The Politics of Hate, Fear, and Exclusion-ism

The Politics of Hate, Fear, and Exclusion-ism

Ok, with a headline like that you know that I am not going to be wading in to the topic of politics softly. Like most people I have been watching the meteoric rise and fall of presidential candidates lately with something of a shocked expression. Candidates who seemed to be destined to be elected are no longer heard of and those thought of as a joke are now in the lead. This idea has been bubbling up in my head for a while now, but I had to finally spend a moment and write it down.

If 40% of Republicans are for Donald Trump then our country has a very, very big problem.

I think what makes me saddest about this whole election cycle is the people who say “Trump is just saying what other people are thinking.” Can that really be true? Can 40% of republicans really think that we need to keep out all Muslim people? I understand that it sounds good in a sound bite, but can 40% of republicans really think that calling immigrants (illegal or not) thieves and rapists is a good way to reach them with the truth of the gospel? Because remember, Christians, our ultimate goal is not to “make America great again.” Our ultimate goal is the ministry of reconciliation that is given to us. Our goal is to introduce people to Jesus and how can we do that if we are constantly living in fear of the very same people that we should be trying to reach?

Listen, the problem isn’t that Trump may one day be president. On a daily life scale the persons elected in my state and home town have a bigger influence on my life than the president. On top of that the checks and balances of our country when they are working correctly keep things from running too far in any weird direction.

The problem is that what Trump represents and what sort of fear and pain he is tapping into to gain support. People are afraid. They are afraid of loss of jobs. They are afraid of terrorists. They are afraid of a country in which their values are no longer the dominate values. I understand this. These are fears that I share.

BUT

But we cannot violate those same values just because we are afraid.

I think it is telling that The Walking Dead is such a popular TV show. Ultimately it isn’t popular because of the zombies. What makes that show compelling is people in desperate times struggling to survive while they try to carve out some new sense of morality. People who are following Trump have that feel to me. They are afraid and want their way of life to survive so they are trying to create a morality that can support someone who promises to help.

But, Christians, Americans, please, we cannot go down this path. Down the path of hate is destruction. Christians we cannot fight our way out of this crisis we are in. We cannot push others down or grasp for power. The only way that we can ever get off of this path is to pray and live like Jesus. That is what our country needs, not walls or bigotry, but honest prayer and lives that point people to a savior.

 

One a side note:

Of all of the Trump ideas the one that scares me the most is the banning of Muslims. The reason it scares me is that it won’t be very long before someone new comes to power, someone who doesn’t like Christians very much, and if Christians don’t wake up and start living like Jesus more than living like combatants, that same person could start deporting Christians or limiting the freedoms of Christians and use rules put in place by Trump to do it.

I believe that religious freedom is the most important freedom for all peoples. If you are scared, declare war on a country and ban people from that country, but banning Muslims is banning people who what they believe. Once we start legislating people’s beliefs we are on a quick slope towards all beliefs being banned.

 

 

Mistaken Identity

Mistaken Identity

How is is that Christians have the message of the greatest love ever and what most people in this country think of when they think of Christians is of a close-minded bigot spouting hate? We have the greatest love ever and we would rather argue about sin than reach out in service. I don’t know who is more at fault for our mistaken identity the world for misrepresenting who we are or Christians for being so unloving that they are able to get away with it.

The Focus of the Church

The Focus of the Church

Our focus on doctrinal orthodoxy becomes unhealthy the moment it begins to detract from the primary task of actually proclaiming the gospel. While theology is important, even fundamental to the Christian task, it is, nevertheless, a third-order activity. The tertiary activity of theological reflection follows upon the primary Christian activities of worship and witness. Theology functions as a servant to worship and witness, providing a necessary critique of those activities according to the standard of Scripture. And when theology leaves its service role behind to demand primary attention, it has risen above its station and grasped for a glory that it may not possess. –Dr. Malcolm Yarnell http://baptisttheologians.blogspot.com/2014/06/mea-culpa-heart-confession-of.html

Board Games for Your Family

Board Games for Your Family

I have been doing lots of board games lately, including using many games before our youth meetings, and as always I would like to promise to get some reviews up soon, but let’s be honest that probably isn’t happening so instead here is my 3rd grader and I talking about his top 10 favorite board games. All of these (except maybe Coup because I think it needs more players) can be played with you family. My 5-year-old normally plays on mom or dad’s team on the more complicated games.

 

“Standing up for our rights” Always makes my heart hurt

“Standing up for our rights” Always makes my heart hurt

I’m not going to go into a whole big Duck Dynasty debate. I mean what is left to say that hasn’t been said. He has free speech to say what he wants. A&E has the freedom not to associate with him because of what he says.*

But every time I hear anyone on any side of this thing it just makes my heart hurt, and what hurts me most are Christians. When I hear Christians “standing up for what is right” it just causes a deep pain inside of me. Not because they aren’t right. Not because our country isn’t going downhill. Not because I think they are bad people, or bigots, or closed-minded or judgmental. My heart hurts because every time a Christian “takes a stand” against homosexuality that is one more kid who is gay who is never going to listen to the message of love that Jesus has to offer.

I’m not saying that we should water down the truth. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t teach the Bible. I am saying that we have to decide if our mission is to take a stand against what is wrong in this world or is it to share the message of Jesus with those people who desperately need to know the love and forgiveness He offers. If it is the former then boycott away. Stand with Phil and post on Facebook about abominations and persecution.

But if it is the later, if our mission is to share the message of Jesus then Christians must STOP being so militant and start being more missional. There is a whole country full of people who are never going to listen to the love and forgiveness offered by Jesus if they don’t see the love from Christians, and that begins with love that is real, not just thrown in at the beginning of a rant (I love everyone, but those beef eaters are killing this country, etc).

My mission, my desire to share the gospel with teenagers gets harder each time there is another Christian uprising. I honestly don’t have anything more to add to this debate. It just makes my heart ache.

 

*there is a discussion here about whether or not they suspended him because of what he said or what he believed. Does having a belief mean that you have the freedom to speak that belief. That is a discussion for another time.