Dear Political Christian,

Edit: in 2017, with hindsight this post is absolute horseshit. The original post was completely written to call out the right for their unabashed hatred for Obama. They didn’t have reasons other than the color of his skin. I worked for the folks I was calling out. Now I’d just punch them. Those weren’t  imitators of Christ. Those were assholes. Get out there. Get loud. Don’t let rightwing assholes rule the world. We actually CAN change the world for the better. 

As we continue pressing on toward November I thought it would do our relationships some good if we touched base real quick.

See, I’m a Christian, too. I really love my Bible. Like you I am amazed every time I think about how God made a way for me to become one of his children.

I’ve seen that you’re going to be passionate about the country we live in and the direction you sense we are going in. I think that’s great. I’m pretty passionate, too. For example, I can sing and sing and not really say anything significant because the emotion behind my words can reach people in meaningful ways. Passion, right? I get way too caught up in competitions. That’s totally passion. Small parts of my brain explode when I read someone using the wrong spelling of your/you’re. That’s some passion AND some brain damage. 

I get passion. I understand what it’s like to be wrapped up in something I feel is extremely important.

So, you’re going to tweet. You’re going to debate. You may even point out how dumb the opposing view is. But would you mind if we pause for a second and think about what all the fuss is about?

I just want us to be careful about politics. Especially if we’re going to be showy. Especially if we are a leaders (and chances are if you’re one to speak up, you are a leader). And especially if we are Christians keeping in mind that one of the top five reasons people aren’t interested in our faith is because “Christians are too political“- (and at least since the rise of fundamentalism, we definitely have been).

Keep in mind that no government will be perfect. We can’t all get our way and feel great about it until we experience perfection in our rulers, our government, or kingdom. We crave and get small hints at what that might feel like to experience the perfect kingdom, but it will continue to be out of our reach so long as we are building the tower there ourselves.

The thing is, what we are craving and looking forward to is the completion of the kingdom of God.

I don’t know what that means to you. But for me that means worrying a whole lot more about taking care of people, building relationships, and staying humble- things that contribute to the kingdom of God. And therefore worrying significantly less about policy and government. Because, let’s be real: we aren’t going to win hearts through policy. No one is.

If you and I are both Christians, I think we should be concerned with loving and serving the people who disagree with us most. Not condemning them. Not announcing how idiotic their ideas are. Not belittling certain people groups for having different points of view. And we certainly should not be using all of our passion on a campaign. We are Christians. We have been too political. Let’s pull our fists out of the air and extend our open hands forward to welcome people into a conversation that is eternally more meaningful.

So hold on to your views. I guess you’re entitled to them. Just be careful and remember to keep this tiny government in perspective against the creator of the entire universe, k?

Ok. I love you. Good talk.

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16 comments

  1. Chad, I don’t think it is an either/or proposition: “loving and serving” vs. caring about “policy and government”. I do not believe that these are mutually exclusive, and in many cases, I believe the two can go hand in hand. We know from Romans and I Peter that we are to submit to authority (and this was written during the time of the Roman emperors) and obey the law…except when the law contradicts God’s law (Acts 4:19). I happen to believe there are some laws that are on the books today that directly contradict God’s law (laws that are protected by a certain Supreme Court case from the early 1970’s, perhaps?).

    Now, here’s the neat part: we are blessed to live in a country where the system of government in place allows us to be active participants in that government and in the policies it adopts. When we take an active part in that system (caring for “policy and government”), we are “honoring the emperor” – that is, honoring the government (I Peter 2:17). When we use the position we have in this country as active citizens to advocate for just laws, how in the world does this take away from our “loving and caring” for others?

    As with anything, we must be careful and guard our hearts against it taking the place of God in our lives. But, as I’m sure you’d agree, this applies to anything we do or are engaged in – including ministry and church programs.

