There's a lot of words flying around the airwaves, the internet, and in public. Some of them are good words, some of them are not good. Some of the good words are spoken by Christians and, unfortunately, some of the not good words are spoken by Christians. The cause of all these words is the debate over the health care bill recently passed by Congress. Everyone from Glen Beck to Jim Wallis has weighed in on the debate.
I'm not going to get into the debate over whether or not the bill that was passed is a good one. I do have my doubts and reservations about anything that is pushed so quickly, with so much arm twisting and back room dealing. And of course, there's always the law of unintended consequences. I have friends and relatives on both sides of the debate, and my relationship with them is far more important than which side is right.
What I do feel strongly about is the way folks who claim to follow the King of Kings have forgotten that we are citizens of a kingdom that is not of this world, a kingdom that has an agenda that is far different than that of any kingdom of this world, including this one. Christians on the right and on the left have invested far too much emotion in ensuring that their side is in power and their agenda is pushed. There is nothing wrong with folks supporting and working for whatever party fits their political views, but when that causes them to call opponents names, to angrily shout down those on the other side, or to even bring into question their spiritual life, then there is something wrong.
We are Christians before we are Republicans or Democrats. We are God's children before we are conservative or liberal. We are citizens of Christ's kingdom before we are citizens of any country on this earth. We are part of the same Body. To paraphrase the Apostle Paul, would the eye scream at the foot across a barricade? Would the ear call the elbow a racial slur? Would the nose tell the knee that it's not part of the body? This little toe has a hard time hearing parts of the Body belittle and disparage other parts because of their view of what this part of the kingdoms of this world should look like. Didn't Jesus say that the world would know that we are his because of our love for one another?
I believe that whatever happens in the coming years because of the health care bill should ultimately make little difference in how followers of Jesus conduct their lives as citizens of heaven. We are called to spread the Gospel and make disciples who will follow King Jesus and in turn make more disciples. Christians through the centuries have done that regardless of the government in power, whether the Roman Empire, the Soviet Union, China, or an Islamic dictatorship. If they can do that, surely we can do what we are called to do whether a liberal Democrat or a conservative Republican is in charge.
Follow your political persuasions. Be passionate about your ideas. Just remember that your first allegiance is to the One who told Pilate that his kingdom is not of this world. The agenda of the kingdom of God is not the agenda of earthly governments.
Check out some of the writings by Stanley Hauerwaus and Greg Boyd. They put it far better than I can.
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