Jesus and politics; or why I’m rethinking everything I thought I knew
There are two things you don’t talk about in public:
Religion and politics.
I’m about to do both.
Lately we’ve seen issue after issue of where the lines between religion and politics have blurred.
It’s encouraged me that we’re starting to learn how to have civil discussions about issues that are more often gray than black and white. As a pastor friend of mine tweeted yesterday: the men who sat with Jesus at the Lord’s supper had pretty diverse political views.
It’s okay for us to disagree with each other as long as we do it with decency and respect.
I’ve also been saddened by the amount of people who have spouted off opinions that were rude, judgmental, and sometimes even mean.
And unfortunately I’ve been one of them at times.
Somewhere along the way I mixed up the Gospel of Jesus and the Gospel of America.
For years, I thought the two went together like peas and carrots.
But the more I’ve seen us fight on Facebook, the more I’ve realized the Gospel of America is totally different than the Gospel of Jesus.
The Gospel of America is rooted in fear. We fear for our safety. Our comfort. We fear that something is going to come along and make everything we’ve worked so hard for obsolete. We do everything we can to protect against these things happening.
The Gospel of Jesus is rooted in love. For the orphan and the widow. The refugee and the homeless. The gay and the confused. The rich and the poor. The black and the white. The Christian and the Muslim.
America’s Gospel says if someone does something bad, we should do something bad back to them.
Jesus’ Gospel says every person is made in God’s image.
America’s Gospel says everyone deserves everything.
The Gospel of Jesus says if you don’t work you don’t eat. But it also says those that can work should take care of those who can’t.
In the Church of America, we’ve been taught everyone should agree with us no matter what.
In the Church of Jesus, we’re told people will hate us for what we stand for.
I don’t have the answers to all the political situations going on in our world today. To be completely honest, allowing thousands of refugees into our country scares me. It makes me concerned for the safety of my friends and family.
But at the same time, I know God’s heart is for the refugee. I know Jesus said that anything we do for them is the same as doing it for him. We have to love them and take care of them as if each of them was Jesus himself.
My goal for writing this isn’t to convince you of a political position.
That’s not my place. Instead, my goal for writing this is to plead with you to start to filter these situations through the lens of the Gospel of Jesus.
Don’t filter it through the lens of your safety.
Or your comfort.
Or what makes you feel the best.
Filter it through the lens of God’s character.
If the answers you get make you uncomfortable, you’re getting close to what God’s called us to.
He hasn’t called us to passive, comfortable lives where we do whatever it takes to insulate ourselves from the scary world around us.
He’s called us to a radical life of countercultural living, thinking, and being.
He’s called us to loving people in a way that makes no sense at all.
And he’s called us to do the things that are scary in the name of loving our neighbor as ourself.
Before you press post on that article screaming about how bad something is, take a minute to decide if you’ll be endorsing the Gospel of America or the Gospel of Jesus.
I’m rethinking almost every political view I’ve ever thought I held because I want to make sure it lines up with the heart of God.
I’d love for you to do the same.
Say your prayers and take your vitamins.
Have a nice day.