Have you ever heard the phrase, “The church should never talk about politics”? I’ll amend that statement to say that the church should never talk partisan politics.
You see, for the church to not talk about politics, it would negate many of the words, actions, parables, death, and resurrection of Jesus. A historical verse by verse analysis of the Gospels would uncover the undertones of Jesus’ interaction with Jewish and Roman officials. Whether we like this fact or not, Jesus was crucified as a political and religious insurrectionist.
The church should not be in the business of talking about partisan politics. Still, it should be in the business of nurturing and equipping its people to live out the way of Jesus in the world, which can often bump up against the world's political ideologies and systems.
The challenge facing American Christians today is the tremendous polarizing nature of partisan politics. The American political party system has drawn an apparent line in the sand, forcing people to pick a side.
Our partisan world has entrenched family member against family member, friend against friend, faith sojourner against faith sojourner. And for what?
We have divided ourselves with such hatred over politicians that we will never meet, will never do us a personal favor, and will never directly impact our lives. That politician does not care about you. You are a pawn for election.
However, what if this is not what Jesus has in mind for his followers? What if instead of toting party lines and blindly giving loyalty to a political figure, Jesus is more interested in us living out his way of peace, justice, mercy, kindness, civility, homogeny, and love no matter the cost?
What if Jesus is less concerned over whether you vote Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or Independent, and more concerned with fidelity to a way that doesn’t contradict a love for God and neighbor, no matter who that neighbor is?
This Sunday, we are beginning a new conversation, “Forging Through the Fog: How the Church Leads a Grace-Filled Way in an Era of Partisan Politics.”
And I will make a promise to you. You will not hear from my lips the names of candidates, any insinuation of who you should and should not vote for, nor clever ways to make you feel theologically guilty for casting a particular vote. Instead, you will hear me preach from the truth found in the Scriptures empowering Jesus’ followers to navigate these challenging times.