Who says you can’t talk politics and religion?
Thanks to all of you who participated in this discussion and for the myriad of you who may not have posted a comment but spent time reading the thoughts and ideas of others.
What we need is for people of faith to lead the way on how to have dialogue in the midst of disagreement. Gabe Lyons, author of The Next Christians, says we need those who will lead the way on being, “Civil, Not Divisive.” He writes,
Jesus came with a very different mission and message. ”Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”
I’ve pondered this statement over the years, and I can’t imagine what Jesus could possibly mean if it doesn’t include engaging in respectful dialogue with those with whom we disagree. How can we love someone we don’t know or understand?…we can’t. Followers of Christ in a pluralistic society must be willing and able to engage those they disagree with in constructive conversations.
This week we have seen civility on display. Thank you!
Lyons says that civility happens only when we are willing to bite our tongues “as a neighbor persuasively argues a political point with which you disagree. Or finding a gracious way to respond that validates the opinion of someone else before firing off your response. We have much to gain from a posture of listening. It can transform a divisive conversation into a fruitful one.”
My goal for this week is that we would all take the “posture of listening” so that we might truly understand our fellow brother’s and sister’s in Christ who differ from us politically–we are not enemies, we are those who worship the same Christ, read the same Bible–yet disagree on how our faith should infuse our politics.
A great way for you to continue this process would be to pick up a copy of, “Left, Right & Christ: Evangelical Faith in Politics,” by Lisa Sharon Harper and D.C. Innes. The authors do not agree on politics. One is a conservative Republican the other a progressive Democrat, but they have sought to dialogue across the divide. Their starting point is the common ground they share in Christ. They write,
“Our chief love is Jesus, and his Word is our rule. Both of us are Christians. And so what we have in common is greater than all our differences. Yet differences there are…How can two people who share the same fundamental Christian principles–profound, life-transforming, world-transforming principles–differ as sharply as we do at times on something that is also profoundly important like politics?”
I highly recommend the book as a way to continue what we began this week.
Thanks for a great week!
Here’s an example of civil dialogue by Sharon Harper & Innes