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52 Godly Men : Men of Today Teaching the Men of Tomorrow » My Journey » Week 50: Serving Christ By Serving Others

Week 50: Serving Christ By Serving Others

The first thing that a lot of people think of when someone mentions the word “politician” is words like cheater, liar, and total crook. Now there might be  some truth to those stories, but the man I met with today, Kevin Brooks, is as straight up honest as they come. In case you don’t know him, he’s one of the state representatives in Tennessee and a fine man to be around. What, you say? An honest politician? There’s no way. Hey; if you don’t believe me, then keep reading.

Kevin BrooksMy day started with Dad taking me to Church Of God headquarters here in Cleveland, where Rep. Brooks holds an office in the Communications Department. He was out to lunch when we arrived, so we waited until he came back. When he entered the building, Dad introduced me to him, said a few parting words, and then left. As soon as Dad was gone, Mr. Kevin took me to his office so we could get acquainted a bit better. We made some small talk for a while, and then after about 15 minutes Mr. Brooks decided to give me a tour of the building.

Now if you have been reading these articles regularly, you might remember my day with Jim Golden, and be asking yourself why I would want a tour of something I had already seen. Well, my first tour in September was of the original headquarters building. The one I visited today was  the Communications Department. That’s why I was so eager to look around. We started out on the ground floor, and worked from there. He would introduce me to a worker there, explain what they do, and we’d move on. He also showed me some of the different rooms and offices, like the Council of Eighteen . This room is the main decision center of COG headquarters. The issues and concerns which affect the policy and future of the Church of God denominations are weighed and discussed.

We completed the tour on the second floor of the building, where the main features are the media room and the office of the General Overseer. The latter is their version of the oval office, and it’s a very nice room. The media room is where they record their TV programs, both in English and Spanish (about 80% of COG members are out of the U.S., and most of those are in Mexico and South America). The communications center is about half to a third of the size of the older building, but it’s just as cool. It also has some really yummy chocolate in the various rooms, as well.

As soon as our tour was complete, we returned to Kevin’s office and started talking. He is about forty years old and has two children, a high school sophomore and a college freshman. He is in his third term of office, and because his terms are two years long, he has been doing this for about five years. The cool thing about the position of state representative is that you can serve as many terms as the people will let you. So he could be in office until he dies, which is what he would prefer. He said that even though Tennessee has had a democratic majority in its government ever since the Civil War, the state’s still in the buckle of the Bible Belt.  For a guy like him who’s working with the COG and who grew up in church, his background is pretty appealing to the public.

Kevin And IIn case you’re wondering about Rep. Brooks’ background, here it is. His political interest first really took root as a senior in high school when one of his teachers took the class to D.C. for a field trip. He was able to observe politicians at work, and he liked what he saw. A few years later, he asked an older friend of his what he should do to prepare himself for running for an office. The friend said to try to immerse himself in as many campaigns and political parties as he could. It didn’t matter who they were or what his job was; the experience he would garner would be irreplaceable for his future. Because he did immerse himself in campaigning and politics at an early age, that’s one reason why Kevin Brooks keeps being reelected. Oh, by the way, if you happen to see him, don’t call him a politician. He feels like because “politicians” are looked down upon, people shun him when they find out what he does for a living. No, he prefers the title “public servant” since he tries to dedicate himself in everything he does to the people in his community.

After Mr. Kevin was finished with his story, I got to ask him a few questions on things I have always wanted to know about government and politics. My first question was whether the rumor that most politicians are crooked is true or not. He let me know that even though not all the people in government are like that, some of the leaders aren’t as scrupulous as they should be. Another thing I asked was whether there are ever times when other politicians ask him to compromise his faith in order to reach a consensus. He said no, they never have, mostly because they know what he’s going to say even before they ask. And that’s a real blessing, not having to be bothered by other people wanting you to forsake your principles or the law in order to benefit them.

One big question I had for Rep. Brooks was some of the things he and the rest of the government wants to accomplish since they’ve got the majority as Republicans. He said that it was a good question, and the answer is pretty simple. Bill Haslam, the governor, asked him and the rest of the top dogs to refrain from voting for and trying to pass iffy stuff, because it’s his first year in office, and he wants it to go smoothly. Now, before you fire off a red-hot email to the governor’s office, stop and think about it. This most likely isn’t going to be the last year ever that Republicans have the edge, but it very well could be, at least for a long time, if they don’t handle it right. For instance: guns are a big topic of conversation in voting circles. Now, they could go gun crazy and vote that everyone over age six can own a gun everywhere, including grocery stores (okay, so that’s a bit drastic, but you know what I mean). But then all the mothers of six-year-olds and everyone working in grocery stores would become Democrats overnight. There has to be that balance.

Representative BrooksThe last question I asked Kevin Brooks today was what are some of the challenges he has encountered as a Christian politician. He said that the main problem he has come across is maintaining his integrity and value system in the political arena where it doesn’t exist. Sometimes, because he’s a “church guy,” other politicians scrutinize him more closely than others. But he’s been working through it all and shining the light of Jesus in the midst of it. By the time our question and answer game was over, Dad had showed up and was listening to our conversation. He and Kevin talked a bit more, shared some stuff, and then we left. I garnered a ton of good, useful information about the political realm, made friends with a really nice guy, and learned that not all government people have horns and a pitchfork (kidding!). But most of all, I found out more about living honestly, uprightly, and justly in a secular and unchristian world. And those are things that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.

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