An impassioned, sincere plea…

I said I was done talking about politics…so…I lied. Not purposefully; I really wanted to be done with this topic. But I have more to say, apparently. So…

This is an appeal to my Christian brothers and sisters. I have a major concern with the way in which the church is so wrapped in the American flag that we have become indistinguishable from the rest of American society, especially when it comes to how we talk about politics and views we oppose.

I am still fighting within myself to decide if my place in all of this is to be active within the political sphere. So much of it drains my spiritual vitality, and I wonder if that is reason enough to retreat. But one thing I do know is this: the enemy has so blinded the hearts and minds of many people that no amount of truth telling will help unless or until the Lord moves miraculously to remove those blinders. And it has to start from within. It has to start with the church.

My appeal here is directly to the church versus to the American culture at large. Our witness is being damaged greatly by our allegiances to political parties. The polarized atmosphere of our country right now is tense and intense. Both sides are deeply entrenched in their version of how things are, convinced wholeheartedly that their way is correct and the other side is too blind or stupid to see it. The way conservatives talk about liberals and liberals talk about conservatives is just plain awful and dehumanizing. And what distresses me more than anything is that I see and hear these dehumanizing words being written and spoken by Christians about people who are not Christian, or their Christians brothers and sisters who are on the opposite political side. This should not be.

We are currently in a sermon series about words at my church. Of course, one of the major passages about the tongue, James 3, was the subject of one our sermons. In James 3, the tongue is described as “fire” able to “[set] on fire the entire course of life” (ESV). Hyperbole? I don’t think so. How many ways can we get ourselves in a world of trouble with one word or sentence? A careless comment or ill-advised statement can destroy a relationship in a split second.

So I am going to get a little personal here for a second. I am a Christian. I believe in the Lord Jesus, I depend on Him and Him alone for my salvation. He is my refuge and strength. I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe that He was raised from the dead. God is my Father and Creator, and to Him I owe my whole life.

I’m also a Democrat.

My political affiliation in NO WAY negates my relationship with my Lord. In deciding to be a Democrat, I cannot say that I agree with their entire agenda – I certainly part ways with the official Democratic platform on certain social issues. But I am not alone. In fact, there is a group called “Democrats for Life”, who for the most part agree with the Democratic platform with one glaring exception – guess which one. I resonate with this group. This is my brand of Democrat.

Why do I feel the need to defend myself here? Because when I was a Republican, I looked down on those amoral, evil Democrats. Liberals were idiots and worse, destined for the deepest pits of hell (and no, I’m not being hyperbolic here; I’ve heard these things said, and I’ve, sadly, said them myself). I spewed all sorts of hateful things out of my mouth about Democrats – about people, made in the image of God. And then I went to church and praised the Lord every Sunday.

Can you feel the dissonance with me?

Now I’m on the “other side”, and I see the hurt those words cause. The doors they slam shut. The hope for dialogue and points of possible agreement they quash. And I have to temper myself, because it would be so easy for me to swing to the opposite extreme.

So, for the purposes of this post, I want to appeal to my Christian brothers and sisters. I pray you will hear what I’m trying to say:

I peruse my FB feed and read some of the things that are posted. Conservatives trashing liberals and liberals trashing conservatives. And it all makes me so very sad. When I read them on pages of people I know are Christians, it just plain hurts. It’s like a punch in the gut. It is a blanket dismissal of a person, and their ability to think critically and form informed opinions. Yes, some people blindly follow whatever lead they’ve received from family or social cues; but it is unfair to make that assumption about someone simply because they have an opposing view.

It is not an excuse for either side to say “Well, the other side does it”. That is not how Christians should think or act. And please hear me when I say this: I am not sitting in a place of judgment, because I am guilty. I stand before you to confess my own sin, to fall on the mercy of God and say that I am need of a heart change. I see this out there because it lives in my heart too.

And so I say this: For any posts I have ever posted that have been derisive, personal attacks on conservatives writ large, I apologize, with no qualification.

The most important words in the phrase “Christian brothers  and sisters” are *brothers*, and *sisters*. I am your sister. You are my brother or sister. We are children of God, and as such, siblings in the family of God through Jesus Christ. We don’t have to agree with each other everything; but we are forever linked to each other by our shared profession of faith. We are the light of the world. The church is the light of the world, not a particular country or political party. We are the salt of the earth. Are we shining light? Have we lost our saltiness?

These are the questions that keep me awake at night. Not whether or not America will crumble. It is a certainty that if the Lord tarries, the empire that is America will fall – it is a manmade kingdom and will go the way of all other manmade kingdoms. But the Kingdom of God stands forever. No matter what…

More later…grace and peace…

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