(In which the author wades into the controversial territories of religion and politics. [Ed. *shakes head*])
I’ve had a day of conversations; conversations mostly about technology and church. Not unusual perhaps, given that I work in the technology dept of a church but it was great food for thought all round. (And hardly very conducive to achieving much at work today… Just as well most of the team are still in Hawaii). Anyway, I love that my world is rich with great people who are open to quality conversation.
I also, variously follow and interact with an internet circle of friends, acquaintances and personalities which is equally rich. I keep up with a whole bunch of fantastic writers and commentators whose thoughts span various spectrums of religion, politics, technology, sexuality and experience. It’s absolutely fascinating. I love the extent to which my life has been enriched by this interaction and I’m hopeful that in return my small contribution to the conversation provides similar enrichment.
Of late, I have found the following personal trend very interesting.
Most of the people I follow are out there on the left hand side of politics. I find this fascinating and am not sure whether it’s because the blogosphere in general leans to the left or if I’m drawn to interesting people who do. (And at this juncture I shall nail my colours to the mast and say I’m interested because you may (or may not) be surprised that I’m a generally bit of a fundy and vote that way too. [Ed. gasp – the readers, the readers, where will we be now that you’ve alienated the readers… double gasp!]) So I ask myself why it’s not the fundy leaning blogs I’m following? (I do presume they exist and that the internet is not necessarily unilaterally left-ish…)
Actually, I’m less concerned about the way you or I vote than I am about the extent to which religion is enmeshed in American election… I mean, for a country that’s so sold out to the separation of church and state how did politics get so religious? Furthermore, how is it that all the issues, or at least all of the discussion I’m seeing, seems to come down to ‘freedom’ versus ‘oppression’, ‘hip/cool v ‘staid/boring’, ‘acceptance’ versus ‘judgment’, ‘right’ versus ‘wrong’?
(I could go out on a limb here and also ask why it is that the very rigid/oppressive/boring/ rightness is not tolerated by those who would espouse their politics as being that of the oppressed minorities who are asking to be tolerated…should it not cut both ways? (I know, another gasp…) [Ed. *obliges*])
HOWEVER, that’s an aside really… and actually I’ll go out on a different limb and ask my real question/s.
How is it that the person who was the very model of intolerance to the establishment, the champion of the poor, downtrodden, and oppressed has become the very symbol of oppression of the same?
How is it that the one who by his own admission did not come into this world to condemn has become the face/voice/flagstaff of condemnation?
How is it that the ‘body’ of the one who promised life, freedom and justice has become identified as the emblem of all that opposes these things?
This is not the God I know, and for all my fundamentalist tendencies, it makes me a little crazy that those who purport to act in His name use that precious name to rally a posse around a particular political viewpoint. Sadly, it’s usually an intractable viewpoint too… as if he can be so easily ‘nailed down’ (pun intended).
God is not a politician. He doesn’t vote. I guarantee if he physically walked the earth still, both the right AND the left would be floored in his wake.
This is the God I know. He turned everyone on their heads. He behaved in such as a way to leave people speechless, Love your enemies? Do good to those who persecute you? WTF?
What are we doing by trying to say we’re right and they’re wrong? Surely as Christians we are called to engage meaningfully in all areas of life. So let’s do it. Engage in meaningful dialogue, rally around the issues, rally around a cause, whichEVER side of the fence you sit on. Get involved, and while you do? Let’s turn people on their heads by loving our enemies, even though in the process sometimes we have to agree to disagree. While we do let’s be Jesus to people. Because, people, the Jesus being peddled as a right wing, conservative, judgmental, bigoted, homophobic hater looks nothing the one who caused a scandal by being a friend of prostitutes, tax-collectors, sinners. He looks nothing like the man who threw the moneychangers out of the temple and who called the rich man to give up everything.
That Jesus? Jesus the Radical?
He’s the one who gets my vote.