Friday, August 5, 2016

Politics and Faith: Where I stand

As part of my job I am required to follow politics.  I am not claiming that I am an expert, I just have to pay attention.  Since I have to pay attention, sometimes people will ask what my current position is on the election or specific candidates.  Most often, these people already know where I fall on the liberal/conservative scale and on certain social issues.  This year, however, I am struggling to find my place within the political spectrum because I don't agree with either candidates position on a handful of matters so a lot of my conversations with people have gone deeper than just asking who my candidate is.  
For background and the sake of being thorough, at the end of the day, I believe life is conceived at conception.  Why?  Because I went through in vitro fertlization and you will not be able to convince me that my frozen embryos are anything less than babies.  Don't try.  This dictates my personal position on when life begins.  If you've terminated a pregnancy, I don't judge you or condemn you.  That was your choice.  There are circumstances that are out of your control and a number of other reasons why people have experienced that.  I don't write my position to shame anyone, I write it for transparency.  If you disagree with me, I still respect you and believe you are entitled to your position. 
I also believe that the Bible clearly states that marriage is supposed to be shared between a man and a woman, however, I am not going to argue or picket or judge when my gay friends or family members choose to marry someone they love.  I am no more or less of a Christian or more or less of a sinner because of my position on marriage.  I just believe in what the Bible says.  The good news is, God is not going to ask for my input on anyone else's judgment day so I love and I will support love.  Again, if you disagree with me, I still respect you and believe you are entitled to do so.  
It is with great reserve that I even write those things out and share them with the world because I know that it is inviting in judgment and criticism from either side of the spectrum.  I also realize that it could be hurtful to people very important and close to me to read that.  My intention is not to hurt, judge or condemn.  It is with my whole heart that I say I love any and all of my family members, regardless of their race, religion, sexuality, or history and I will continue to support, encourage and be there for any and all of them just as I hope I already am.  
I humbly admit that I had to come far to get to this place of love and acceptance.  I struggled intensely and had to have a severe personal reset when it came to my "position" on these issues.  I have stories of judgment, resentment, and anger in my past when it comes to both of these very sensitive and personal life choices that I am not proud of and where I needed to ask for other's forgiveness.  
That being said, you could say that the past eight years for me should be a disappointment or frustrating due to the country's shift in legal social policies but they have not. 
Just like I personally needed to fall hard and have my eyes opened to my hard heart and judgmental position on these issues, I feel that the church needed/needs the same reset.  We still have far to go but if you look at what the past eight years have called the church to do it has been, in my opinion, a welcome awakening.  Since the country has decided to stray further from the Biblical standards on life and marriage, the church has had to dig in and re-examine the Biblical standards on LOVE.  I feel that more churches and leaders have called out and challenged Christians in what it means to love like Jesus loved.  To live like Jesus lived.  He surrounded himself with those that were not like him.  He was drawn to and drew in the downtrodden, the sinful and the different.  
The church is at a point of re-awakening that is so very necessary and while we may not agree or the Bible doesn't support the positions that our country has taken, God knew these things were going to happen. He is not surprised by this.  In fact, I think that he is using this as an opportunity to command us to live out the commandment to love thy neighbor.  He is calling us to do it better.  We are all created in His image.  We are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God.  It's time that we stop throwing stones.  It is time that we drop our stones and walk away from condemnation and judgment.  Just like it took a pivotal moment for Jesus to draw the line in the sand, I feel that our country has drawn that line and we now have to choose whether or not we reach across to welcome others in or stomp our feet, throw a temper tantrum and dig into our unloving old ways. 
So where do I stand on this election and the issues?  Here is where I stand.  I stand on the authority of Romans 13:1
"Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God." (emphasis added)
I hold confidence in the plan that God has for this country.  He will not be surprised by who wins the election in November and He has already laid out those steps.  He knew what would happen these past eight years and I have seen it as an amazing opportunity for the Church to step up and love better. 
For those in the church who may have been discouraged by the past eight years, please evaluate how much it has challenged us.  Look at what it called us to do.  In my opinion, I think that when the hard lines were drawn, we actually became better for it.  
Things may not go the way you want them to in November, but keep in mind, God knows what we are about to walk through and hopefully, again, the church will come out better for it. 


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