Yesterday I wrote an article entitled, “I’m looking for my people,” where I expressed my desire to see more perspectives that align with my own complicated middle-ground. In that article, I looked at the challenge of moderation from a political standpoint, but I also want to look at it from a Christian one.
One of the greatest challenges facing the American Christian today is reconciling their religious beliefs with their political ones. Historically, the Republican Party has, rather unfairly, laid claim to the Christian voter almost solely on the basis of abortion. Now, I’m going to tell you something that might shock you if you’re a Republican Christian reading this: abortion is not the only human rights violation occurring in our country, nor is it the only place where sin and brokenness are laid bare.
God cares as much about the black and brown bodies lying in the street as he does about the aborted fetus in the Planned Parenthood clinic.
God also cares equally about the police officer gunned down in a routine traffic stop, the family sleeping in the dirt behind a fence at the border, the small business owner who went out of business due to lockdown restrictions, the person you voted for who didn’t get elected, and the person you didn’t vote for who did. And no, he didn’t put those people in power as the savior of this country—Jesus is the only savior, and he didn’t come just for America.
God also cares about our hearts and the planet and a whole bunch of other things, some of which both the Democrat and Republican parties think they have answers for and all of which neither do.
So why do we have to live in a world where either black lives matter or blue lives matter, where either women’s lives matter or babies’ lives matter, where you either have the right to carry a gun or the right to not be shot by one, etc. etc. etc.?
The challenge to the American Christian is figuring out a way to reconcile the nuances of each of these platforms, some of which have ideals centrally aligned with the Christian mission and some of which don’t (and which, by the way, do NOT fall neatly along party lines), with the Gospel call to “act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.”
I don’t claim to have the answer to this challenge, but I do think we should all be wary of looking for the answer within a political party, cultural movement, or social media post. If you think any of these places or the people who lead them are going to give you an answer to the problems of sin and suffering in the world, you are mistaken, because they do not recognize the true source of the problem—the ubiquity of sin as part of the human condition, or the solution to it—redemptive healing and salvation through Jesus Christ.
If you are putting your hope in anything other than that, it is an idol and it will disappoint you like all idols do.
So as we face down the long road ahead, rather than looking to a president or a political party for answers to the problem of pain in this world, why not look at yourself and ask God where you have failed to be loving, to pursue justice, or to show mercy and how you, yes you, can bring his redemptive power to a broken world.
It is only when we take personal responsibility as individuals and collective responsibility as the Church, not as Republicans/Democrats/Conservatives/Liberals, that we can begin to move past the divisive rhetoric that has fragmented both the country and the church and can start to move forward with our Gospel calling.