Thoughts of a messed up Christian saved by God's grace

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Can Politics and Christianity mix?

**Disclaimer: I am no means perfect. I don't think I am better than anyone else, and in fact have a very low opinion of myself and see only failure in the mirror. I am just a guy who tried to do what I believed was right, and have been fought on that by the very people who should have supported me.

***Disclaimer #2: This post is not about Donald Trump, though I will discuss him.

****Disclaimer #3: This could be a very long post.

    This is actually my first blog post of 2019, and is about something that is alarming me more and more as the days go by.

    Politics has always been divisive. Way back when Abraham Lincoln was running for president, the debates between he and Douglas got pretty heated. It seems to have worsened in the last decade or so, or it may be that social media has made it more obvious. Everyone has an opinion, and most people are unafraid to share it. In fact, many are all too willing to do so.

  I have become increasingly bothered by how divisive and angry we have become. One could assume by the actions and words of too many Christians that it is more important to win people to their political views, than to win people to Christ. Many Christians spend a lot more time and energy to do the first, then the last...if they work on the latter at all.

  I was against Donald Trump from the start, and believe 100% that conservatives and Christians should never have picked him for the nominee with the kind of man he is, his past, and what he had done politically in the past. I felt - and still feel - that I could not vote for him for a variety of reasons, and to do so would be hypocritical of me since he was guilty of so much that I criticized Democrat politicians for. Looking back, I wish I had just kept silent, and voted the way I felt without telling anyone..which was 3rd party. I didn't want either candidate, and many people didn't, who did vote for DT. I don't want to belabor points I have made, but they go with the whole idea of this post, though the focus of this post is not any politician.

 Here are some things that have been said to me and have happened because I dared to not vote Republican....which is evidently in the Bible somewhere that I must. (Heavy sarcasm intended):

1) I have been blocked, un-friened, and un-followed by Christians on Facebook....even some from my own church.

2) I have been falsely accused of being for Hillary since I don't support Trump.

3) I have been told I am for killing babies if I don't support DT

4) I have been told I am not on God's side if I don't support Trump

5) "A vote for 3rd party is a vote for Hillary". Uh, no it isn't. That is a lie used to guilt or shame people into voting the way they want you to.

6) "A 3rd party vote is wasted." No it is not.

 And there are more. I won't take the time or energy to dredge them up.

   A Christian Facebook friend just did a post last week I found highly offensive. Now remember, the election was over 2 years ago. Donald Trump won. This man did a post lambasting we who did not vote for DT, again claiming a 3rd party vote was wasted, and other lovely things like that. I cannot remember everything he said, but I shot back a reply that has led to some thinking and resulted in this blog post.

    I have always been, and always will be a conservative. I will most likely not always be a Republican, for I feel conservative and Republican are becoming as much of oxymoron as Democrat and conservative. Both parties have their agenda, though I believe Democrats are more honest about what they are for and against. Republican politicians say what we want to hear, and we keep voting for them because the other party is so bad......and the Republicans never have to actually carry through and prove what they are for and against.

   Democrats and Republicans have always fought each other, for we have had differing values and beliefs. However, with the nomination and then election of Donald Trump, it has done something an election of Hillary or another Democrat would not have done: It has caused fighting among conservatives and evangelical Christians. And it sadly has caused many evangelical Christians to accept things in a candidate they never would have before. And sadder yet, it has caused some to defend things they never would have. Politics has become more important - or at least it seems to be - than our Christian witness, our relationship with Jesus Christ, and how we treat others. I firmly believe we are so missing it on a lot of what the Bible says, because it is more important to hold it against people how they did or not vote....or if they voted at all.

 We have become so worried and focused on safety and security, and are placing our trust in political parties and politicians. Our focus is on keeping gun rights, building a wall, and other things that may be important, yet are not as important as how we treat others.

  This next part of my post is not aimed at anyone, well it is aimed at anyone who claims to be a Christian....whether a Democrat, Republican, conservative, Trump supporter, not a Trump supporter, or any other party:

1) Are we truly loving people as Jesus commands us to when it comes to politics?

2) Are we showing people the same grace we want shown to us?

3) Have we truly forgiven people for voting opposite to how we wanted them to, and/or for pressuring us to vote or not vote a certain way?

4) Are our political posts congruent with being peacemakers? Are they congruent with being Christ-like?

5) Are we gentle and kind?

6) Is Jesus truly more important to us than politics and politicians?

7) Do we care how we make someone else feel by what we say, or is it more important to be right and in an argument?

8) Are we being 100% honest in what we say, or are we exaggerating and stretching the truth?

9) Why is it OK to trash politicians we don't agree with, but expect kid gloves treatment of those we do?

