26 Feb Band-Aids & Politics
Band-Aids are magical, at least to my children they were. When my kids were little, any booboo from a fall could be cured with a band-aid. To them, the application of a band-aid cured their ailment and allowed them to move on. In many ways this is how we use politics.
I grew up in the South where politics skews towards the Republican Party. If you visit most churches in the south as campaign season ramps up you’re likely to hear Republican themes in the hallways if not from the pulpit. I offer the following thoughts as a guide to examining how you choose to respond.
For most of my life, I’ve been a political junkie.
For most of my life, I’ve been a political junkie. I enjoy examining polling data, predicting human behavior, and the nuance of issues. As a political addict, I very easily get sucked into political debates. To be clear, being involved politically is not wrong. I know many people who serve with a humble heart. However, I’ve grown increasingly concerned by the way we choose to communicate. Actually, I don’t know that we can call it communication anymore. Today’s political environment is more akin to throwing rhetorical bombs than engaging in meaningful conversations. Why is that? More importantly, what is our role as believers?
Generally, when it comes to faith and politics you’ll see the two sides offer the following talking points:
The conservatives will point towards a handful of issues to differentiate along lines of faith (i.e. homosexual marriage, abortion, etc.). The liberals do the same by pointing to immigration, poverty, etc. Each side will try to out “Christian” the other with scripture citations mixed with a healthy dose of venom. I find both ends of the spectrum to be somewhat constrictive and missing the totality of the gospel.
Why do we allow this to happen? What if politics are our band-aid? We often trot out our political fix for guns, immigration, poverty, marriage, then debate and walk away feeling accomplished. But here’s a simple question: What political debate have you engaged in over the past 5 years that has tangibly changed a life?
I suggest that we as Christians have a much better option to offer.
Instead of debating for more or less gun control. Go spend time with the teenager locked in his room playing video games. Instead of debating homosexual marriage. Go have lunch with your homosexual co-worker who you ignore. Instead of debating immigration. Go volunteer to help teach English to a class that desperately wants to learn. Instead of debating drug policy or sentencing. Go serve a meal and mentor a woman in rehab facility who is fighting to be clean so she can parent her children. Instead of protesting abortion. Go sign up to foster, adopt, or visit a local children’s home. Try to see people not policies, issues, or a political party.
You see, we’re no different than children. We want a cure. We want the pain to go away, so we’ll accept a false hope or cure so we can continue on with our selfish pursuits. Instead we might have to get a little messy and expose some wounds, both theirs and ours. But let’s offer real hope, real healing, a real cure.