a good friend of mine, who is a Presbyterian pastor, ran for governor of Colorado under the Constitution Party and got me hooked on building political parties that I can agree with, lock stock and barrel.
When I moved to Kansas, a Baptist pastor took me out for lunch and told me that the Constitution Party is defunct in Kansas, but he is an officer in the Reform Party and recommended it. I monitored the party for a couple of years. This year, I was experiencing more free time and struggling less to stay on top of things, and also thought, due to symptoms in my wife, that we wouldn’t be having any more children, so I thought I would have time to invest in a public office. My two oldest boys had expressed an interest in running for office when they turned 18, and one was already over 18, so I figured it would be good experience for them.
Then the president of the Kansas Reform Party called and urged me to consider running for office. At the time, I was preaching through a series contrasting Biblical Christianity and Secular Humanism, and I had done two sermons on the difference between the way Biblical Christians and Secular Humanists look at Law and was very concerned at the almost total lack of Biblical Christian perspective on Law that exists in American churches and lawmaking bodies today. I wanted to do something about it. I researched the different offices opening up this November and decided that the only one I was qualified for was the KS House, so I let the Reform party know that I was willing to be a candidate for KS House. They interviewed me and voted unanimously that they wanted me to be their candidate for the KS House in my district. I asked the men in my church congregation if it was feasible for me to take time away from the church to fill a public office and whether they had any objections to it. They felt they could manage, and they didn’t have any objections.
I didn’t know whether I’d get that far, and once my name showed up on the KS Sec. of State website, I started having second thoughts. That’s when God provided, over the course of one week, three different messages on sacrifice. One came from a worship service I attended at the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America, one came from an independent church we visited during vacation time, and the other came from a chaplain friend who reminded me of the way soldiers think about sacrificing family time for the sake of their country and how much they resent people who avoid making sacrifices.
The way I see it, the House of Representatives is not an office which should be filled by professional politicians; it should be filled by a representative sampling of citizens who serve for a short time. I believe that my citizenship in Kansas and ability to fill an office is enough of a reason to run. I recognize that not everybody thinks that way today, but I believe that was the original intent of our government. I don’t see it as an abandonment of my church but rather as a temporary service to my community. I have come to find out that politics is a huge part of Kansas culture – moreso than in any of the other 6 states I’ve lived in. This campaign has been a valuable window into understanding the people to which God has called me as a minister.
The introduction of a pregnancy onto the scene has shaken me a bit. I have been surprised that my wife has been so supportive. She would have to sacrifice more than anybody else. If I had known ahead of time, I would not have put my hat into the ring. I wonder if God timed this so that I would not find out until I was already on the ballot.
I have friends in Topeka I could probably stay with, and I figure I could take the salary that the State pays legislators and tell our church to redirect the same amount of money to a pulpit supply fund. It seems plausible with the huge glut of seminary graduates without church employment in the Presbyterian Church in America that we could find someone to step in for a few months – we even have a person in mind. There are many more details to work out, I know, but if God were to give me a win in this race, I’d have no trouble trusting Him to work out the details.
When I signed up for office, I had not realized how much time candidates normally invested in campaigns. It has been a somewhat embarrassing realization that I am not able to spend the kind of time on campaigning that others have (Pastoring a church, raising 10 kids, and getting adequate rest is a 24-7 job, so there's no time to campaign door to door.) I just have to live with doing what I can and leaving the results up to God.
As I have grown in my knowledge of how things are normally done in the political process, I’m realizing that I would have never learned what's involved in an election without going through it myself, and so one reason for staying on the ballot – even without a hefty campaign – is that I hope to learn, as I go through the process, what the process involves and how to successfully navigate it (or help one of my sons navigate it) with more successful results in the future.
I’ve run a lot of these same questions by the leaders of the Reform Party, and they are encouraging me to continue on, in large part to be a spur to the Republican party to run more conservative candidates and to expose the fact to the public that the candidates the Republican Party are running are more compromising than they’d like to think they are.
Well, there it is. What do you think?
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