10) Is how we treat people and what we say to them and about them consistent with how the Bible says we should do?

11) Is it right and Christian to bash some politicians, yet attack people for bashing and criticizing ones we like?

12) Are we spending more time on politics than on things of God?

13) Do we are more about telling people what we think of their voting and their poltiical views, then about praying for them?

14) DO we pray for those we disagree with politically?

15) Are we too obsessed and worried about our safety and security?

16) Would Jesus post what we post about politics, and would He post about politics at all?

17) Should a true Christian harass someone about how they are voting or not voting? WOULD a true Christian do that? Should they try to guilt, shame, or scare someone into voting how they think they should?

  There are other questions I could ask, but they would be pretty similar to what I have covered. But the truth of the matter is we have become so obsessed with politics that we don't care how we treat people, or how we make them feel. It is all about getting our candidate elected, protecting that candidate, and getting what we want done politically.... and screw whoever disagrees with us. I did that word for shock value, but it sums up too many Christians' attitudes when it comes to politics.

  Personal stuff: I deal with depression, which is worse at some times than others....such as during winter. I am attracted to the wrong gender, which is more difficult than anyone can imagine who does not have the same struggle. I am lonely, long for a family, have very low opinions of myself, and still struggle after all these years to believe people like me and that I matter to anyone outside of my family. That is my reality.

  I said all that to say this: I find it hard to believe the many people who have un-followed me, un-friended me, falsely accused me, blocked me, harassed me, tried to get me to against my conscience, etc....really cares about me. All these people care(d) about is how I was voting, and they did their dead level best to shame, guilt, and scare me into voting the way they wanted. They didn't care how they made me feel. They didn't care how going against my conscience could affect me spiritually if I gave in. After all, why is it OK to go against one's conscience in one instance, but not in others? (And yeah, I have given as good as I have taken.)

   I am sick of American evangelical Christianity. Sound bad? Well I wouldn't be surprised if God is too. It seems to me that we are so far removed from what we should be.... and politics is just one of many areas we fail in. I want safety and security as much as the next guy, but we have it too easy here in America. The average American doesn't really need anything. Our welfare system has become more than something truly needy people use to get over a bad time. It has become a way of life so people can have all the kinds of food they want, but not adjust their lifestyle to live within their means.

 Yet we who are not living off taxpayers can be no better.

   I have a lot of friends on Facebook who are constantly posting about the wall. I personally believe it is never going to happen, but that is beside the point. I want to secure our borders....don't get me wrong.....but as someone has said, we are more concerned with building walls than bridges. And I am not talking about a literal wall.

   Isn't it sad that Christians are so divided, and not just over politics? I have someone I used to consider a good friend come up to me at church last week. He asked if I was shrinking. I told him I had lost around 30 pounds. Now here's the thing: we are friends on Facebook, and I have mentioned my weight loss several times, and how I am working on it....but he has un-followed me. I was 99.99% sure, but he verified that by what he said. Isn't that sad?

 I have considered deleting Facebook, but there are a few reasons I doubt I will do that:

1) I honestly have no social life. With the exception of my parents and my nieces and nephews, I eat out by myself. I shop by myself. I watch movies by myself. On my days off, I often have no human contact off social media other than employees where I eat or shop....if I even leave the house. That may sound pathetic, but I am almost 50, I am single, I am attracted to the wrong sex, and I have no children. That's just my life.

  In all honesty, interactions with  people on Facebook are about the only interactions I get most days outside of work. I have almost become a hermit outside of church and work, and if I deleted social media, I fear it would be worse.

2) There are people I enjoy keeping up with on social media. I have made friends, became acquainted with relatives I never knew, and gotten back in contact with friends and family I hadn't seen or heard from in years.

3) I am friends with a few authors, and follow several others, and enjoy keeping up with them. Along with that, I do a lot of book reviews because of things posted on Facebook by authors and publishing companies.

  I have tried - and am succeeding mostly - in getting away from politics on social media. I HAVE dialed it way back.  It is difficult, when one has always been very political and are outspoken... and when others are posting so much you disagree with. There are several people I am friends with who rarely, if ever, post political stuff. I do post a lot about abortion, but that is not a political issue....though it has been made into one.....it is a moral issue, and it should offend us so much that we don't keep silent.

 This post honestly is not a post about Trump, but since I have been on the receiving end of some stuff, there are some things I have and will mention to do with him. As I have already stated, I am not guiltless, though I have tried to not attack people, but limit my criticisms of politicians. I have covered these before, but this goes with my post. These are things Christians have done and said in regards to my and others not voting the way they wanted: (some mentioned earlier)

1) Accuse me of being for Hillary Clinton when they knew I was not, and that I am a conservative.

