Monday, September 29, 2008

election rambles...

This post is long overdue and thanks to a wonderful breakfast experience with some intelligent folks, I feel the need to share my thoughts. This comes from the heart (and my current quiet times)...

Regardless of who you're voting for, I want to express some of my concerns. Honestly, it doesn't have much to do with the candidates at this point. Don't get me wrong, I have opinions on the matter, I've done my research (and continue to) and I make it a point to dialog with others about the future of this great country. However, it's all of the stuff leading up to the vote that seems to concern me the most.

As a Christian, I feel there are some ground-rules that should be established when talking politics. Specifically, I'm referring to our upcoming presidental election. I understand that people are passionate about what they believe, who they back, and what they want to see in our future. We should all be vocal about our stance on issues. We should all seek out the facts (unbiased ones, if possible) and then share what we know. We should all listen to each other. We should share our concerns. We should pray for our country and its leaders. We should look to the Bible for guidance.

[Eph. 4...1As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.]

None of this is new. These are things we are encouraged to do as Christians. Why should it be any different when dealing with the political issues in life?

So, here's where my concern comes into play. Why is it that so many of us (Christians) have become rude, forceful, dramatic, and pushy when discussing our political beliefs? Why do we make others feel alienated, upset, and disrespected for choosing one over another? We are called to love one another. I cannot (and should not) forcefully impress my beliefs upon anyone else. Sure, I may not agree with others, but that does not give me the right to belittle them or make them feel as though they are unintelligent and incapable of making an educated decision based upon what they value and deem important.

[Eph. 4...14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.]

Regardless of who wins this election, I think Christians have an opportunity to make a huge impact on our society - one for the better. We can open up to others, listen to their words, and then intelligently share our own Biblically based ideals. What an opporunity to be a light in this dark world. I'm not suggesting we become "soft" and refrain from voicing our thoughts. Instead, I think we should share...and we are instructed to do so. However, we must remember that we are called to love.

Eph. 4...17So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.

20You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

25Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26"In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold. 28He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.

29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.]

I look forward to reading your comments...

10 comments:

Christie C. said...

Amen. I would comment more, but can't seem to put thoughts into words right now - but I agree with you.

Thank you for posting this, Anne.

Doreen T. said...

Well said!! I especially appreciate your encouragement to us all to pray for our country/leaders and to go to the Bible for direction.

J Yo said...

Good post...and I agree. I have had moments where I have become a little heated in a discussion, but shouldn't have. My only point for people to consider is to DO YOUR HOMEWORK...don't just vote for someone because they're a war hero or because Fergie performed at their convention. Know the issues, and make a decision.

Thanks for making me think, Anne...I hadn't yet today! :)

kate said...

very good. I'm much to the thought of not impressing upon others my view and not belittling anyone for their voting, though I may not understand it.

Krista said...

Thanks for the thoughts! I think people have a really hard time separating what they feel so passionately about (who they are voting for and what they believe to be true) from being able to even listen to another person's point of view and not just immediately getting angry because obviously their thinking is wrong...This is a good reminder though and a good way to open up election dialogue! I do enjoy discussing these issues with people who I can have these respectful discussions with even if we don't quite see eye to eye. I think the emotions leading to the rude conversations you are speaking of, can get magnified in Christian circles because frequently the assumption is there that of course we're all going to come to the same conclusion on canditates. However, this doesn't always happen. ...hope this makes sense. Thanks for the post

Chris/ty said...

Well said Anne. I just don't understand people who are Christians and are expressing their political views in a disrespectful, rude and belittling way. There is no reason to attack someone for their beliefs, views and thoughts. I think everyone just wants to be right and this is one of those times that as Christians, we need to respectfully and "tastefully" agree to disagree. Like Jess said, just do your homework...

PS - We had a great time at breakfast! Thanks for posting about our conversation. I will give you a call back tonight!

nicole said...

This was really encouraging and I love the verses you posted, we really do need to look to God's Word for direction. I think it needed to be said, and I couldn't agree more, that the belittling nature of many conversations etc needs to stop. As Christians we need to seize the opportunity to have intelligent God honoring conversations, and yes PRAY about our country and our leaders. Amen! Thanks so much for sharing :)

Stacy said...

Anne,
I completely agree with you. I'm to the point now where when someone brings up the election I just cringe. This election season, more than any I remember, as been so full of slander, name-calling, bashing and rudeness that I'm a bit appalled. I can't wait for it to be over!

Alicia said...

Anne, you were one of the first Christians I came across at WWU prior to my commitment to Christ. You truly live out the words you speak and write. You are always present when I speak of my testimony and I know you are present in the testimony of many others. You were open and showed me a real Christian. The words in this blog are wise, so very true and encouraging! Preach on sister...

Annie Peterson said...

I just wrote a political post and, leading up to it, was thinking about how to follow that verse to speak with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15) but still speak the truth without reserve...and to know when is the right time to be bold and forceful with the truth...

Good thoughts! :)