Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Religion & Politics

This last Sunday we focused on this question: "Why do Christians hate Obama? Why are churches not a place where Conservatives and Liberals love Jesus together?" This was a question that we gathered over the last couple weeks. There is one part of the question that I would like to say more about ------ and then see what you all think.

There are times when we do not want to hear from people that have different opinions or points of view. As a result of this we will perceive what someone is going to say about a subject, and then shut them out from a meaningful conversation. We might perceive them as "Conservative" and therefore not want to hear from them because we think of them as narrow minded and cold. Or we might perceive someone as "Liberal" and therefore not want to hear from them because we think of them as idealistic or morally relativistic. But, what Christ offers us is a new humanity that is found at the cross. Where we are all gathered on level ground, and can only stand pointing at the one who reigns and rules from the cross shaped throne. At the feet of Jesus, he makes all things new ------ even this new reality of breaking down the walls that have divided us [Ephesians 2.13-16].

In order to live into this new reality it takes work on our part. The best way I have learned to live into this new reality is through the habit of listening by way of relationships. I have to continuously put the person that is in front of me ahead of my own desires or wants. I have to lift them up and encourage them to share their story with me. And in that sharing there is trust and mutual love.

Every morning my family and I gather for morning prayer. We decided to start praying the "Apostles' Creed" along with our prayers. We took a version that includes "he descended into hell". I was not used to praying that part of the Apostles' Creed. Before I would just pray: "he suffered under Pontius Pilate. Was crucified, dead, and buried. On the third day he rose from the dead." It took about a year for me to change the way I prayed the Apostles' Creed. It was hard work ------ and I continuously struggled through it with my family. They sometimes had to stop me and say ------ no, pray it this way. And after a year it became a habit. And now I know it in my heart and mind.

This is what I mean by the hard work of sharing mutual love and trust. It is hard work to listen to others. It is hard work to be friends with people that we disagree with. It is hard work to love people that share a different point of view. But this is part of the hard work of living into this new reality that Jesus has made and is making. The new reality of a new humanity that is found in him. Where there are not the dividing walls ------ but instead where we can acknowledge that we are sons and daughters of the King of kings and Lord of lords.

When it comes to loving Jesus alongside folks that differ from you, how have you learned to live in mutual love and trust?

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