2) A longtime friend said I was for Hillary and for killing babies if I didn't support DT.

3) A cousin told me I was not on God's side if I didn't support DT.

4) Another longtime friend "liked" a post that said people who do not support DT are as bad as ISIS.

5) I have been blocked, un-followed, unfriended.....even by those in my own church.

 And there were other things.

   Conservatives and Christians who do not support DT have said and done unkind things also, and someone who was the recipient of those can cover them if they want. I am covering the perspective of we who did not and do not support him.  Now if you are a Bible believing Christian, can you look through what I put above and honestly say that is how a Christian should act? Can you honestly tell me these people were not lying or at least stretching the truth with some of those statements?

  Can we possibly be living as God wants if we are continually squabbling about politics and putting down those who disagree with us? Jesus prayed that we would all be one.....are we striving for that, or has politics derailed that train?

  And what is the world thinking? I am sure the majority, if not all, Christians have non-Christian friends and relatives on Facebook. What are they thinking as we bash each other and squabble over politics and politicians? Will it do harm to their chances of becoming a Christian some day? And why has it become more important for them to hear our political opinions than the fact that God loves them and He can change their lives?

What the world need to hear is John 3:16
That God loves them just as they are
His grace is sufficient to bring them to Him
Wherever they’ve been; no matter how far
There’s hope for the lost and the helpless
Faith will replace every fear
The gospel of Calvary – that‘s what the world needs to hear
(What the World Needs to Hear by the Booth Brothers)

  Isn't there better uses for social media than to make our politics being known top priority? I have friends on Facebook who post constantly about politics, and rarely about God or anything related to God. No, not ever post has to be Christian/religious in nature, but if God is truly more important to us than anything else, then shouldn't that reflect in what we post?

  Sadly, politics and Christianity have become so intertwined, that they are almost viewed as one. We tend to look at things as an American before as a Christian. I cannot remember the question, but someone at church who was constantly texting me about my voting, asked me a question. I answered back, "are you asking me that as a Christian, or as an American?" He replied "can't it be both?" And therein lies a lot of the problem." Instead of Christianity affecting and influencing our politics, our politics has affected and influenced our Christianity, until we almost equate the two. It has become more important to win people to our political views and/or politician, than to Jesus.

  Instead of the Great Commission being go into all the world and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it has become preaching and arguing our politics. And sadly, too many either don't care, or they aren't even aware of how much politics has taken over and pushed Jesus out.

   We will all stand before God some day and give account of our lives. It won't matter on that day if we toed the party line and voted the way friends and family wanted....or even if we voted at all. There are issues I believe God cares about....i.e. abortion, but I don't believe most of the issues that cause us concern and that we fight about are things He cares much about. God cares about people, not politics, rights, and freedoms. He doesn't view us as countries, but as individual people.

 It should be our top priorities as Christians to live lives pleasing to God, and to point others to the God we serve. Can we do that and be political at all? Do we want to do that, or has politics taken over our lives so much that we truly don't care about pointing anyone to God? Do we read our Bibles and focus on God first thing in the morning, or do we get on our computers to see what has happened in the political world first?

 I have un-followed countless political pages in the last couple of years. (Seriously, how many Facebook pages does any politician need?!) Daily, another one more more pops up that I un-follow. I am trying to get away from politics, and it doesn't help when I have to scroll through a couple dozen posts to find something not political.

 There is a song that comes to my mind occasionally when thinking along these lines. The title is "Long Walk Home". It is not about politics necessarily, but it fits here:

"It's gonna be a long, long walk home, walking in our differences.
It's gonna be a long, long walk home if we don't walk in the love Jesus gives
If we spend all our time trying to be right, fighting over who's been wrong, 
It's gonna be a long walk home".

  There is enough out there to divide Christians....theological differences, interpretation of Scripture, etc..we don't need politics to do that.....but it is, and most Christians seem oblivious.

 Here's a couple of questions:
|Is it possible politics has become an idol? An idol is anything that takes the place of God

Is it possible Satan is using politics to divide Christians and to get their attention off more important things?

 In closing, I have felt for the last couple of years that the election of 2016 and the politics since then has caused my faith to take a severe hit. However, I have come to the realization that I was not correct. My faith in God has not wavered or taken a hit. My faith in conservatism, the Republican Party, American Christianity, and Christians has wavered and taken a hit. And maybe I had too much faith in those things....because politics has been too important in my life.

 I may not be 100% correct in what I have said, or how I said it....but I am 100% convinced that politics has become too important to us, and that it has caused us to act in ways that do not line up with being a Christian.