As I have observed the comments from my friends on Facebook and Twitter I’m convinced more than ever that we are a deeply divided country when it comes to politics. My observation is that both sides spend more time demonizing the opposition than laying out a clear path of ideas. What seems to get the most attention in the media are the extremes of each of the major parties. The majority of people who don’t hold to either of the far ends of the spectrum are left in the middle and often unheard and underrepresented. This troubles me especially during election cycles. Then I heard this prayer at the end of the first night of the Democratic National Convention:
This is a great example of what those of us who follow Jesus should live like. It’s the words of Paul in Romans 12.18, “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” (NLT)
It’s living out our challenge to be wise as serpents, but innocent as doves and seek to be agents of reconciliation. This is third way living.
I don’t know if Jena Lee Nardella is a liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat. Frankly, I don’t care. What I do know is she represented Jesus well from a huge platform. That’s a pretty rare thing and an example for all of us to learn from.
Too many who follow Jesus want to retrofit their political beliefs – whether leaning left or right – into their faith. Faith was not intended to be a platform for political posturing. Faith is a means of understanding God, seeing the world and connecting with people.
There is a verse from the prophet Micah that I have adopted for my life:
“No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God.”
Micah 6.8 (NLT)
An article I read this week indicated that conservatives tend to focus on issues of liberty while liberals focus on matters of justice. Those are generalizations to be sure. I know liberals who care about liberty as much as they do about justice and conservatives who are as passionate about justice as they are personal liberty. But, generalizations are such because they are true. But the charge for people who follow Jesus is different.
We need to concern ourselves with liberty and justice…and let’s not forget mercy.
Here’s the thing. I am neither conservative nor liberal.
I follow Jesus.