Love One Another…

“To be a Christian is to live dangerously, honestly, freely – to step in the name of love as if you may land on nothing, yet to keep on stepping because the something that sustains you no empire can give you and no empire can take away.” ― Cornel West

“Christ instructs us to love our enemies, which does not mean a submission to their hostile agendas or domination, but does mean treating them as human beings also created in the image of God and respecting their human rights as adversaries and even as prisoners.” ― Jim Wallis, God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It

As we rapidly approach election day, I find myself worn out by all of the vitriol and rhetoric that further divides an already divided population.

Last night, after making the mistake of watching the news, I found myself spending time in prayer. From time to time, I write down my prayers. Last night was one of those times.

“God, forgive us, for we are so easily tempted to place our hope and trust in the kingdoms of this world. Help us to remember as your followers that we are neither Republican nor Democrat, we are Christians. Our hope is not in a political leader. Our hope is not in a political party. Our hope is not in a political platform. Our hope is not in the Supreme Court. Our hope is in You and You alone. Help us to remember that You call us to be one as you are one. Help us to remember that unity is not about voting, it’s about love. Help us to remember that our allegiance is to You. Where there is evil, let Your light and love overwhelm and defeat it. Where there is disunity, disruption and injustice, bring Your peace, justice, mercy and love. Help us to remember, love, serve and care for the hurting and broken, the least and the lost, the overlooked, the outcast, the marginalized, those living on the fringes…may the experience and know your love. Help us to recognize the role we play in creating and sustaining division in our world. Help us to recognize that there are times when our political allegiances damage our witness. Help us to see that diversity, in all manners, can actually be wonderful, beautiful and powerful. As we head to the polls, as the results of the election are shared, let love be our guide. In our interactions with those whom we agree and especially with those whom we disagree, let love be our guide. While we may not vote the same, let us “love alike”. Help us to love one another. God, heal our land. God, save us from ourselves. Amen.”

“Disagreement itself is not the problem, passionate disagreement is not the problem, rather the inability to put aside disagreement in nonessentials for the sake of Christian unity is the problem.”
― Charles E. Gutenson, Hijacked: Responding to the Partisan Church Divide

“Christianity is at its best when it is peculiar, marginalized, suffering, and it is at its worst when it is popular, credible, triumphal, and powerful.”
― Shane Claiborne, Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals

“The kingdom of God is neither blue nor red, tea nor coffee! The church must stand in prophetic tension with Constantinian political systems and never underwrite or accommodate itself to a partisan political world order, including American democracy.”
― Mike Slaughter, Hijacked: Responding to the Partisan Church Divide

“Some folks may be really bummed to find that “God bless America” does not appear in the Bible. So often we do things that make sense to us and ask God to bless our actions and come alongside our plans, rather than looking at the things God promises to bless and acting alongside of them. For we know that God’s blessing will inevitably follow if we are with the poor, the merciful, the hungry, the persecuted, the peacemakers. But sometimes we’d rather have a God who conforms to our logic than conform our logic to the God whose wisdom is a stumbling block to the world of smart bombs and military intelligence.”
― Shane Claiborne, Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals

“We have been seduced by sound bites. It is difficult to imagine how we are going to have an intelligent conversation around complex theopolitical issues as long as the average news consumer in America is willing to be sound-bite driven. We face a sorry state of affairs in our culture when few people seem willing to take the time for nuanced discussion on the complicated challenges we face. Politicians of all parties have been willing to foster this sound-bite mentality because it has worked for them. Most Americans work hard and are faced with too little time and too many distractions to study the issues well enough to make an informed judgment on them. As long as news consumers are willing to be manipulated by sound bites and are unwilling to commit the time to understand the complexities, we will continue to see artificial and simplistic distinctions drive too much of our conversation, resulting in divisions and disagreements that rarely get at the substantive issues.”
― Charles E. Gutenson, Hijacked: Responding to the Partisan Church Divide