This is Part ONE of a THREE-part series written for friends and followers of Christ, who live in the United States, as we each seek to survive the mysterious year 2020 and prepare for a generation changing election in November. My friendship and respect for each of you has led me to the share both my thoughts, offer my voice of concern and challenge us to look at how we decide to vote differently.
After all the rhetoric surrounding the two political convention, the RNC’s pitch to re-brand Trump this past week, and the DNC’s push to emphasize the lack of leadership during the pandemic, one can want to just turn it all off and walk away.
But I could not help reflect the RNC’s direct pitch to “Evangelicals” and their political strategy to officially wed the shared alliance between those who profess a belief and allegiance to Christ and those who have a share the Republican’s patriotic love of country. Loving God now means loving America; the “Evangelicals” joined together with “MAGA.” The RNC has made this case because without the evangelicals… Trump will not win in November. Plain and simple.
Christians and Christianity have now been officially dismissed… seen not as the body of people who love and live like Christ… but rather as a political action group… the fulfillment of Jerry Falwell’s dream in the 70s (father of the fallen Falwell) for a political party called the “Moral Majority.” Christians have now reaped what we sowed over the past 50 years by attending church v. being the church.”Cross” + “country” has never been what Christ intended for his church. It is not reflective of what it means to live out the Gospel or a picture of an authentic Christ-like life. It is not what Christ modeled. Instead, it is an expression of both “nationalism” and the making of country as “idol.”
The cause of “Making-America-Great-Again” should not be the preoccupation of a Christ-follower’s life or focus. Our allegiance and preoccupation is first and foremost to Christ. Jesus’ very words were to “Render unto to Caesar that which belongs to Caesar… (but make sure you) tender unto God the things that are God’s (Mark 12:17). Ours is the call to live with the tension of country and cross… but never a call to serve “two” masters.
How should we live… and what does life look like? Simply said, like I said in an earlier post… we live with little or no preoccupation about our allegiance to either political party… and with no sense of pre-occupation about making any country great (again?). What it also means is that aChrist-follower should never retreat back into silence or be known and allow themselves to be viewed as a non-participant in life and culture. It is not about becoming a hermit… retreating into silence… practicing non-involvement… or a putting our heads-in-the-sand,” surrendering our voice to others and not standing up for what is right.
Over the years I have come to understand that this means praying for our country and its leaders… but living a life of full engagement and participation in our world… not hiding in church buildings, but living life to the fullest according to the unique contribution and influence He has shaped into each of our lives.We are called to participate (salt-light) not disengage (Matt. 5:13-16). I believe we should seek to redeem the few days God has allotted to each of us by BEING the Gospel vs. shouting at people the words of the Gospel. To offer a portrait of Christ-likeness to our world… to love mercy… to lift up the oppressed… to care for the poor… to be a voice to the marginalized.
Each of these behaviors were demonstrated in the life of Christ. We are to live out Jesus in our front-yarsd… using our privilege and power to move beyond the comfort so many Christians seek to protect… and to have a voice and stand for what Christ stood for. Ours is a call to adopt a worldview + life similar to that of Christ… who was an immigrant and part of an oppressed people. Who refused to organize an overthrow the powers that be… but by his life became part of the discussion, and who chose to model how life should be lived under a dictatorial Roman Empire. That changed the world. And that can (and will) change the world again.
So… I guess now we know who you are voting for Terry in November? Maybe. But you might be surprised why. The topic of my next blog
By the way… several of the thoughts above come a friend of mine. Here is a resource to help you think through this issue in a deeper way, and one I highly recommend. Jon Huckins and the Global Immersion Project are friends: https://globalimmerse.org/