I follow politics but I don’t go crazy. Meaning, I’m not the kind of person that wears buttons, puts bumper stickers on their cars, and plant signs on their home lawns. I confess I do have one vintage Ronald Reagan shirt I picked up a while ago from a second hand store. So, while I watched the elections with great interest and cried like a baby, it was hard to live vicariously with those who were celebrating like Kids Gone Wild in Seattle or those who were visibly upset about the doom and gloom news of impending socialism and Obamunism.
It’s not just because I’m an ‘independent’ voter but also because I feel like my voice in the City, Church, and Culture is to be a ‘reconciler’ or ‘peacemaker’ that I’ve been feeling torn over the growing division in the country between RED and BLUE. When you see leaders tear each other apart, you wonder how anything be accomplished to remedy some of the national and global crises.
Even more painful has been the division in the Church. Dobson’s hypothetical 2012 letter didn’t help matters recently. For many years, the Religious Right has dominated the voice of evangelical Christians. And now that Obama has become president, you wonder if the Evangelical Left or the “Enlightened Evangelicals” will handle their increased visibility with more grace. It’s too bad that painful comments like the one below are said to one another so flippantly or condemningly in the church:
“What! How can a Christian vote for [insert party, candidate, policy]?”
Neither party has a monopoly on morality and certainly, not on Jesus. Jesus has you.
In recent weeks, I’ve had random church folks, blog stalkers and readers criticizing my relationship with Sojourners. I guess it didn’t help I’m on their recent magazine cover. Geez, it’s not like it was Playgirl and I was flaunting my incredibly sexy and righteous body. Some didn’t like the quote in the Seattle Post Intelligencer about my lack of support for Sarah Palin and the GOP since all good faithful Christians vote Republican. And then of course, there were those who were annoyed and thoroughly vexed at my post expressing likeness for Sarah Palin since all intelligent and forward thinking Christians vote Democrat. You can’t win.
Last Sunday, I preached on the topic of Faith and Politics. I shared that Christians should not be in bed with either parties. We should be driven by a Kingdom/Shalom agenda and ultimately, our allegiance is to the ONE that is the King of Kings and Lord of lords. I did share about numerous issues that should be important to all Christians including the one thing that is very clear in the Scriptures: God has a special heart for the poor, marginalized, and oppressed. God’s call for mercy, justice, and compassion is not only revealed to the Church but are examples of His universal morality and economics to all people and nations. The sermon was tame and so, it was discouraging to receive several emails this week:
- What is wrong with you? Why can’t you just support Obama?
- How could you support a Republican candidate?
- I feel like you attacked me and my views and that I don’t fit in this church.
- I can’t believe that as a Christian pastor, you have those views on abortion.
In fact, several people alluded that they’ll likely leave the church and that last Sunday may have been their last. I understand that politics and worldview are important stuff but is it possible that we can still be in fellowship and relationship even if we don’t see eye to eye on everything? Can people state their convictions, be respectful and respected, and still be united in Christ?
Listen folks. I pastor the whole church and not the left or the right. We worship Jesus and not politicians. Jesus is the center of our lives. While politicians and their views will impact policies and thus, people and i acknowledge its importance, we also need to work at working together. Don’t back down from your convictions but be respectful and gracious - whether or not your candidate was elected. And if you don’t get what you wanted, be mature and remain engaged.
More than anything else: Be peacemakers. Never relinquish the task and call of reconciliation. I want to believe; I need to believe that in Christ, there can be unity in diversity.
In the context of this week and numerous intense emails and conversations, it was good to receive this email about 52 to 48 With Love. I liked it because rather than rubbing it in, people are reaching out with grace as a gesture of reconciliation. What is it?
…a group project where obama supporters reached out to the mccain folk (and others) in a gesture of reconciliation…
something with the intimacy of the original sorryeverybody project – but without the partisan divisiveness. simple messages. the feeling of being left out or ignored, or the target of payback is what made the last eight years so hard.
perhaps it is naive. the differences are real, i know. but we have to repair the damage done from this election cycle somehow…
Here are two pictures I liked. God bless America and God bless the nations. And may God bring unity to the Church.
C’mon. Let’s kiss and make up.