This will come as no surprise to those who know me well, but I’m a pot-stirrer. I have a tendency to say and do things on occasion just to provoke a reaction that will create conversation.
And so when Facebook suggested the other day that I “like” Barack Obama, I did it. Not because I agree with all of our President’s politics & policies, but because I knew it would generate some reactions…especially from my conservative Christian friends.
Similarly, when Facebook thought I should “like” Sarah Palin, I saw an opportunity to stir things up a little more. Since there’s no “dislike” button, I just made a snarky comment about being unable to “like” Sarah Palin because hell has obviously not yet begun to freeze over.
Now, I’d be lying if I said that my current political beliefs played absolutely no part in my little antics. But that’s a topic for another conversation altogether. No, this is not about politics, at least not directly. It’s about how we identify, classify and label ourselves and each other by what we assume each other’s political beliefs are. And, more importantly, how we allow our political beliefs to co-opt our faith, especially in the Christian community.
Some of my Christian friends were taken aback, and others downright shocked, that I would “like” Obama and “dislike” Palin. They assume that because I say I believe in God, go to church, teach Sunday school, participate in leadership, etc., that I must believe all Democrats/Liberals are pure evil and that the Republican/Conservative movement has all the answers we good church-going folks are looking for. I heard comments like, “Wow. I thought I knew you.” As if I was somehow now a totally different person because I wrecked their assumption that my politics were the same as theirs because my faith is the same as theirs.
And to be perfectly honest, that’s exactly why I did what I did.
We’ve got to open the door to these conversations in our faith communities. Because when we become politically polarized in our faith, we lose our ability to articulate the Gospel.
I don’t know what Jesus thinks about Barack Obama’s or Sarah Palin’s poltics. But I do know he loves them. And to me, that’s the point.
Our faith should be so much bigger than our politics.
Yes, the political arena is one of many places where we can express and live out our faith. People of faith are right to make their voices heard there.
But we have to recognize that no single candidate, or elected official, or political party/movement ever has had or ever will have all the answers. At some point, it’s got to be okay for us to agree to disagree and to seek reasonable compromise.
Above all, we have to love each other. Just like Jesus loves us. Just like he loves Obama and Palin.
When love comes first, amazing things start to happen in God’s kingdom.
I think I “like” love.