I’m not sure I’ve seen what I see in our country and society when it comes to the division and emotions. It seems we are all asked to pick a side, name our view and whatever little thing we may choose to say or post on social media we are immediately ushered onto a team and told that this is now our team and we must espouse the views of this team. We are quickly put into categories, black and white, right and wrong. The somewhat crazy thing to me is that while we may not agree with many of the stands of the particular team we are placed on, we are not allowed to have no team. Every view point or opinion is clearly a reflection of our team. It’s just not that easy and I think we do a disservice to one another when we villianize or applaud based on a comment or thought. This is incredibly difficult as a pastor and as a church. And it’s times like today where I am most thankful that we have chosen years ago to not make political comments as a church. Our philosophy has always been, “we know that we likely only get people’s attention for a minute and if we only have a minute we want to be known for Jesus – we are about Jesus, we want you to know Jesus and we want Jesus to be what we’re known for!!” It’s not that we don’t or I don’t have opinions, I do. In fact we all have opinions whether we know anything about the issue! 🙂 But I don’t want to be known and I don’t want our church to be known for our opinions, but for our Jesus! That is where change really is possible!
However, there is an even bigger struggle to all of this. What happens when the issue that is being debated and discussed actually has some morality to it, like what if it directly impacts something that Jesus has said or how God has made us as human beings. Can we talk about such issues from a biblical perspective without being labeled or “put on” a team? My experience so far has been “no”. So do I risk saying things that are clearly biblical and being misunderstood as adopting a political side/ team and therefore lose the possibility of influence because I will be “shut off” from further communication with the “other” side? Do you see the quandry it places a church/pastor in? Yes, I would love everyone to know God’s heart and direction, but what if sharing that heart and direction risks the strong likelihood that you’ll miss Jesus, the only real possibility to follow that direction and live in response to that heart? The reality is if Jesus were in physical form today, I honestly believe he would be villianized by both the democrats and republicans. Jesus would say things that would drive both sides crazy, because on one hand He would say something that sounds so republican but then in another statement it would sound democrat and times we’d wonder if his views lined up more with some third party. The reality is the kingdom of God, the teaching of Jesus is inviting us to a way that is neither party, in fact, I hate to say it but I’m not sure it fits at all on planet earth, let alone America.
Jesus is inviting the church (christians) to be a new kind of community, a new kind of people. People who are influential not because of their power but because of their seeming weakness. At the end of the day, Jesus knows that it’s not the perfectly crafted tweet or Facebook that influences people, it’s the lives we live. It’s when we go down when everyone else is powering up. It’s humbling ourselves rather than “fighting for a voice”. It’s serving the very people who are criticizing or dismissing us. It’s honoring the weak, caring for the hurting and living with integrity, wisdom and intentionality. I don’t believe the church will ever or should ever be the “moral majority” especially as it’s been played out. I believe it’s for churches like ours to begin to discover and live out a new community, a new humanity that does not play by the same rules, that surprises the world with it’s grace and service, that speaks in ways that create intrigue and interest. So that at the end of the day, unbelievers are invited and compelled to know more and to want more of what we have, not to dismiss or villianize. And as they step into our churches, as they’re invited over for meals and as they rub shoulders in the world we live – the one constant that they always hear and see is Jesus. Because it’s only in Jesus where true transformation of individuals, families, cities and cultures can occur.