"Politics and religion mixed is the headiest cocktail ever invented."
I love the Facebook page "Humor from a Pentecostal Pew". I was raised in the Pentecostal movement, and there's nothing funnier than people who have the guts to poke fun at themselves. Then I saw this meme on Facebook a day or so after the inauguration of President Trump.
If Kellyanne Conway wants to talk about some "alternative facts," this image is a perfect example. Maybe conservatives find it funny. And maybe some actually believe it to be true, but is there any mature Christian with a balanced worldview out there who honestly believes Jesus just moved into the Lincoln bedroom?
It's no secret that I'm not a fan of President Trump, but this isn't about his vulgar language, disrespect of women, hatred of immigrants, or any of the other numerous issues brought to light during his campaign. This post is about Jesus. Not Trump, not Obama. Jesus, and American Politics.
A couple of days ago, as I was prepping for Sunday service, my kids nearly killed each other in the next room. He had her blanket and she had his bouncey ball. At five and three, these things matter greatly. There was weeping and gnashing of teeth and my blood pressure was on the rise. There were a few times when I sincerely questioned why we ever had children.
When I see memes like the one above, it reminds me of my son stealing his sister's blanket. "That's mine!" he would scream, yanking it out of her hands. And she would sulk and pout and yell for Dad to rescue her.
Since the inauguration and the Women's March, my Facebook and Twitter feeds have been inundated with some of my adult friends, who are acting much like my children. It seems that many of us think we can somehow own Jesus, that Jesus is more prone to wear an elephant pin on his lapel than a donkey. Sometimes I think we've got a bad case of mine-itis, continuing to pull and fight, laying claim as the rightful owner of this Americanized, political Jesus.
The marriage of bad theology and dirty politics has created a bastardized version of American Christianity that must be breaking the heart of God. It is ripping our churches down the middle and splitting out country wide open. This is a game where nobody wins. None of us have all the answers. Not one of us is right 100% of the time. But we can each be intentional with our kindness and decency, even toward those with whom we vehemently disagree.
What if we gave up the idea of trying to label Jesus as a Republican or Democrat altogether? What if we stopped fighting so hard to be right? What if, instead, we focused on kindness and cooperation, in order to make not only America, but this whole wide world, a little better?
I think the last place Jesus wants to live is in the White House. The Son of God isn't lobbying Congress on behalf of Planned Parenthood any more than he is sitting with the Joint Chiefs, pressing someone to drop a bomb. Jesus has far greater concerns than who is being confirmed by the Senate or which Bible the President-elect used for the Inauguration.
My honest opinion is that the government has a very important job to do, and so does the Church. Both operate more efficiently and effectively when they stay out of each other's business.
The question that remains is how should we be acting toward one another when we talk about politics? In a word: decent. Conversation is a powerful tool for change. The Bible says that the greatest weapon in the world is the tongue, so let's use ours to build up and not tear down. I think Jeremy Caris said it best, "Jesus never said we would be known as His disciples by our morals, politics, or what we oppose - but by our love." Let's remember that on the other side of that computer monitor or smartphone screen is another human being, deserving of respect. Someone just like you and me.