As American Christians pledge allegiance to the flag, we are increasingly aware that our churches are not united as one, but are deeply divided along political lines.
The facts are alarming.
- Our Churches are becoming more politically-charged.
- Political divisions have created a fractured and broken Church community.
- Young people are leaving the church by the thousands.
- Most young people say politics in the pulpit is driving them away from Christianity.
Bottom Line: The American Church has never been more divided politically.
So, what can we do to reverse this disturbing trend?
Well, maybe we can get together and talk about it.
At least, that’s my hope.
This summer, I’m planning to travel to different Churches around the country to hold town-hall style meetings where we can examine the issues that divide us, explore the dangers of mixing faith and politics and – hopefully – identify a path to heal our divided Church and find common ground again.
These events are forming even now. You can see what we’ve got in mind here.
For me, there really is no greater problem in the American Church right now. The numbers are alarming, but the devastation caused by our division is even worse.
Not only are Church communities dividing sharply with one another over political arguments, but even families are being torn apart over these issues.
It goes so much deeper than unfriending a stranger on Facebook or unfollowing someone on Twitter. We have actually started to sever our connections with people we share a last name with, or people we would otherwise lay down and die for.
To me, this is a form of psychosis. We’ve allowed our allegiances to politicians and political ideologies to cloud our thinking, and to curse our neighbors and our brothers and sisters in Christ.
In the words of Paul the Apostle: “This ought not to be”
When Paul rebuked the Christians in Corinth for dividing like this, it was because they were forming tribes over which Apostle was their favorite.
Today’s Churches are dividing over a much less noble allegiance, and I believe the response should be the same:
“One of you says, ‘I follow Trump’, another ‘I follow Pelosi’, another ‘I follow McConnell’ and still another ‘I follow Bernie.’ Is Christ divided? Was Donald crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Hilary?”
But, as dangerous and destructive as this political division is to the Body of Christ, very few seem to be standing for unity. Very few seem to call out for an end to this. Almost no one seems to decry this way of thinking, and most are rushing to defend their position and contend that Christ is on their side.
So, that’s why I’ve decided to do something. Maybe it’s naive. Maybe it’s foolish. Maybe no one will be interested in coming together to seek common ground and to heal our political divide.
But, I have to believe that someone, somewhere, feels the same way. Someone, somewhere, sees how this is killing the Church. Someone, somewhere, must be eager to abandon the defense of politics and take up the mandate to love our neighbor as ourselves.
If you’re that someone, please let me know. I’d love to help sow seeds of unity and peace in the Body of Christ.
The time to heal this wound is now. We may not have another chance.
Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today, He and his wife live in Meridian, Idaho, awaiting their next adventure.
His new book “Jesus Unbound: Liberating the Word of God from the Bible”, is available now on Amazon and features a Foreword by author Brian Zahnd.
He is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb” with a Foreword by Greg Boyd.
Keith also co-hosts the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast on iTunes and Podbean.
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