Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Christians and Politically Charged Facebook Posts

I missed the debate tonight but that’s okay because I can get plenty of passionately opinionated responses on Facebook as to who won! 

Tonight one of my Facebook friends left a comment on his status that he will be getting off of Facebook until November 7th because he is sick of the political bickering on both sides.  Honestly I am very tempted to do the same.  One thing that particularly breaks my heart in the midst of this political season is how many Christians are so aligning themselves with one party or the other to the point that it comes across that they see their own opinions as being God’s opinion.  In other words if their candidate doesn’t win then evil has triumphed.  However, I think there is another kind of evil that is being propagated through social media that in my opinion is more destructive than the election of a certain presidential candidate.

I am not against Christians having political opinions.  The truth is that we all have opinions and hopefully most folks take great effort to make sure that our opinions are well-informed. However when any Christian becomes so vocal about a particular party or candidate it gives me pause because it is giving way too much weight to something which is certainly peripheral to the Christian faith.  The way some folks are posting on Facebook one might think that backing one of the two candidates is as important as any other matter of the Christian faith.  I am concerned because when this type of posture is taken it becomes a way of siding with the divisions of our fallen broken world and its systems rather than with the redemptive beauty of Christ. 

In the Apostle Paul’s day the world was just as divisive (actually probably more so).  And it was in that context Paul wrote the stunning words of Galatians 3:28-29
 “In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ. Also, since you are Christ’s family, then you are Abraham’s famous “descendant,” heirs according to the covenant promises.(The Message)”  
Whenever we, as Christ-followers, jump head-long into the political divisiveness of this world in a very public way we are not simply taking a political stand but endorsing and empowering the same barriers that keep people divided in our world.  The good news of the Gospel is that in Christ all of the identifiers of our world are made secondary in Him.  It doesn’t matter where you come from, what gender you are, what socio-economic class or race you are.  In Christ all of those divisions are made irrelevant or at least secondary. 

As people wishing to live in such a way as to announce the kingdom of God and the rule of King Jesus we are definitely taking a step back into slavery whenever we step into playing the same old divisive power game of the world.  I don’t think that this means that a Christian cannot have political opinions or even back a candidate, but when we do, it must be in a redemptive and reconciling way (we have some Biblical examples of this with Daniel and Joseph of the Old Testament). 

It would be good for us Christians to remember that the political system of Rome in the first century was both brutal and corrupt, yet neither Jesus nor Paul (or any of the disciples for that matter) spent any time railing against it.  They realized, as should we, that there is a kingdom more powerful than Rome and a king greater than Caesar.  They also realized that the foolishness and weakness of the Gospel would work like yeast through dough (in hidden and mysterious ways) and ultimately prove more powerful than Rome or Caesar. 

We must ask ourselves if the publicizing of our political opinions in such passionate and black-and-white terms is in line with the posture of Jesus and the apostles or if it is in fact a type of reasoning that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.  Whatever the outcome of the election our hope is in neither Romney or Obama but in King Jesus.

My hope is that democrats and republicans, anarchists and green partiers, libertarians an libertines, tea partiers and tea totlers, gays and lesbians, celibates and straight couples, rich and poor, black and white, illegal aliens and native Americans, protestants and Catholics, pro-guns and no guns would come to know Jesus as their king and to live in the reality of His kingdom.  May we live in such a way that tears down the barriers in our culture or society that stand against this end.

Listening Christians?

I suspect if non-Christians were asked for words or phrases to describes those in church, their responses would not likely include the phrase "good listeners".  Let's try and change that.  That's all I have to say...