A Little bit Liberal
Consider this my confession: I’m a little bit liberal. It probably comes as no shock to some of you, especially if you’ve had any lengthy policy discussion with me lately, or observed me and my husband discussing politics. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t consider myself a Democrat, or a Republican for that matter. I’m a moderate independent, which essentially makes me a bit liberal. And where I come from, liberal might as well be a four letter word. I grew up in one of the most conservative cities in America (George Bush Sr. paid Woodstock a visit in the early 90’s cause it had the most per capita registered Republicans in the country, or something like that)
So this has taken a lot of bravery on my part. I’ve been working towards this point in my life for seven years and have been writing this post for two months.
I thought about spending the next six hundred words by explaining a few of the political opinions I have that result in me falling into the happy middle of the road zone on the spectrum. I was going to rant about the Farm Bill and minimum wage and give you my opinions about welfare reform, abortion, the death penalty, gay marriage, taxes, war- the whole nine yards.
But then I thought, why?
Why do I feel so inclined to explain my political views in detail? What am I trying to prove to you? So I figured I’d just talk from my heart about this whole messy political issue topic.
For years I’ve grappled with my opinions and felt judged. I’ve read posts on social media from fellow Christians that called me an idiot, stupid or a pagan, just because of some of my opinions, my questions, or who I voted for. Likely they didn’t know that they were addressing me, but it still hurt. I kept quiet, because I didn’t want to cause a fight. But those posts aren’t making me change my opinions. In fact, they’ve made my passion stronger. I am a moderate, and I am a Christian. I follow the words of Jesus and pray over my decisions and opinions. I know conservative and liberal Christians who do the same.
I’ll never forget the Sunday after the 2012 presidential election. I went to church, and one of the first things my pastor Louie said went something like this:
“Some of you are really happy today because of what happened on Thursday. Some of you are disappointed. You probably prayed about your vote and really felt like your guy was the right person for the job. But remember, there is probably someone sitting on the same row as you who prayed too and felt like the other guy was the right person for the job.”
I don’t remember word for word, but that’s essentially what he said. And it was so good for my soul. I have voted for candidates from a variety of parties in the last ten years, and it was so refreshing to be affirmed from a church leader that we are about Jesus and making Him famous. Politics are just another component of the world, God is so much bigger than that. And Jesus was not a white middle class Republican.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we are all different. Some of us are traditionalists, some of us are charismatics. Some of us are Calvinist, some are Armenian. We represent every race and nearly every tongue. And some of us are conservative, and some of us are liberal. We are different, but our differences make us beautiful. They make up the body.
We are not representing Jesus when we yell at each other, either in person or on social media. We are not representing Jesus while we twiddle our thumbs and demand for reform without working towards it together. We are not representing Jesus when we devote more lip service to arguing about politics or theology than we do sharing Christ’s love or advocating for justice.
However, we are representing Jesus when we set aside our differences and serve the poor. We are representing Jesus when we advocate for justice and listen to a neighbor’s painful story. We are representing Jesus when we think outside the political agenda and understand that political parties are man made and are flawed. We are representing Jesus when we come together to work towards social reform that is Biblical, even if we don’t always agree on the other details.
You can have your opinion, and you can feel strongly about your political party. But please don’t confuse politics with faith. And please remember that there are probably other followers of Jesus who believe a little differently than you. Remember your insults and the things you post and say can either point people to Christ or away from Him. Let’s keep the conversation going, let’s ask the tough questions and dig into the deep issues. But we can also keep it peaceful.
“If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Rom 12:18)