Tag Archive | politics

Polarization Pollution

Black and white. North Pole vs South Pole. Both examples of polar opposites in our world. We can accept these as valid and real. Interesting how no one wants everything all black or all white – the lack of color is limiting. Grey however is a good neutral ground and acceptable, but even then, it is often, in clothing and decorating added to with pops of color. Grey days are usually gloomy, although some people love them while others prefer the sun. Sun all the time without the darkness of night can be wearying too.

No one lives comfortably at the North or South Poles, or even close to them—they are too cold. And living along the equator is too hot for others so people often live in between either, and even then weather patterns can make life challenging. There is no one “ideal” place to live since the Garden of Eden.

I was pondering all this because of how polarized our culture has become, especially in the United States. Cries of racism and a growing segregation of people of color vs those with less melanin in their skin. But what about those in the grey area? Those of mixed heritage and culture? We are all essentially one race and this is not a “race” issue but a cultural one. What else could we pick on? Are people with blue eyes perceived as superior to those with brown? Or are people with curly hair more frivolous than those with straight? Are people with a higher BMI less valuable than those with less? We can all make judgements based on visual cues that have nothing to do with the reality of our value as image bearers in God’s eyes. I can forget this too sometimes.

I’ve been guessed as Hispanic or Italian based on my appearance, but in reality, I’m in the grey area. My heritage genetically is from a variety of other places but those two aren’t in the mix. I’m a mutt as it were. But I’m also exactly who God created me to be.

Modern medicine has us polarized as well. It has also given us unrealistic expectations, and some have made it their hill to die on. Vaccine or Non-vaccine. That’s it. No colors in between, or are there? Individual choices are questioned and condemned without understanding the other side’s perspective. And it may not even be based on what you think. Cursing someone’s choice however closes the door to understanding.

Or have we made a different judgement? Who controls the power over life and death? Is it Dr.  Fauchi with his ever-changing flip-flopping on things? Or the World health Organization with its own political agenda? Or is it the Centers for Disease Control which also might have underlying precepts that some might disagree with? All led by fallible human beings with their own way of looking at things which, sadly enough, can skew data or the way it is shared to accomplish a particular goal. Trust the numbers, it’s science. Maybe so, but statistics can be flawed if one isn’t careful to see the bigger picture of how the numbers are arrived at. But what do I know? Maybe my professors misled me when they taught me about that kind of thing? They taught me to be critical and discerning…numbers can lie. There is a history of science being skewed…and even wrong.

There are a few other things that concern me…and even I struggle with these. Have we expected too much of modern medicine? Have we made it our idol? Some have made alternative medicine their idol as well. I live in the grey, seeing benefits of both. And neither one can save your life when the LORD of the Universe determines your expiration date.

But something worse happens than physical death in our American society at this present time. It is relational death. The division of people based on superficial constructs—skin color, medical position on vaccines, or political party. (gasp!)

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy. (James 3:17, HCSB)

Maybe right now some of you are perceiving me as that awful pillow or comforter a relative made for you, with clashing colors that make you wince. Maybe so. Muddy waters aren’t pretty either and I’ve stirred the pot a little more.

What I’m really urging is for us to relax. Take a deep breath. Try to understand the perspective of the other side even if you disagree with it. Politics and Covid aside, the reality is we are human beings created for community. Fight against evil! Always. But be careful what you determine as evil. Is it someone who disagrees with your well-researched opinion? Instead of throwing mud at the other person, perhaps sit down, face to face, to find out how the other person came to their perspective, without judgement, argument, or debate. Ask questions, and even if you don’t agree…love them right where they are at.

Kindness and love are better than black and white or even grey on any day.

Do You Make Jesus Look Stupid?

IMG_20131214_090959_409I’m stepping out on a limb here because something has bothered me a lot lately with social media.

Christians are making statements and polarizing themselves over things that are inconsequential. Oh, I know, you believe your views are important and I respect that, but please, hear me out here.

Does your firm stance and insulting words about whether someone is Republican or Democrat show the winsomeness of Christ?

Or whether you believe in Creation or Evolution?

Or, whether everyone should say “Merry Christmas?”

I’m not saying that these things are unimportant. What I want to propose though is that the militant stand that many take might be doing more to alienate those from the truth of the gospel and the holiness of this time of year than attract them to it.

Insulting someone to try to win them to your point of view is the equivalent of throwing manure on them rather than the sweet aroma of baking Christmas cookies. It doesn’t work.

Our opponents are fellow image bearers of Christ, whether we agree with their political, cultural or theological positions on things.

I have my perspective and stand on issues too, and some I feel strongly about. However, the reason I initially went to pursue a degree in Christian counseling was because I saw too often that the words and behaviors of many Christians were a stumbling block to unbelievers.

Granted, we are all in the process of sanctification–and I am at times as guilty as anyone of being obnoxious about things I believe strongly in. However, I believe as Christians we need to have an extra filter on our conversations on-line. The filter of the question: “Will this bring honor to Christ and make Him desirable for others to pursue?”

Yes, I know Christianity is objectionable to many. But consider this. Is it because of the truths of the Bible itself,or could it be due to the way those who claim to be Christians behave and respond to the world around them?

I’m not going to tell you what to believe about how you educate your child, whether or not you should vaccinate or if you should be for or against Obamacare. I respect the fact that there are people on both sides of the aisle of these issues. And that’s okay. (No. Really. It is.). God can be honored and glorified in many of the diverse opinions we hold depending on the manner in which we hold them.

Does that make sense? I believe God can be glorified in the family that chooses public school as well as  those who homeschool (or private). God leads and guides us all in different ways because He desires to shine His light in all the dark corners of the world. When we can love others in spite of their views on abortion (gasp!) or how they vote, we elevate their dignity as humans created in the image of God above our own agendas. Do we have to negate what we believe in to do that? NO! But we can love and listen and even disagree without disrespecting those who hold opposing views. We can stand for truth, certainly, but let us do it with grace.

Ultimately our goal is to win the world to Jesus, but if  the world sees us as fighting about minor issues as to what color of skin Jesus or Santa had or get militant about boycotting stores that say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” then how does that draw them closer to the very Savior we proclaim to worship and adore? When we do things like this we are slamming the door of the inn in their face and tell them they can’t belong with us because of some corporate policy dictated to them by a handful of people removed from the day to day interaction at a cash register.

Go ahead and say Merry Christmas in response to a benign greeting. Sometimes those employees are obeying orders but can respond to your comment with their own Merry Christmas when you open the door instead of being hostile. And the sweetness of Christ will prevail instead of more animosity.

This goes beyond Christmas – but the war seems to be more heated than ever at this season. Christianity is not supposed to intentionally alienate people from the truths of the Gospel. The gospel can do that on it’s own but those who believe in Him should not. We hold our faith as a precious and beautiful gift of grace that is meant to be shared, not horded.