Friday, August 31, 2018

Why Do They Have To Be The Enemy?

Ugh. Once again we are in the middle of a politically charged environment. Really, it never ended. Once the most recent presidential election unfolded, the storm was set on what seems to be a never ending, irreversible course. The recent primaries in Florida revealed more of the same. Whether the craziness is the result of the storm or an additional driver to the storm is hard to tell.

When did we lose statesmen? Why can't we have an intellectual exchange of ideas where we discuss ideology without hatred and racism coming into the conversation? When did people of faith lose their convictions? When did Jesus become a Republican? Or when did he become a Democrat? Why are we afraid to stand on our own and to speak out against the hate speech that destroys our sense of well being. My kids are growing up in a culture where to be a follower of Christ you first have to align with some political party. If you align with the wrong one, then you are demonized by the other side and often in the name of LOVE. What's love got to do with it? Thanks, Tina Turner. Love has nothing to do with the arguments that are being thrown around. It's all about power and control. It's about ME and what is best for MY TRIBE. Doesn't anyone care about the others? Is there some new sacred text out there that justifies destroying those who disagree with us for the sake of our tribe coming out on top?

I'm aware of the Old Testament, for sure. As a matter of fact, I would consider myself a student of the Old Testament. I would have to put forward, though, that the conquering of lands by Israel was with a specific intent to describe the character of God for those people and was not ever intended to become the mantra of the people of God today. Nowhere do we see in the teachings of Jesus or in the post-resurrection writings that we are to elevate ourselves by putting others down. Quite the contrary.

Unfortunately early in church history, the idea of introducing others to the real Jesus went out the window, and instead protecting the TRIBE became the norm. If you don't fit into our mold, then you are evil, regardless of whether or not the mold looked anything like Jesus. So much time has passed and so much TRIBALISM has taken over the church that many find it hard to even know what Jesus might have been like. Read a passage of scripture that contradicts your tribe's philosophies. Share it with members of the tribe. Begin to talk like you believe the passage and that you feel like it contradicts the norm of the group. Begin to behave in a manner consistent with what you believe. See how long it takes for you to be shamed into submission for going against the accepted platform.

What would happen if we all took a deep breath and went to a quiet place for a while? What if we saw those around us as people and not positions? What if we became less concerned about tribal bonds and more concerned about helping everyone find their way? No wonder the world - even the American world - wants very little to do with Jesus. Those who claim to follow Him have so demonized those who disagree with them there seems to be little to no hope for them anyway. If following Jesus means taking on the nature of some political candidate, then that doesn't interest me at all. If following Jesus means taking on the nature of Jesus, then let's talk. If your posts and actions say one thing but your Sunday talk says another .... well that's a problem for all of us isn't it?

I am just as much a hypocrite as the next person for sure. I will say, though, that I am trying to be open to what is happening and to see the world around me in a different light - one that isn't filled with hatred and disgust but instead is filled with compassion and understanding. Why do those who think differently than we do have to be the enemy?

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