Clarification on previous post.
The words I chose in my original post could easily leave the impression that I was broad brushing every person…
The words I chose in my original post could easily leave the impression that I was broad brushing every person in attendance at the protest as evil, or that there were NO Christians there. I did not mean to say that, and regret it if that was your understanding — and apologize for leaving that understanding open — because I tried hard to leave the partisan political aspect out of my remarks. My point was not about whether people should be there protesting in the first place, or to place a value judgment on the concerns held by those there that day. I studiously avoided that.
And I realize most who were there were not the capitol stormers, but concerned citizens exercising their right to speech and did so appropriately. And I know for a fact many who chose to attend did so because they are concerned for our country, and in some cases did so out of Christian conviction, with consciences exercised by their godly faith, leading them to protest — and that many of these were disappointed and disapproving of the violence and lawlessness that erupted. And I also did not want to appear to know the heart or intentions of the ones waving Jesus flags. In short, I made sweeping statements that understandably left some feeling like I made broad-brushing categorizations of “everyone who was there.” I should have been more careful and clear.
But I do hope in all of this, my main point, which I had hoped was clear, will not be missed. My point was not to condemn the political convictions of the protesters. Not at all. Nor was it to condemn the opposing party. Not at all. Nor was it to comment on the election or any of that. Some of you concluded that somehow. The point I hoped to make clear is that when we drag Jesus into our politics, whatever leaning we may have, we do Jesus no favors.
However well-intentioned the Jesus flag wavers were, it is my conviction that this sort of thing makes the mission of Christ harder, and less fruitful, rather than advancing it. This was a highly contentious, partisan political rally. That is not the problem. The problem I hoped to point out, and which I hoped to burden Jesus followers with, is associating Jesus so closely with it.
I care very much about the mission of Jesus, his name and reputation. All followers of Christ should. I know a lot of us do. And we have many friends who could be so changed and blessed by knowing, loving, and following Jesus. But leading someone far from God toward Jesus is increasingly difficult, not because they meet Jesus and don’t like him so much as because they will likely never meet him — not the real Jesus — because he is so far buried behind the political ideologies he has become associated with — both left and right — and which people may not wish to ascribe to. But in our zeal for these policies and ideologies, we have failed to see that the mission is our main assignment. And the mission — and real people — and name of Jesus — suffers. The sign waving people no doubt well intentioned. There are a lot of good intentions we have had as Christians that were pretty bad ideas with really bad results. It has been my experience, as a pastor, working with people struggling to decide abbot whether Jesus is worth their time or not, for over 30 years, that blending Jesus in with our politics, however convinced we are that we’re doing Jesus and everyone else a favor, is a bad move.
I have deep sorrow and concern for the effectiveness of the mission of the church. We need to ask about the fruitfulness of various actions we take – like — what is the long term impact of taking such actions? How will it help or hinder the cause of Christ?
I long to see the day when people who care deeply for their country, as I do, and who care deeply for values and justice and issues that truly matter, will care even more for the name and church and mission of Jesus.
And when they do, my conviction is that we will be a much more united and stronger church. And people can still choose to protest what they wish, and to be engaged in civil affairs driven by God-given convictions. This is part of our responsibility and the way we engage the world.
But as we keep our identity intact as Christ followers, first and foremost, and remember humility and civility and charity, this gives us a shot at unity, around Christ, rather than dividing over our politics. I am saddened by the divided state of things, and how it has infiltrated the church, and even more so if somehow my words contributed to any of it.
Which is why I must add one final word. I wanted to add this clarifying word to do that — to clarify. But I’m afraid I’m not open to using my page for political discussion, so I’m sorry, but that sort of thing will need to go elsewhere. Thanks.