Have you noticed how hard the church is getting hit these days?
Warning: this is a slightly political post. However, let’s do our best not to make this thing too political and more about how we relate to our neighbors. Why? Because we are at a point where we need to consider the sources and our apparent future and do our best in order to carve a clear path forward.
Let’s start with a few questions.
- When was the last time you had a civil conversation about politics with your neighbor?
- How well do you know the political temperature of your neighbor?
- Do you know how the political landscape is affecting your neighbor?
We could have started off the conversation with a simpler question like, “What is your neighbor’s name?”, but we are assuming you already know that (especially if you claim Christ and understand his teaching on how to be a good neighbor). We trust that you are doing your best to know your neighbor: their story, their wins and losses, and are doing everything you can in order to be a good model of Jesus for them.
But if not, this is for you. If you are, this post is still for you.
Over the past weeks and months, there have been a deluge of articles, videos, social media interactions about the state of politics and how it is rolling over into the state of the church. Phrases like the “evangelicalism is dead (or dying)” have become commonplace. We have reached a point in our American religious journey where we need to consider where we want to be in the next few years, because they will undoubtedly determine where we will be in ten.
Alright, so why are we discussing politics on a church and media blog? We wish we didn’t have too, but we are leaders in the marketplace and it is our duty to represent Chris fully and first to those we engage with on a daily basis. We have a duty to call out the injustice and depravity we see, not to judge, but to make right for those it is affecting. If we don’t, then injustice becomes the new normal, and the cause of Christ suffers.
Didn’t Jesus say render unto Caesar what is Caesar and to God what is Gods (Matthew 22:21)?
Yes, yes he did. But this passage is so much more about cultural context than it is about finances. In the fuller context of the parable Jesus is speaking, you see a picture about the division of what is of God and what is not. So while in short you can make a point about the division of church and state, finances and how the government you live under dictates your daily lives, you also see a picture about how to live a godly life and how to be on the right side of godly time.
Because right there, being on the right side of history, is discussed all too often today and almost forces people into decision that are not of God. That’s why we have to discuss politics. It is where we are at and that is what is affecting the church.
Jesus had a habit of calling out injustice, even in a political sense.
Now we have a clearer picture of what Jesus was really talking about. While we sit and think that Jesus is forcing divisions like church and state, making sure we understand that we need to keep a clear dividing line, what he is really doing is calling out those who claim his name or his Father’s name, and choose to do the opposite.
That’s why we have to write this. The church needs to be on the front-lines of justice for all people, because everyone is a neighbor. But right now, the church is not. Sure, there are some who are calling things out. But take a look around you, listen to the conversations that are happening when you shop in public, read some publications that you agree with and disagree with, and you will find that there are a lot of people who don’t have a voice in the world.
The church needs to be the voice for the voiceless.
If we ever want people who are far from God come home to Jesus, then we need to be their voice.
This happens when we:
- Learn the stories of our neighbors.
- Speak out against the things that threaten our neighbor.
- Walk with our neighbors in their every day journey.
- Give zero credence to those who claim God and deny Him with their lives.
When Jesus called out people, he stuck within the confines of those that claim his Father’s name. Therefore, if you claim Christ and continue to keep your mouth closed, do us all a favor and either stop claiming Him, or do whatever you can to make things right: your yourself and your neighbor.
When we are well received, God can be well received.
Be a neighbor.
And in the end, you just may end up helping lead someone home to Jesus.