Our faith should by its very presence in our lives guide our decisions. Politics is about making decisions that affect the community. If we are to utilise our faith in works that enable God's presence then we must operate at the political level. However, there are an infinite variety of ways that this can take place and the choice of our intervention must conform with the faith that we hold. We can see this taking shape in the discourse outside Caesarea Philippi (Mk 8.27-38). Peter jumps in immediately following his announcement and belief in Christ. His faith is right but his actions that follow are wrong as they are politically motivated but do not conform with the faith he has just announced. It was his own agenda that was being followed or his political agenda and not his faith. The two must marry up in a complete conjugal joining. Our centre is God's call to us to participate in the Eucharist and to take this out into the world in the form of action. Eucharistic action that is filled with the wisdom of God and brings justice, peace and God's presence into the lives of the other.
This should not be a crossroad. We should merge into a single road.
We are often too quick to respond by using our own thinking rather than responding in Christ to which we have been baptised. Faith without works is too inward and leaves the practical wisdom of God behind closed doors. However good works that are without faith have no life and do not bring light into the world. They may temporarily ease the pains of those we minister to but do not ease the soul which is slowly dying behind the false gratitude that is displayed. How can it be anything less? To bring faith into our works we must spend the time to discern and walk with the other, it cannot be a quick fix either of faith or of good works. The quick fix of faith leads to a shallow religiosity often found in mega churches were there is little time for the individual or else we spend our time in retreat from the world pretending that what we are doing is spiritually rewarding but leaves us dry and unrewarded so that we move onto the next incarnation. The quick fix of works leaves us flitting from one good agency to another trying to help everyone by spending our money.
God's wisdom should pervade everything that we participate in. If we lock God out and rely on ourselves we become cold and heartless. Only when we are able to encompass the wisdom of God that is freely offered into our hearts we can then become true people of God integrating our politics and our lives into one. By divorcing the one from the other we make the misery of the world rather than bringing the light into the world. At the end of the day the question that we must ask ourselves when we throw ourselves into our good causes and our never ending cycle of programmes and works is: does our decision conform to the faith that we believe in or does it arise out of what we perceive to be the right thing for ourselves? Are we making a name for ourselves or are we actually following what God would have us do?