In the wake of a really insane couple of weeks (and months if you want to go that far back) I have been taking some time to reflect on who I am, what my priorities are, and how I, as a Christian, can engage and talk about the politics of our country. Kris Valloton recently did this in a Facebook live post where he talked about his 12 points that guide his political philosophy. They were great and if you are connected to him on Facebook it is worth taking a look. However, I am not Kris and no one wants to look at my face while I talk about politics, so here are my four political guideposts in a blog instead. It is my hope that in future posts I will be able to discuss specific positions that can help generate dialogue between those of us who suddenly find ourselves on opposite ends of a divided nation. Now onto the list.
1 – Jesus is Lord; he died and was resurrected for the forgiveness of sin and life everlasting. I am a Christian. You can call me born again, you can call me evangelical, I don’t particularly care about what labels you want to put on me, the bottom line is that I believe that Jesus is lord and that he died and was resurrected for the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting.
What this means: I don’t care what denomination you are from, I don’t care about the nuances of your doctrine or theology, if we can agree on Jesus, then we can be together, we can live together and we are allies.
2 – God is love and light and there is no room in Him for darkness or hatred. – “What Father, when his son asks for an egg, gives him a snake?” I believe that our heavenly Father is a good father in a good mood and that he wants us to be just like him: good people in a good mood, who are eager to love others.
What this means: There is literally nothing you can do that can make me hate you. I might disagree, I might disagree very loudly and at great length, but do not for one moment think that I hate you.
3 – Non-Christians cannot be held to the same moral standards as Christians, but they must be loved nonetheless. I’m not perfect and I have the benefit of the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness of sins. How much harder is it for other people to live up the standards that Jesus set? And how cruel would it be of me to ask that of them?
What this means: Those who do not share my faith, are the people I should love and be compassionate towards the most and not in a “I want to save you” kind of way. Rather in a “you look like you could use a hug.” kind of way.
4 – The United States of America is not, and never has been, a “Christian Nation.” People are Christian. Countries are not. Furthermore, democracy, as a form of government, is not a Christian value (I’m really confused about where that came from) but submission is. Namely submission to a King and to the King’s appointed ministers. In such a worldview, the greatest heresy of the USA is the Revolutionary War which insisted on a secular government.
What this means: I am, essentially, a believer in exile. A Christian in the USA should think of him/herself as an exile like the Jews in Babylon, or after the destruction of the second temple.
Put these all together and you come to the conclusion that the Christian is not here to change laws, nor are we here to require an unbelieving people blindly and unwillingly follow the doctrines of the Church. Rather, the Christian is meant to exist as an emissary of light, a beacon of hope, and a promise of better things to come. Certainly this means that we talk about abortion differently than everyone else, and certainly it means we choose to excuse ourselves from certain practices that are legal, but nonetheless unethical. But it is because we are a holy priesthood, not because we are better.
Put all these together and you get a picture of a hurting world, a hurting people, for whom the Christian is a succor. A hurting people begging for mercy and compassion from anyone or anything and the Christian is the only one who can show up for the long haul.