Thursday, August 30, 2012

Why I Don't Want To Live in a "Christian" Nation

What does it mean to be a "Christian" nation?  I've heard it said a lot that we are a Christian nation or that we began as a Christian nation or that we are no longer a Christian nation, but what exactly does that mean?  When I look at the connotation of any nation being associated with a single religion, such as a Muslim nation for instance, it doesn't exactly conjure up a real positive image.

In case you haven't guessed yet, I am a Christian but I view Christianity not as a religion but as a personal faith, a relationship, between a human being and God.  How can a nation possibly be "Christian?"  One of the main concerns that I have with people wanting America to become a Christian nation is that we as voters begin to vote based on religion rather than competency.  We begin to ask ourselves questions like, "Could I ever vote for a Mormon?" for instance.  

In my heart, I truly believe that we cannot allow our religious beliefs to cloud our judgement when it comes to voting.  The modern church seems to have become more focused on getting a Christian into office than we are about being a Christian at the office.  I think voting should be based much more on values than religion, and yes, there really is a difference.  If I vote my values, I can vote for an someone of any belief system or even an atheist, if they value the things I value in a nation.  Someone having to believe the world is 6,000 years old is really not a very important concern to me when it comes to running my country.  

When it comes time to vote for a new pastor at my church I will vote based on theological beliefs, when it comes to voting for a president I will vote for who I think is the best person for the job.  As Christians, when we fight to have a Christian nation, then we are devaluing every other faith system out there, which ironically makes us just like the system we were fleeing to come here in the first place.  If Christianity is so wonderful, we should not need to legislate it, we should simply put it on display for the world to see for themselves.        

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Enemy of Humanity

One of the more popular verses in the Bible is Ephesians 6:12, which states:

 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual  forces  of wickedness in the heavenly  places. (Ephesians 6:12 NASB)

I realized today that I have always mistaken this verse.  We currently live in a world where we wage battles not against spiritual forces but against flesh and blood.  We live in a world where we are constantly blowing each other up, killing, raping, pillaging, each other.  Many of us, myself included, can be very pro-war at times, but the mistake is that we are fighting the wrong enemy.  For you see, even though the battle is NOT against flesh and blood, that is precisely where it always takes place.  It is in each other that we go to war over power, greed, envy, jealousy, rage, hate, bitterness, etc.  Sometimes we destroy each other literally and sometimes we tear each other down in other ways though slander and deprecation.  

Our enemy is an elusive one, he is invisible which makes him hard to detect, yet he dwells within us all.  We mistake each other for the problem when really, it is something far different.  When I go to war with you and try to kill or tear you down, I am not really killing my enemy, I am simply destroying its dwelling place, leaving it free to live on the the hearts of others while a wake of pain and suffering is left behind.

I cannot fight the enemy in you because he lives in your heart, a place I cannot reach. So when I attempt to do so, all I do is destroy you, accomplishing nothing.  You see, it is when I truly recognize that my battle REALLY ISN'T against flesh and blood and that it is flesh and blood that makes you my brother rather than my enemy, then I will understand how to win this fight.  It is when I turn the focus of the battle from outward to inward and begin to strike down the enemy in me that progress will be made.

If as a world we were ever to recognize that our battle is not with each other but with ourselves, we will begin to eradicate all of the things that drive us apart and cause us to wound one another.  It is when we begin to defeat the hate and rage within using the weapon of love that we will begin to strike the enemy of humanity it's death blow.  If the day ever comes that we all recognize this, it will be the day we are able to see past our differences and our beliefs and finally............... the world will know peace.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The "Christian" Right

As we enter into the home stretch of our political season, I can't help but notice how much Christianity plays a role in politics.  I often hear it stated from the Christian sidelines that we want politicians who uphold traditional Christian values.  I actually find it a little sad that there is actually a political position associated with Christianity.  I'm afraid one of the reasons our nation becomes more and more divided politically is because we treat each other like opposite sides of a college rivalry.  We have become so absorbed with different political parties that we stopped listening to each other years ago and have since been rooting against each other.

Sometimes I fear that, as Christians, our biggest concerns have gone from loving our neighbors to winning elections.  Or at least winning an argument, be it evolution vs creation or predestination  vs freewill.  I'm also afraid that we have come to a place where we have begun to view those who don't share our beliefs as enemies rather than people with a different perspective.  Let's face it, as Christians, if we believe with confidence that we have discovered in Christ the greatest way to live on this Earth, then we must view others as missing out on something special.  Something special, that we should want to share with them.  We also should have the perspective that if people are not choosing Christianity, it is not because they are haters of Christ and haters of Christians, it means they have not yet experienced the love that we proclaim.  And perhaps the reason they haven't experienced that is that we haven't shown it to them.

Don't get me wrong, I think we all should vote and vote our conscience, but I think we need to be careful mixing our politics and our religion.  A vote against what one believes in is not a vote against "God."  Love thy neighbor and render unto Cesar that which is Caesar's.