If you want to get in a conversation filled with conflict, all you have to do is talk about religion and politics.
So I guess I’ll do both.
Not for the sake of conflict.
But for the idea that we can engage in some of the hardest discussions in our world today, and not be afraid.
We don’t have to be afraid of voicing opinion in America.
We don’t have to agree on all things.
We can actually hold in tension two ideas that seem to be in conflict, and ask that we seek addition information, grace for others, or even just let it be.
But one thing we don’t have to be is AFRAID.
After all, God told Joshua, “Have I not commanded you, be strong and courageous…Do not be afraid.” (Josh 1:9) And the Hebrew people crossed the Jordan River.
Jesus told the disciples, “Take Courage, It is I. Do not be afraid,” (Matthew 14:27) After they saw him walking on water.
Paul even encourages young Timothy, “God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a strong mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
So when fear of engaging in the world takes a foothold in the way we think or act, we really only have two choices.
- Stick our heads in the sand and pretend there’s nothing going on OR..
I don’t know about you, but it seems like The World Is Burning
I don’t know about you, but when I see stories on the news with geo-political potential conflict with Iran and the United States, or the boarder crisis to deal with illegal migration, or the trade wars in Asia, I feel like the world is burning out of control.
What is our responsibility as those who are seeking to follow Jesus? When I see the focus on many on Capitol Hill, I quietly wonder to myself, “IS ANYONE PAYING ATTENTION?!” (Ok, it’s not so quiet.)
As I’ve been in several serious conversations about the political parts of our lives, I’m often compelled to think about how those issues parlay into the life of someone who is trying to follow the message and teachings of Jesus, and I thought it might be helpful for me to lay these ideas out.
A Couple of Thoughts
God is All Around Us
Last week I sat with a pastor who spoke on the general revelation of God. He preached from David’s Pslam and reminded us all, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows his handiwork.” (Psalm 119).
When we feel like the world has gone crazy and tensions are mounting, and when it seems like there is no answer, just take a deep breath.
As my longtime friend in Colorado says, “You need to go get some nature.”
And that’s precisely what I do.
When it feels like there’s no way to find answers, I go take a hike through the woods and find place where I can see the God all around me.
Jesus Is a Revelation
The revelation of Jesus to the world today gives us hope. He lived on earth in a time it seemed the world was burning all around him too. The Roman Empire was on the conquest of many nations. Wars and rumors of wars were normal day to day living. The tension in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas was such that even Jesus was ducking in and out of his teachings to hide from those who were looking to kill him.
And as Jesus’ message was filled with the pathway to knowing and being known by God, there was always a sense of learning a new way.
- Love your enemies
- Love your neighbor
- Seek the heart of God and all understanding will come to you.
When you turn on the news and think the White House seems to be in turmoil, as those who follow Jesus, we gather to pray.
We pray for those who God has given leadership over us.
We pray for those we agree with, and we pray for those we disagree with.
We pray for God to reveal Himself.
We pray that the issues surrounding us might be lessons we can learn, encourage, and engage.
When you turn on the news, and it seems like Capitol Hill is in a never ending spiral of indecision, we pray.
We pray for our friends on the Hill who are leading.
We pray for their families.
We pray for wisdom
We pray for the decisions to be such that honor God’s word, our collective understanding as a nation, and would be “the best” decision for such a time.
When it seems like governments abroad are firing up the world, we pray.
Finding that place between the ego of who we are, and the creation God made us to be is something of a life long challenge. But if we just commit to doing the smallest of actions, we can sometimes see the largest of results. We Pray!
We don’t need to be afraid of hard things, especially when we have the God of the Universe sitting on the throne of heaven and earth longing to know us and be known by us.