Denmark goes to the polls today. This time we’re electing county and municipal councils. I always feel happy after voting; it is a blessing to live in a free country, and by most accounts Denmark boasts a very good and healthy democratic tradition. Voter turnout is usually in the 80-90 % range.
But according to many observers, myself included, this is probably the most boring election in recent memory. Not that it isn’t potentially important; the structural reform in the county system means that these councils will be able to shape the future for many new entities. But maybe it’s just yet a symptom of complacency. Denmark has problems, sure, but let’s be honest–it’s probably the most egalitarian country in the world, presents an enviable growth rate and great quality of life. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Personally I’m rarely undecided on whom to vote for, but I really understand those of my friends who say there’s really no big difference between candidates.
Voter fatigue, however, is not a sign that people are indifferent to society. That would be a false conclusion. Rather, people grow wary of politics but excert influence in other ways.
I think this may hold a valuable lesson for church, as well. While we don’t like the word politics, church business is often precisely that. And a great number of church members understandably tire of endless, and seemingly worthless, debates over miniscule issues. But it would be unwise to mistake this for a lack of interest. I find that many people are excited about God, and also about church, if their church is a good one, but couldn’t care less about church politics.
This is a good sign. A lot of people actually have it right. Being exicted about Jesus and the core values and mission of the church is essential. And if the Church can learn this from the grass roots, we will all benefit. Perhaps even church politics can once again be interesting and meaningful.