Driving County Roads

An on line journal sharing my views. The content reflects my background as a rural person employed in agriculture and as a retired elected official of local government.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Remembering Esbj

This week, the St. Peter area lost Rev. Bob Esbjornson, a pastor, scholar, teacher, and a wise man with much to offer. My connection with Rev. Esbjornson was only as a listener in his audiences. I was not fortunate enough to have him as a teacher. I was fortunate to be able to read his writings. One of his books, “A Christian in Politics” has been a source of inspiration in my years on the Nicollet County Board of Commissioners. I would like to share “good stuff” from that book.
- There is a law at work in the political world and all human activities - the law of mutual helpfulness: in order to get, a man must give. This command, in political language is called JUSTICE. In order to receive, man is forced to serve his neighbor. Thus justice is not different from helpful love.
- The state is not a lord, but a servant. It exists because the people need it. It serves to preserve order, to protect the clashing self-interests of society. By doing so, the state creates conditions which promote the welfare of the people.
- Lust for power is the demon in politics. This demon has an opportunity to flourish because the state is given a monopoly on the power of the sword. Political power itself is not evil, but the lust for power is evil and dangerous.
- In a democracy, no one man or one class of people is the "magistrate". Theoretically, All people are magistrates, each in the measure that he aggressively seeks political power and participates in political maneuvering. This process checks the power lust and the selfish ambitions of any one group or person.
- The more people there are who are active in politics, the less possible it is for a small clique to have the complete advantage. The groups counter-act one another.

It is through Christians with a sense of vocation and a readiness to 'go the second mile' to do more than is demanded of them - that the redemptive grace of Christ enters the political arena to offset the demonic element in politics.
The Christian in politics seeks aggressively to do more good than is accomplished by all the pressures of conflicting and compromising and bargaining self-interest groups. He speaks for the un-represented groups and demands benefits for the under dogs, even though they cannot help him politically. He appeals to the consciences of men, not just their self-concern. He sub-ordinates his personal ambition to his public duty. The Christian acts like this because he believes he is called by Christ to serve his neighbor.END.


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