Us vs. Them: On Political Arguments

I'm going to start with a controversial statement, right off the bat: Jesus doesn't endorse the left or the right, isn't a registered voter, and has more important things for you to worry about (like people.) 

'But the way the government runs directly effects people!'  you protest. A fair point, imaginary reader.

Let me clarify: if you're engaging in mutually respectful and beneficial policy discussions with the intentions of understanding the other side better so we can all reach the best conclusion, carry on.

But let me seriously ask you this: what's the outcome of sharing yet another Fox News or Politico video? Whose mind are you changing when you comment on a Facebook video? If you truly believe the Spirit has led you to make the world a better place by adding the insight of 'typical liberal media logic!,' then you and I have very different understandings of how the Spirit works. And I have the hardest time imagining the Jesus of the Gospels cracking a smile at His own cleverness when He posts a status about how 'the Repubtards are ruining America!'

Lets be honest for a second: you don't post & share & argue because you're somehow fighting for people. You know how I know? Because nobody has ever been led to see the error of their ways by name-calling online or experienced significant heart change after seeing a snarky meme. (Tweet)

We share that garbage because the pleasure center of your brain lights up when you see things you agree with, and it also lights up when you get to tell other people about yourself (this is actual science). In essence, you share your great aunt's long rant because you're programmed to say 'Look at me and how right I am!,' and to love every second of it.

Which actually brings me to an interesting point: if we believe that lots of earthly pleasures & temptations are things we're called to set aside to follow Jesus (like premarital sex, illicit drugs, or whatever else), then how are we excluding this? Because (surprise!) it lights up the same parts of your brain.

Maybe what Jesus is calling you to lay down is your outrage. Maybe you need to sacrifice being 'right' or winning the argument. (Tweet)

"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples," says Jesus. "That you love one another."

Not by posting the most statistics that support your argument. Not by sharing the most videos from your favorite "news" source. Not by retweeting the pithiest lines that attack the other side. 

That you love one another.

 

I find it interesting that the fruit we so desperately wanted back in Eden was from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And what's all our shouting if not our undying attempts to be right & prove each other wrong? To rope off 'the other guys' and claim we've chosen the morally superior side? To create lines where God never meant them to be, to pretend for a second that we can make sound judgements, as if ignoring the Imago Deo in those we disagree with doesn't reek of pride more than anything else. 

If your Facebook/Twitter/whatever is comprised of political posturing with a few Bible verses here and there, or if you're fighting for a political party while claiming to be fighting for Jesus: please stop. For God's sake, please stop.

Or at least leave out the parts that imply that your Christianity somehow plays a role in the name-calling and attacking.

(As a side note, Peter was 'fighting for'/'standing up for' Jesus when he cut off a soldier's ear in Matthew 26, and Jesus rebukes him for it.)

For all the articles I've seen about why the percentage of people identifying as Christian is shrinking, I don't think it's our worship services or being allowed to preach in public school or anything else. 

The reason people don't care about Christianity anymore is because we've linked it to the exact same behavior as anything else.

Instead of trying to be 'counter-cultural' by only watching cheesy, 'inspirational' movies or by writing open letters to whoever wore the least clothing at the latest award show, what if were counter-cultural by refusing to call opposing political figures names? By not buying into narratives that assume anyone who disagrees with us is literally trying to be evil?

What if we were known for graceful dialogue? 

What if we were known for our ability to see others (especially the ones we disagree with) the way Jesus does? 

What if, what if, we were known for our love?