Future of Evangelicalism
The Dead Are Not Raised by Politics
That's a really powerful thing. Those coming into the room who really wanted to hate or dismiss him had a harder time doing so. We need more of that: the hugging ministry!
What does it mean to live in the imitation of Christ, even as one lives and works in the corridors of great power and wealth? What does it mean to imitate a crucified carpenter when one is walking in the marble halls of the Capitol?
Some believers have a tendency to become prima donnas when they find success. It's refreshing when you meet a person, like Fred Barnes, who is not affected by his notoriety and position. David Brooks, although he is not a Christian, is simply one of the nicest people you will ever meet. He's never in a hurry, dashing around the room to meet other people. He's a fundamentally decent person.
Whether we're working among the poor in South Atlanta, or among the rich in Chevy Chase, Maryland, the way in which we comport ourselves personally, emotionally, relationally, ought to take on those attributes that Thomas à Kempis talks about. That may mean displaying a posture of decency and charity, of listening and humility, remembering people's names, caring about their personal needs. The way we treat the people who park our cars, the wait staff at a restaurant, and a Senator, ought to be the same.
It's sad when people come to Washington and get all hyperventilated about people of power, as if the person they're standing next to is somehow more important in God's economy than the person who parked their car in the parking lot. I don't think that's true. We ought to treat all people in all walks of life with the same kind of respect and dignity, because they are made in the imago Dei. It's a spiritual discipline to remember that. We have to realize that the God we worship is far more important than the person with the big title in front of us.
That ought to enable us to relax around people of power, and not to be intimidated. Our decency ought to overflow as a person, so that they realize that we are people who try to imitate Christ.
In the past six years, I've worked as a commissioner the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. In the international human rights community, you meet many people who care about humanity but a little less about humans. You meet people who care about the suffering in Sudan but who treat people who are working on those issues poorly. We have to remember that in all these areas, all people are valuable and made in the image of God, and thus we should treat everyone with the same respect and dignity.
Dr. Timothy Dalrymple is the Associate Director of Content at Patheos, and writes weekly on faith, politics, and culture for Patheos' Evangelical Portal. Follow him at his blog, Philosophical Fragments, on Facebook or on Twitter.