Save the World: Talk Politics & Religion!
“Ding!” goes my phone. It’s an alert. In fact, it’s another alert from a major news outlet warning holiday goers not to ruin the holidays by discussing politics and religion.
Browsing Facebook, I see post after post saying, “It’s not good etiquette to speak of politics or religion with people who might disagree with you. You’ll cause a family feud if you do.”
I speak with my clergy pals. Again I hear, “Never speak of politics or of a theological view that your congregation disagrees with.”
“Why not, I ask?”
“Because people don’t change and they’ll crucify you.”
You Jesus followers, think about that one for a minute. Wasn’t Jesus the ultimate example on this one? Wasn’t he pretty clear about standing up for right, doing it with love, and not being afraid of the outcome?
I keep hearing from people two very concerning things:
1) Do not talk about politics or religion to people with ideas different from your own.
2) People don’t change so don’t try to convince them to change directions.
But Jesus didn’t teach us this!
Jesus said things like, “Go into all the world including the people who disagree with you and teach the good news–stuff like God loves everyone, God wants us to love everyone, God wants you to take care of those in need–of the poor and mistreated, God commanded humanity to take care of creation, God wants us to put the needs of others ahead of our own, etc.”
Jesus also showed us that the Spirit can transform even the worst of the worst. Look at the Apostle Paul. He was out there killing Christ’s followers and rounding them up for prosecution! And what does the Spirit do? The Spirit transforms Paul into the most prolific writer of the entire New Testament. What we know about the Jesus movement, we mostly owe to Paul. Now he is misunderstood a lot, but that is for another time.
What I want you (and me) to do is this… actually follow Jesus into the uncomfortable places that the Spirit wants to lead us. And in those places talk about God and politics. Do it with love. Be willing to be beat up and misunderstood. Because… if you don’t do it, all some people will ever hear is FOX news and a dangerous version of Christianity that teaches intolerance.
If things keep up the way they are, we’re all doomed. This is on us!
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