I’ve been reading a lot lately about religion and politics, especially in light of the latest round of elections. These articles and commentaries about have me convinced that when it comes to certain topics, we as a nation are more polarized then ever, and I find it quite sad.
I wonder if faith should have a place in the political arena at all. Well not exactly, faith does belong there, but not in the vein one has seen it lately. I am of the mind that some have missed the point of what it is we Christians are supposed to do when we see things we think should be different. It looks like we’ve become a people of accusing, name calling finger pointers instead of people of respectful, graciousness with a strong desire to help.
Maybe it is because of the time of year. But I always take the time to reflect as where I am as a person and as a Christian. How have I done this past year? Have I lived up to the true principles of my faith, or have I been a detriment to the purpose I’ve been given? Likely a little of both. However I know it is best to follow that simple command from a former Jewish carpenter. “Love God with every fiber of your being, and love everyone around you as much as you love you.” That second part is the stickler for me and I’m sure for many others, but it is so important.
I read the other day where some in the religious right think that their movement has been a failure. It sounds almost like they are taking their toys and going home in a snit. I happen to agree with the article actually. The movement by Dr. Dobson and others have been, in my opinion focusing on the wrong things, and compromising in places just so “The other guys” don’t get elected. I wish instead they had focused on more relevent topics, like working to help keep christian marriages strong so the divorce rates amongst Christians don’t equal or exceed secular rates. Or, encouraging parental involvement in the schools, asking them to volunteer to sit on PTO’s or to help kids with homework, or to make schools work because we parents want them to. Or focusing on teaching and championing healthy sexual relationships, teaching that sex is part of a relationship, NOT just the relationship; and showing compassion, respect and love, so that a girl, when faced with an unexpected pregnancy, has support from others and then makes abortion the last choice, not the first.
For the other side? Willingess to help others on the social spectrum is an awesome things, but teaching them to stand on their own so they too can help others is even better. Also that they remember that personal choice does have a cost. Every action has an effect, so lets minimize any long term negative effects just so one can have their freedom. Personal freedoms do come with personal reponsibility, one must never forget that. We may be individuals, but so is your neighbor. You love our enviroment, so lets be practicle about getting to solutions, and demonstrate better your willingness to use those solutions.
For both sides? Please just stop looking badly at each other and instead find ways to work together, if possible on finding real solutions to real problems, like ensuring great education for our schools, like teaching better financial practices to people so the current situation doesn’t make a repeat, like encouraging and implementing smart, realistic solutions to local enviromental issues, like championing volunteerism in every spectrum, and helping people so that they can soon not need so much help so that the government can ease its burdens to help those in need.
Whether you are a Christian or not, being kind and respectful to those around us, being stewards of the land we find ourselves in, being willing to engage in pro-active dialoge and action to help our communities benefits all, and has a much greater impact then some political or religious pundit stating their opinions.
I’ll leave you with this, from my favorite bible translation. It is what I will try to follow the upcoming year.
1 Peter 2:17 (The Message)
13-17Make the Master proud of you by being good citizens. Respect the authorities, whatever their level; they are God’s emissaries for keeping order. It is God’s will that by doing good, you might cure the ignorance of the fools who think you’re a danger to society. Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government.
Yeah it’s a tough one, but imagine if more people did this?
Ok, my sermon is done. Have a great Easter everyone.