I thought we Christians agreed on the things that Jesus said and did, and the attributes he embodied and wanted us to strive to achieve.
I ‘m going through a second puberty, much uglier and scarier than the first. At times, my faith’s new terrain is unnavigable and unrecognizable, because of the fusion of politics and religion by some.
Where is my Jesus?
This is important for so many reasons.
When was the last time you heard any Christian politician talk about Jesus, or these very simple cornerstones of our faith?
Whenever you help the least of these, you help me.
They will know you by the way you love one another.
Love your neighbor as yourself.
Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and don’t hide from relatives who need help. Then, your salvation will come like the dawn, and . . . when you call, I will answer. (This particular quote is from Isaiah, not the New York Times).
Don’t want to take what belongs to your neighbor.
Don’t commit adultery.
Honor your father and mother.
Judge not, or you will be judged
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.
Love God with your whole heart, mind, and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself.
All of us, Christian or not, are losing when Jesus and the things he stands for are dropped from the equation.
We lose peace and solace. Our faith is where we turn to get away from the ugliness and endless blame game of this world—our sanctuary.
In terms of Christianity, Jesus was supposed to be what Christians agreed on. It was the beginning of all further conversations. In terms of other faiths, see the point immediately below.
We lose identity and our voice. The Christian Evangelical political movement has become so powerful that non- Christians equate” Evangelical” with all of Christianity, and we non- Evangelical Christians feel like an endangered species. No one is listening to us at the moment. But, maybe they should. We’ve been walking in our faith since no one knew what Evangelical was. We’ve seen and learned there is a vast difference between attempting to vote one’s
Christian conscience as a factor in politics, and allowing politics to dictate the very tenets of our faith, or what we are allowed to believe.
We lose leadership. If we’re the peacekeepers, and we don’t love, agree, or even tolerate each other, why on earth would anyone listen to us?
Ask yourself, who wins and profits if the Body of Christ is at each other’s throats?
As long as the politically powerful control the narrative and tell us what Christians are and aren’t, they retain power.
Power always acts the same.
Who decided Christianity was a “winner- take -all” full contact team sport?
The discord, “the all or nothing”, “you’re with us or against us ideology” is false, perpetrated by those who know better. If we buy into it, we lose the ability to be effective or solve problems. We lose compassion and grace for those who threaten or challenge us, and thereby lose Jesus himself. We lose our moral standard. We no longer know what’s over the line, because there is no line.
But, if we can agree on just these few things, we can solve a great many “insurmountable” problems within and without our faith:
Jesus isn’t for sale
He’s not a political prop.
He stands for certain things, none of which is being in the elite 1 percent.
He is the standard.
He isn’t ego or economically driven.
As the body of Christ, it isn’t helpful or effective to cut off limbs.
If we don’t allow others to dictate membership in our faith, drown different voices out, or dictate what we believe and what is possible, we can’t lose, because we realize it isn’t winner take all. We can all rise to the greater world vision Jesus called us to have. We can see that the narrative saying it’s impossible to have compassion and care for the powerless is just that—a narrative. We know who we are and who we stand for.
I’m not abdicating fiscal responsibility for the nation, but we must hold true to the example and teachings that underpin our faith, as we make the difficult decisions.
The entire world is watching us after our crazy election.
The oppressed still need justice. The starving still need food. The lost, marginalized, and hopeless still need a beacon. We can stay humble and caring, or we can devolve into us vs. them, all adrift on individual life preservers, with no shore in sight.
Isn’t it ultimately what’s in our hearts that counts? Are they still open and hopeful, or are they closed tight? Can we expect our prayers to God for mercy, forgiveness, and justice to be answered, if we don’t allow others to receive those things? The answer determines the fate of the soul of a nation.
L E Kinzie
“A spiritual journey is a terrible thing to waste.”