Thursday, May 10, 2012

Even God was willing to compromise.

The headline reads: "Tea party radicals paralyzing U.S., GOP veteran says."

The story is about the longest-serving Republican, Richard Lugar, who got bounced for being too moderate. Lugar has critical of the Tea Party's influence in the GOP, which can be summarized as purge of anyone who would dare compromise with the democrats, further polarizing American politics. Lugar, for his part, has had a record of working for the best of the country, even if means making compromises to get things done; not an unreasonable and unrealistic position to have.

I have always been somewhat dismissive of anyone labelling a person or group (political, religious, or otherwise) as "scary." I've heard liberally minded persons call conservatives "scary," and I've heard conservatively minded call liberals the same. What bothers me about such labels is how they can sabotage intelligent dialog. Saying we fear the "other" is in inself an admission that we don't understand, and as we all know, fear of the unknown is simply "phobia."

Now, I must admit, I am experiencing a kind of phobia with respect to politics and the way we in North America, and perhaps the whole world are becoming uber polarized on just about everything political. Whether it is about economics, the environment, education, healthcare or marriage equality, doesn't it seem as if our ability to compromise is almost non-existent? Yes, we can argue that there are certain things that are not open to negotiation and uncompromisable—child labor and human trafficking, for example. But have we lost our ability to think creatively in such a way that both sides of an issue and be unpacked, looked with unfiltered eyes and perhaps replaced by a "compromise?"

Even God was willing to compromise when Abraham negotiated with him...look it up, it's in Genesis.

My point is that I am tired of the stalemates I see everywhere. The labeling that goes on in efforts to characterize the opposition as less than...I'm tired of it, and it frightens me. I need go no farther than how this vilification of persons has lead to the incredibly untenable situation in Uganda and as many as seventy-five other nations that criminalize and persecute sexual minorities, and this is just one issue.

So what am I doing about it? To start, I will refrain from calling myself a Christian, since most of the crap being slung is coming from those who call themselves "Christians." It's a label that unfortunately is too tarnished to be salvaged. When Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another…” He didn't go on to say “By this everyone will know that you are ‘Christian, if you love one another.’” Nope. Instead He said, “They will know you are my DISCIPLES.” The qualifier being: IF WE LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

My thinking on this has been impacted by Andy Stanley, son of the famous pastor Charles Stanley. Google him yourself and check out his recent sermon series titled “Christian.” You'll find the link if you search for North Point Community Church and click on the messages link.

Imagine what our world would look like if people acted like disciples rather than Christians.

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