I had this thought about politics and church (and forgive me because I’m about to make some broad and general statements).
The concept of democracy is that all people vote on all issues. Generally, the government is larger, collects more taxes and distributes the resources as the people vote.
In a republic, all the people are able to elect representatives who in turn vote on issues. They advocate smaller government and fewer taxes, with the expectation that individuals are able to utilize their resources in a fair way – including caring for the destitute and indigent.
I vote republican (usually) and my conscience (always). It is nice when one candidate satisfies both my preference and my morality.
How does the church factor in, you ask. In this way: a republican model says that the people are able to identify needs in society and designate the resources necessary to meet them. A democracy says that the church must collect the money to meet those same needs. I didn’t know I felt this way, but the truth is I think we the people (sorry!) have a greater responsibility to care for our communities than just handing over money to the church.
A return to first principles in a republic is sometimes caused by the simple virtues of one man. His good example has such an influence that the good men strive to imitate him, and the wicked are ashamed to lead a life so contrary to his example.
I’m not sure Machiavelli is the model I want to follow, but the man makes a fair point.
And I’ll borrow this idea as well: generosity is not measured by what you give, but rather by what you have left.
I believe the church (as a body of believers) must play a role. I believe it is more important- essential to our faith- that we the believers as individuals are giving away everything we have. Money, yes, but also time and talent and love and any other gift the Lord has seen fit to give us.
I will say in a nod to the democrats who don’t like my characterizations that this definition is not something I often witness in a person so much as an ideal. That doesn’t mean I can’t keep looking.