Why I “like” Obama, “dislike” Palin, and why this post has nothing to do with politics.

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.

4 thoughts on “Why I “like” Obama, “dislike” Palin, and why this post has nothing to do with politics.

  1. Obviously you and I disagree in the “arena” of politics. I like that you used that term, probably because I just watched Spartacus, with Kirk Douglas, a fantastic film, just so you know. But it seems that is an appropriate way to view politics sometimes. Some people are thrown to the lions, others are viewed as the “Champion of the Capua”(A Spartacus remake reference). And in being friends with you, Joe, we both know we sometimes differ slightly in how we view our faith. However, even with the variances, if we are consistently putting Christ first in our voting, or our daily life, Christ will be glorified. So, over all, good post, sir!

  2. Pingback: Don Miller is reading my mind « Faithrants.com

  3. When I read your post I was shocked. Not because of you like or dislike someone, it was the way you said it. The phrase “when hell freezes over” means no, absolutely not, never, never, never. It has the deep meaning of hate. That is what bothered me about it.

  4. Just when you thought it was safe to read your own blog. I do believe debate is good but, by going the opposite direction for the sake of debate, does that not send mixed messages ? For those of us who know you and know what your intent might be, no problem. But for someone who barely knows you, does that not confuse someone? Who is this gentleman and what are his REligous and political beliefs ? Whenyou were courting your wife, did you present every side of you ? or did you present the side that is the true you ? When we present ourselves to others,friends or other wise, we want them to know who we are. Confusion is not good.

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