Posted by: graceunbound | September 7, 2008

Grace and politics

When I was a sophomore in college I came home at Christmas time and announced that I’d decided I was a Democrat. My mother cried. To be honest, 90% of my thought process involved just wanting to be my own person. I wanted to be able to make a decision and say, “This is what I believe, not just what I’ve been taught to believe.” It was one of my early, brief-lived rebellious phases and it was quickly battered with the “God is a Republican” speech. Not in those exact words, but the thought and the effect were there.

We are entering the political season again. For many of us it is a season of heartbreak, a season when we would just like to crawl into a hole and come out when the shouting is over. It is a season when many people forget that the message of the cross is not a political message, but one of grace. Grace to all, no matter where they stand in life.

We moved here four years ago, in the midst of the last presidential election. Because I had no connections and no friends in the area I did a lot of my connecting online, mostly on message boards frequented by other Christians. I learned a lesson on those boards that I had forgotten in the fifteen or so years since my mother’s tear-filled speech; the church doesn’t want Democrats, Libertarians, Green Party or any other such party. It was a lesson that did a lot of damage to a faith that was very fragile at the moment. It was a lesson that made church hunting very painful because every time I stepped through the doors I thought “This is a place where we are not going to be accepted.” It took a very long time to get past that.

The point of this post? It isn’t to call out any political party (I’ve seen the blasting come from both sides). It isn’t to say what party I affiliate with (because that is often subject to change). It is simply to remind everyone of this; in this political season, watch your words. Give grace. The person you are speaking to, the person who is reading your words may be seeking something, something you are sacrificing on the altar of politics. I am not asking anyone to not hold strong views, I am just asking for stronger grace. It absolutely breaks my heart to see people calling into question the faith of another based on POLITICS. Politics is an earthly system run by earthly people to come up with earthly solutions; it is not Kingdom based and never will be Kingdom based.

Grace is Kingdom based. Please hear my heart when I say that now is the time for the church to show NOT its political side, but its grace-filled side.

Grace. It has to be about grace because that is what the world really needs.

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.  Colossians 4:6 (NIV)

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Responses

  1. I love Boyd’s blog on this (forgive the linking!):

    http://www.mercy-church.org/wordpress/?p=519

    I have been registered democrat, then green, republican and keep flirting with libertarian, but haven’t been that yet. The minute I land on an ideology I find I have a bunch of “except this and that…” The funny thing is I think of myself as crunchy (earth-friendly), libertarian-conservative – which means a bunch of Rs would call me liberal.

    Which is laughable to me, but then again, I start talking peace, environment, justice they may have a point. BUT THEN I say I love Jesus, and the cycle starts all over.

    Jesus for President!

  2. I like Boyd’s perspective on the matter, that pretty much sums up what I think.

    Crunchy conservative is a good description for me (one of these days maybe I’ll even buy the crunchy conservative t-shirt); I like Rod Dreher’s book on the matter, I just have to finish reading it…

  3. Don’t spread this around, but in 2000 I actually stood in front of my post office, getting petition signatures to get Ralph Nader on the ballot. Ialso signed one for the libertarian and constitution party candidates (I think it was both) that year.

    I really believe in more competition in the process. Put a bumper sticker on my Ford Ranger truck and got hauled into my lead pastor’s office and ripped up one side and down the other for it. Nuance was lost in that conversation. Almost lost my job. Was asked to remove the sticker.

    So when I say I’m a junkie of politics and preach about the idolatry of it, I am preaching to myself as much as anyone else.

    Thanks for keeping us honest. I know churches need to repent of this stuff. We keep trying. Definitely need you and others to call a spade a spade.

  4. Well stated my friend. Well stated! I am registered Republican, but get so annoyed at the myriad assumptions that a person cannot be a true Christian if she is a Democrat. It truly is grace that is needed. The assumption that a republican president will make the country more christ-like and that a democratic president will most likely be the anti-christ seems to be what some think even though may not admit. Horrid.

  5. Ahhh….such a fun and touchy subject, eh? Mostly why I hate to even talk about it at all with others (unless I know them really well). And I despise debating issues. Period. sigh.

    At the start of this whole election process I was really up in the air about a lot of stuff and finally sat down and listened to some interviews with both of the candidates and the questions that were asked really cemented for me what I should do.

    I agree that you can’t make assumptions based on the party of a candidate (of course I say that and know that there are a few people that could be “poster children” for the extremes in either case) – but you just have to do a little research and vote for who you think is going to best meet the criteria you are looking for. 🙂


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