Religion and Politics… My Two Favorite Topics
I do understand that religion and politics make normally sane people completely crazy. My sweet dear and wonderful husband for example. I had to ban him from watching several speakers on CSPAN this week haha.
So, why do I get so excited over these topics? And on top of that, I even get excited watching people I don’t agree with (which is most politicians – I mean get real. They are BOTH millionaires, the legal and political elite, neither is the middle class, both have security and staff like no normal human on earth, neither has a personal housing crisis or financial crisis that I know of, neither has health insurance problems OR has to use the new healthcare plan right? Seriously…. Neither is part of the “real world”).
But regardless, I actually want to go to lunch with people of different views and get more information about their history, background, and why they believe the way they do. And I LOVE it when people are actually doing something about their beliefs whether I agree with them or not. And, I LOVE diversity. I’d be bored to tears if every single law in the US was exactly the way I, in my infinite wisdom, wanted it to be even though “my way” is the “right way” wink wink. Yeah right.
But isn’t that why people get so angry about political beliefs that are different from theirs? We all think WE are RIGHT. That sounds like a quote my buddy James warned me about when he said “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them…”. This applies to all of our quarrels does it not? Our freedoms, civil rights, religious rights…
Lately I have been requiring myself to focus on the 50% (or more) that I have in common with people rather than focusing on the differences. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to discuss the differences. But that is NOT my focus. While we disagree, I want to AGREE to disagree. To love the person even if I don’t love their position. And political differences are a GREAT way to exercise that desire.
For example, when Michelle Obama was speaking, she said SEVERAL things that I didn’t agree with at all. Like equal marriage rights. Love me for it, hate me for it, I don’t care either way. You have your view and I still love you. But, I have my personal view too. So, I completely disagree 100% with anything being called “marriage” that is anything other than one man one woman (no same sex marriage, no polygamy & multiple spouses, no “civil unions” and so forth). Nevertheless, watching her speech I looked for what we COULD agree on and our similarities. We are both women, wives, mothers, Americans ….
Then I was reminded of a GREAT outline I saw at a church about different Christian denominations and their particular beliefs and how we are all ONE BODY of Christ and must work together. So, what if we, as Americans, as ONE BODY of people, followed that same principal?
And what if we, as Christians, looked at our Bibles as teaching us about politics… as a challenge or call to work with people whose views are different than ours: For example what if we looked at Matt 5:43-45 as “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy’. But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you (and have political views different than yours), do good to those who hate you (and your political beliefs), and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you (because of your political beliefs), that you may be sons of your Father in heaven…”.
I’ll pick on a church we visited for a moment. It’s website and bracelets talk about “love in motion”. Kind of like Rachel’s Challenge. It says that Love in Motion is “the act of spontaneously showing care or concern for others, unprompted kindness shown to another, showering one with praise or thanks, often a stranger” see also John 13:35 which is “By this all (people) will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” It does not say “spontaneously showing care or concern for others… often a stranger… after confirming that their religious and political beliefs are the same as yours”.
And the other day I read a Facebook post by Pastor Brian Zahnd entitled the “Christian Voters Guide” and LOVED IT!! It said http://brianzahnd.com/2012/09/a-christian-voters-guide/
Though most of us are very passionate about our religious beliefs or lack thereof (Catholic, Protestant, Mormon, atheist, agnostic and why “we” are the CORRECT group), the different denominations (and why OURS is CORRECT), and our political beliefs (and why the way WE VOTE is the CORRECT way… or our choosing not to engage in politics because that is the correct way), the important thing to remember is that we should NOT let our views, views that oppose us, make us hate others and we must and are called to do what is right.
This is my personal homework. Here is what I am working on. And it’s OH SO DIFFICULT to my flesh because I do love to express my beliefs and views and hear other peoples beliefs and views. But there is a line in the sand that we are NOT to cross (yes, I’ve been guilty over and over but am working on it. I’ll give you grace and mercy please give me grace and mercy). “Don’t get involved in foolish arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be kind to everyone, able to teach, and be patient will difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth… then they can escape the devil’s trap.” 2 Tim 2:.23-26.
It does not say don’t speak. It says to gently instruct. Remember, the purpose of Jesus is to seek and save that which is lost. Pray for revival in the hearts of the wicked and those who do wrong. Pray for your enemies. Pray for those with political views that are different than yours. And GENTLY instruct those who oppose the truth by GENTLY showing them truth and by being Jesus to them. I made the gently in all capitals for me. Because that is the line in the sand and the balance I am praying to gain.
So, happy political season everyone. In a few months the voting will all be over and life will resume with its sunrises, sunsets, high school football games, proms, coffee, hot chocolate, smores over the firepit, and all of the rest of the many blessings that us Americans experience often.
And thank God that we are Americans and actually have the honor and privlege of having any voice at all about our elected officials.
Vote prayfully and carefully and TRUST GOD. “For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.” Romans 13:1. “He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings.” Daniel 2:21. God is fully aware of the times that we live in and He is big enough to handle our future.