by Christopher Harbin

Decision by Lots
Christopher B. Harbin
Acts 1:15-26

One of the most uncomfortable aspects of a Biblical faith is coming across those issues of practice or principle that just don't mesh with our understanding of how things ought to work. We base our lives on the Bible and its teaching, and yet we base a whole lot of our living upon other traditions without even recognizing that often they run contrary to principles of accepted practice within the early church in the New Testament or the very life and teachings of Jesus. More often than not, we simply ignore these disparities without really giving them much thought. After all, wouldn't it be too much trouble to reassess our social and ecclesial structures to make them fit the Biblical witness to how we should live?

When is the last time you rolled dice to make a decision? As a youth or child, I can remember doing something of the sort with dice, cards, or picking petals off a flower. As often as not, while I was using a game of chance, I would still try to maintain some type of control over the outcome, repeating the process until I got the decision that I really wanted. That is the problem with our methods of decision. We want to be in control of the outcomes.

We have heard stories of ballot boxes being stuffed in favor of a candidate or party. We have heard of ballots not being counted in order to stack the deck of election outcomes. We hear of candidates buying votes, of legal challenges regarding recounts, of hanging chad on ballots, and numerous other irregularities in our reportedly democratic election processes. It matters little which party we support, we know of attempts to control outcomes that would invalidate the entire electoral processes. We have heard of church groups calling inactive members to show up for an important vote in order to sway outcomes. At heart, the issue is that we want to control the outcomes. We do not really want the will of the majority, or even God to rule the day.


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