News and Views

BWC pastor: ‘Why I’m running for Congress’

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By Jeff Jones*

The Rev. Jeff Jones, who is putting his faith into action by running for Congress.
The Rev. Jeff Jones, who is putting his faith into action by running for Congress.

Have you ever thought, “I’m sick and tired of all this mess in politics” and feel like someone ought to do something about that?  Well I do and I’m doing something about it. We Can Do Better.

On Groundhog’s Day, I signed up to be a candidate for the United States Congress in the 8th District of Maryland, which includes parts of Montgomery County, Frederick County and Carroll County. The primary is Tuesday, April 26.

As far as I can tell, there are four others doing the same. When I was first motivated to do this, there weren’t any. Now it’s going to be a lot more work.

I am running because I really was sick of the gridlock in Congress. I was upset with the apparent staking of claims and not being willing to budge or compromise or move off the position that brought us here, even if it meant the government could be shut down.

I’m also really sick of the treatment some people are getting from some candidates about gun control, immigration, health care, and the list just seems to keep on going. We Can Do Better.

I’m running because of my faith. There is a time to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s. There is a time when we remember that St. Paul admonished us to pray for our government leaders because it’s ordained by God that when it’s good, it defends against evil and protects the poor and needy. I don’t feel that is what our government is doing anymore. So I’m putting prayers into action.

I am enough of a realist to know that this is an incredible challenge, but we can do better, and I want to try in this election. Running as a Republican in a heavily Democratic district is crazy too. But… I will have some time to ask people to remember that we ought to govern as Lincoln said so well, so that from this Earth no government will perish that “is of the people, by the people and for the people.”

I’m running because we need some good brought back into the system that determines so much of our resources. John Wesley was so right when he said, “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”

I feel that for the time leading up to the primary election, I may get a chance to practice what I’ve done my whole ministry: build a foundation for good; work as a bridge builder; and help couples and congregations work through the differences to come to a good place. I want to use my experience with coaching, scouting, community service projects, and rehabilitation challenges, to apply it to our government. I hope that there may be some good publicity generated in this campaign that would get people thinking about common sense and the common good for us all.

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8, NKJV).

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. We need a fresh voice to proclaim that we still have dreams. To paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., that we will count, not because of “the color of our skin, or our country of origin, but by the content of our character.” I believe that someone should say, “Can’t we all just get along?” and recognize what is the best for our nation in the long run. We Can Do Better.

Therefore, I put my hat in the ring. I am now certified — or certifiable (as some may say) —   but I love this country and I’m at the age and place where maybe I can use my years of service to serve in another type of parish.
Blessings to you all.

*The Rev. Jeff Jones is pastor of North Bethesda UMC in Bethesda.