    **PS – as an aside, I don’t know how much I would cite Barna research. As someone who has been well trained in research/survey methodology, his work is often…well, let’s just say it doesn’t hold up to questions of rigor. :-) Hope you’re well, Chad. I always enjoy presenting a different perspective and chatting with you on it…even when you never follow up. ;-) Can’t remember the topic of the post when you said you’d get back to me, but I don’t recall seeing that response. No pressure, of course. LOL :-)

    • Hey Roy!

      Thanks for responding.

      I agree with you- I don’t think it’s an either/or proposition. I’m addressing hateful rhetoric and being mindful of how your behaviors communicate. I’m not proposing a solution between to ideas, but rather pointing out how aware we need to be of the tension that can arise in between them- and even more so, how the way we handle that tension communicates to people around us.

      I am so sorry I never followed up about Versus. But my response to that one is the same: I’m not polarizing ideals, but attempting to create awareness of how our behaviors communicate (especially to young non-believers).

      Really? You don’t like Barna? I’ve had to take a lot of courses on social research as well (although I’m sure not as much as you have, you brilliant guy, you) and I’ve always been cool with them.

      Thanks again, Roy. Always good to hear from you.

      • Chad, thanks for the response. I suppose it was the somewhat snarky tone that I picked up from your post. What I mean by that is the “open letter” format, including the closing. As such, it came across as somewhat belittling to those who do believe that there is a significant role for Christians in the political processes of this country. That said, we are in absolute agreement in terms of general political tone. Our words, our conversations need to ALWAYS glorify Christ – not just in political discussions, but in EVERY discussion. Actually, that kind of loops back to what I said above, about the tone. If you did not intend to be somewhat sarcastic here, forgive me. I realize just how tough it is to convey tone and intention through only the written word. On top of that, I completely appreciate sarcasm and realize just how much Jesus used it. I just find that it’s difficult to tell someone in sarcastic tones to stop using such rhetorical devices. :-)

        Brilliant? Me? Hardly. :-) Overeducated, perhaps. :-) I hope my postscript did not come across arrogantly or boastfully, but rather as a critique that I have heard from both within and without evangelicalism regarding Barna. He often plays a bit fast and loose with his findings, suggesting relationships and causality that may not be legitimate or valid findings from his data.

        • A snarky tone? Yeah, I guess I always run that risk. I’m really good at sounding like that. So much so that I have to tell those closest to me when I am actually being sarcastic. I was blessed with a naturally sarcastic-sounding voice.

          Now, if I was going to use sarcasm to make a point sort of close to what I was getting at here I probably would have proposed another crusade, a government recall, maybe debate which should be bigger on the lapel- a cross or an american flag, and pointed out at least 17 antichrists in the government. :) Boom. Actual Sarcasm.

          And nah, I didn’t think you were being arrogant. Just brilliant.

          • I don’t know if you ever saw the movie, Head of State (starred Chris Rock), but your response reminded me of a scene from that movie. Rock’s opponent in the race for the presidency would always conclude his speeches with the phrase, “God bless America…and nowhere else!” I can see this in your sarcastic scene above. :-)

            As for being gifted, I sympathize. My wife has told me for years that I can have such a “tone”, but I really don’t hear it in myself. It’s just my prayer that I don’t come across in such a way when I’m sharing the gospel, you know? Of course, I seem to remember a passage in the Bible about the tongue being incredibly hard to control… :-)

  2. I agree that no government will be perfect, but hold that it *would have been* perfect if man had stuck to God’s plan in the first place. This is also true for the areas of economics, education, and … well … everything.

    Beginning with the act that got us all evicted from the Garden of Eden, man just keeps on making a mess of things. And, as if that weren’t bad enough, we tend to think we can clean up our messes – which only makes things worse. Of course, this is just my tiny earthly view of things.

    I agree that we need to keep it all in perspective. We need to keep our eyes (focus, motivation, purpose) on building the Kingdom of God and doing so HIS way, which is to always … ALWAYS walk in love.
    Always.
    Love.


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