I included this question in yesterday’s post about the shootings at the three Asian American spas:
And why is it okay for someone to register for and buy a gun on the same day in Georgia but it’s not okay to register and vote on the same day in Georgia?
Maybe I’m naive, but I don’t see that question as controversial. It’s a real question. I would love to hear from someone – especially from a person of faith – an answer to that question that makes sense.
People of faith can disagree and it’s an ongoing topic of conversation among preachers about how we – as students of Scripture charged with proclaiming The Truth – can express what we believe God is saying to us even if we know there are hearers who will – at best – disagree and – at worst – accuse of of meddling/preaching politics.
[Note: Jesus was crucified for political reasons. Just something to keep in mind as we move into Holy Week.]
As a preacher, I have not cornered the market on God’s Truth. And yet I can say for sure that God doesn’t want us to :
- Perform child sacrifice.
- Burn down our neighbor’s house.
- Enslave people.
Those beliefs do not seem political unless we go deeper.
- Are we sacrificing our children by not tightening gun legislation? (Check out this new book Children Under Fire by Washington Post reporter John Woodrow Cox.) Are we sacrificing our children by permitting abortion? By aborting fetuses with Down Syndrome?
- Are we figuratively burning down the houses of our neighbors when our troops accidently or strategically target civilian villages? Are we sacrificing safe neighborhoods for fossil fuel expansion?
- Are we allowing financial institutions to hold students hostage with crushing debt? Are we participating in unfair labor practices that keep the poor impoverished?
See what I mean? It doesn’t take much to move into “meddling.”
I believe we are called to speak the truth in love and it’s also true that people will not love us back. In healthy congregations, people can agree to disagree. In healthy congregations, people of deep faith can say to each other, “You could be right, but I’m not there yet.”
In unhealthy congregations, preachers get bullied and gas-lit and assaulted in ways unbecoming of a follower of Jesus. And sometimes preachers speak in a way that people can’t hear them.
Stories help. But sometimes people with whom we disagree don’t believe our stories.
How do we preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ when the Gospel makes God’s people uncomfortable? We love them or at least we try to love them. And we remember that we follow One who loved God’s people even from the cross.
Image from St. David’s United Reformed Church in Eastham, U.K.