For those in the back who still don’t understand systemic racism

In the past five years, and I fully understand what that represents in time and certain people that will go nameless, we’ve seen an unleashing of spiritual destruction. Decay is not strong enough as a description. The utter rottenness of white conservative Christianity has been exposed over and over. Instead of repenting, there has been a constant doubling down of Christian Nationalism, racism, and misogyny.

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The wacky year in politics

Because a good percentage of evangelical Christians still have a deep seated belief that every election means something spiritually, and I used to be one of them, I will now offend just about everyone in some way who is left reading this blog… so here it goes.

A few years ago I was in a city Bible study that just about every week devolved into political debate of some sort. The long and short of it was Republicans were godly and good and Democrats were evil and sending this nation to hell.

Except for one older man who was an old line Democrat and kept defending Democrats. He always missed the jokes I would make about Republicans but would always get mad at me when I made jokes about the Democrats. (I was, and am, an equal opportunity offender.) But the more we talked, the more I had hoped to help him realize he was talking in a way that didn’t make sense. His values were more “conservative” than the Democrats were at the time.

I told him, “The Democrats have left you.”

If that man is still alive I need to find him and apologize. For quite a few years I have the deep realization all politics is simply a game. They will simply say ANYTHING to get elected. The Democrats have their mantra to get elected. The Republicans have their mantra to get elected. And then… nothing.

But I grew up Republican and conservative so generally if I was going to vote, there was generally a thought that I would end up voting for the Republican, especially if it was the presidential campaign. Locally, I could mix it up and not worry too much about it.

In the past few years I have developed a life philosophy that works off of what I choose to call a “pro-life” ethic. And it’s not Republican. It’s an ethic that tries to lift up life from womb to tomb and take into account the marginalized in our world. I choose to call it pro-life because that is exactly what I’m going for and I know that term is hijacked to refer only to abortion, but I refuse to give up a good term. I’m imperfect in this ethic right now. Eventually I want to be able to say, “The only one more pro-life than me is the Pope.” I’m not there. I easily admit that.

In developing that ethic, what is blatantly obvious is the Republicans talk a “pro-life” game when it comes to abortion and that’s it. If it’s “pro-life” it’s only talk about abortion and then that’s all it is… talk.

That’s why I need to apologize to that man in the city Bible study. I was berating him for not realizing the Democrats had left him while the Republicans were doing the same to me and I was not willing to admit it.

Now… we have Donald Trump. And conservative Christians can’t make heads or tails of this. There are some proclaiming God is in this… somehow. Even if it’s judgment. But it comes out of the deeper-held belief that you HAVE to vote Republican because if you don’t… Dear God! We get Hillary instead! 

As Trump kept gaining ground, the political side of me thought, “Well, this might be a time for the GOP to re-evaluate and really blow this all up and get a fresh start.”

But, no. The GOP Chairman, Reince Priebus, calls for everyone to line up behind Trump. All the conservative talk shows are goose-stepping to the call. We can’t let Hillary win!

So, the call goes out to “evangelicals” because, of course, we’re all mindless robots who just vote Republican, and we’re supposed to line up, too.

Then… you get  THIS:

And somehow, I’m supposed to ignore it and just “line up.”

And if you don’t yet know who Russell Moore is, GO HERE.

So, I’m supposed to line up behind all of this… while getting insulted at the same time. I’m sorry, but if I want to line up with a group that regularly insults who I am and my beliefs, I’d have been a Democrat a long time ago!

It’s a wacky political year. So, here is where I am today… and that’ll change I’m sure.

  1. I’m done with the GOP. There is no way I support anyone who lines up behind a divisive guy like Trump. He can certainly be “God’s man” and I won’t dispute it. Nebuchadnezzar was God’s man at one point as well.
  2. My life ethic is “pro-life” and that means I won’t line up with the GOP or the Democrats. Since we only have a two party system, it leaves me without a party… but not without a vote. It’s still America for now, so I vote. How do I vote? That will be the on-going struggle.
  3. My life ethic will call me to more INVOLVEMENT and not just casting a vote. I will be involved in my community to LIFT UP. I will not tear down. I will speak truth and will not make everyone happy, but I will genuinely care about even those I deeply disagree with. I don’t unfriend people on Facebook because they disagree with me. I need the range of views in my life and I won’t act like so many others in our culture that create their own personal echo chambers. I WILL CHOOSE TO THINK.
  4. Politically, I think it would be great if WE THE PEOPLE actually got up and did more. It would be wonderful to see more than 2 viable political parties. That takes a complete overhaul and we’re just simply too lazy as Americans to do that kind of work any more. (See… I’ll still offend.) HOWEVER, it would be a dream to see more political views along the spectrum so people actually had to work together again.
  5. Spiritually and as a life ethic, I am so bent on following Jesus. I just want HIM, his character, his work in my life, and all of that flowing through me to bless others. And that can happen regardless of the political upheaval all around us. I don’t want qualifiers in front me any longer (i.e., “evangelical” Christian, etc.)

This is a long post and will hopefully be a rare political one.

 

Evangelical no more

Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, has taken away the “evangelical” in the label and replaced it with “gospel.” His preference now is to be labeled a “gospel Christian.”

We’re into labels, but sometimes we don’t get a choice. In our culture, “evangelical” is something that was put into place to separate some conservative theological Christians from “fundamentalists.” Then, it has become a moniker used by media and pollster to try and describe a “voting bloc.”

He pointed to the conflation of “evangelical” with an election-year voting bloc. He noted polls don’t distinguish between churchgoers and those who self-identify as evangelical but who “may well be drunk right now, and haven’t been into a church since someone invited them to a Vacation Bible School sometime back when Seinfeld was in first-run episodes.”

Even for “evangelicals” it has become too broad. We’ve become more “cultural” than “Christian” in many ways.

I think I may join him. This election is drawing out such nastiness, even among people I would consider Christian in some way, I’m done aligning myself as a voting bloc. I don’t hate people for one thing. I don’t blame others (especially the marginalized) for issues I may be facing. I don’t have to have someone to target and intentionally put down to be able to put forward ideas that would make our nation run better.

I will also not be “scared silent” anymore, as Moore puts it. There is too much poison in the atmosphere and it has reached a point of grief for me. It doesn’t mean I’m not “politically active.”

What it will probably mean is I won’t be your token statistic anymore.