How Do We Heal Our Political Divide?

How Do We Heal Our Political Divide? March 27, 2019
Image: Pixabay

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.

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. 

BONUS: Want to unlock exclusive content including blog articles, short stories, music, podcasts, videos and more? Visit my Patreon page.

 


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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • swbarnes2

    But politics isn’t just “politics”. Politics today is “Are gay people going to be allowed to live their lives authentically as equal members of society, or is it okay to torture them to make them something they aren’t?

    Are you going to ask the parents of a gay son to not care what the answer to that question is?

    No one “follows” Pelosi, but if someone has a pre-existing medical condition, is it really such a horrible thing for them to really care whether or not the ACA gets scrapped?

  • Breannen Shim

    My thoughts exactly. I’m a poor, queer, mentally disabled, multiracial Christian woman, I don’t have the luxury of being seen as apolitical and I don’t have the luxury to ignore questions of policy or belief when they are likely to hurt me.

    My aunt criticized protests over police shootings. My pleas that she consider that my dark-skinned baby brother was already being harassed by police at age 14 fell on deaf ears. She voted for Trump a few months later, and laws have already been put into effect that hurt people like my brother and me. I was sad that I missed her wedding last week, but discovered that the ceremony contained a screed about how the sanctity of marriage was in danger. I would have felt unsafe and hurt, surrounded by my aunt’s fundamentalist friends, listening to everyone agree to dog-whistles about how the gays are perverts who shouldn’t get to marry. I love her, and I know she loves me, but should I subject myself to these hurts and indignities for her sake? Does her love for me erase the effects of her words or actions?

    I used to go to a fairly conservative church. Because of that church, I denied my sexuality a little longer. I was convinced I was in danger of hell. I was terrified to come out to my friends, or even get too close to them. I bit my tongue when they made homophobic comments. I was afraid that if the pastor found out and directed the church to shun me (as he said should be done with gays who won’t “repent”) all my friends would do it. I loved my friends there dearly and didn’t want my status as a sexual minority come between us, but eventually it did. I couldn’t take the stress of hiding so much of myself from my friends, but rather than come out to them and give them the chance to reject me, I left all of them, without saying goodbye. Should I have stayed? Should I have risked coming out? Was I being petty and letting politics get in the way?

    Political beliefs are not always as frivolous as just following a politician or a party like a sports team. It can affect whether people see you as a human being, whether they think you’re worth treating with dignity, whether they think your life matters.

    I want unity as much as the next person. I don’t enjoy having to make the decision to either distance myself from people I love or be subjected to their disdain and lack of concern for people like me.

    Making “peace” by deciding that people’s beliefs are of no importance, or acting as though there’s a middle ground for every issue, usuallly entails making the marginalized and oppressed suffer in silence in order to not rock the boat. If that’s the cost of unity, it isn’t worth it.

  • Nimblewill

    Unity requires that ALL people put aside their rights and die to self. We want others to think, believe and act like we do. Thanks for making the effort Keith. I hope you come close to me. I’ll be there.

  • Armed Citizen

    a very open and honest post – thank you for that.
    our ‘home’ isn’t here and therefore we don’t have to worry about who is in office – though it will not sit well with Christianity regardless.
    i will keep you in prayer Sister and know that He hears and still loves you.

  • KontraDiction

    I agree with swbarnes2 and Breannen. This isn’t politics as usual. This is the systematic stripping away of basic human rights from oppressed groups of all kinds. Unity must NOT come at the expense of these already suffering people!

    I’m all for listening to every side. I’m all for information exchange and open dialog. There is so much fear and mistrust already, bridges need to be built one person at a time.

    And I know above all that viewing others with love and not condemnation is the way forward. Best of luck, Keith.

  • swbarnes2

    our ‘home’ isn’t here

    What a wonderful excuse for the people in power to treat other people like garbage.

    I imagine you think Martin Luther King Jr was totally wasting his time. Since black people’s home is not here, how dare they make white people uncomfortable asking for equal treatment!

  • Armed Citizen

    no silly – i am giving hope to Christians who understand the brevity of this temporary living space we are in for now.

  • swbarnes2

    “You suffer pointlessly while I get to live a nice life” is not hopeful. It’s dismissive.

    And yes, LeeLah Alcorn and Savita Halapanaver’s lives were briefer than they should have been. I’m sure you find it absolutely incomprehensible that anyone thinks that’s not okay.

    But sure make “Jakelin Caal Maquin’s death is no big deal” the centerpiece of your Christian morality. And if people hate you for talking like that, that’s just your cross to bear, so don’t put it down.

  • swbarnes2

    You are going to put aside your rights? Really? Like your right to make your voice heard on a message board?

    Like your right to not be denied a job because of your religion?

    Thought not.

    How are you going to give up your right not to be harassed by police while going about your innocent business?

  • Ivan T. Errible

    There is no god.

  • Armed Citizen

    actually, i didn’t read the article, i was only responding to the post that i did respond to.

  • LastManOnEarth

    Maybe you should have done the one and not the other.

  • Armed Citizen

    considering the reception, i believe you’re right.

  • Breannen Shim

    I appreciate the prayers and I even appreciate the sentiment that our time on this Earth will ultimately be brief in comparison to eternity, and that Trump’s time in power will pass. However, my point was that I DO have to worry about stuff like this, I DO have to worry about who’s making the laws I live under and influencing the culture I live in. If I care about the well-being of myself, my loved ones, and millions of other marginalized folks in this country, which I do. This may not be my eternal home, but I will spend my whole life dealing with this stuff, unless we see some really major cultural changes.

  • Breannen Shim

    Some people are already forced to die to self, and have already had their rights put aside against their will. All for the convenience of others, who get to keep not only their rights but their privileges, and who are not asked to die to self for the sake of people they are taught are inferior to them. Is it fair to ask more of people who are already denied their rights and their selfhood?

    I understand that building bridges usually requires an amount of forbearance towards the other party, I just want to acknowledge that this is already expected of some groups of people as a matter of course, and that it’s an extra burden on those groups that others don’t have to deal with.

  • Kenneth Dawson

    The comments are a verification of what you just said in your article

  • I love you, my friend, but I’m with a number of the other commenters here. We’re not talking today about partisan politics—about blind allegiance to the Democratic or Republican party simply because it’s our party. We’re talking about systemic oppression, the stripping away of rights, the separation of families. We’re talking about wholesale evil on an unimaginable level. We’re divided because half of the country thinks these evils are okay. There can be no compromise on calling evil what it is. Unity cannot be restored—and indeed should not be restored—until such evils are reversed. I can do my best to love an oppressor, but I cannot have fellowship with them until they repent from their oppression.

  • K Curtis

    There is much about what you write that I would want to agree with, except that the problem here is not one of politics. I don’t take my identity from any political party, although there are some parties I feel more comfortable with than others. The issue here is one of basic Christianity, and whether or not the positions taken by people are in harmony with that or not – some of those people are political leaders. I wish they were not taking political positions that undermine the basic tenets of Christian faith, and human rights for that matter, but the opposition I experience toward them is not a political one, it is a Christian one, a moral one. Politics may have crossed over into that realm, but that does not mean I need to abandon that realm. These are not mere differences in political opinions, but differences in what defines us, in many cases as Christians – those who really do want to follow Jesus, and who do not find their primary identity in Paul, or Peter, or Apollos, or any other well known figure. While for some, I suppose the argument is one of politics as usual, but at least for me, that is not what it is about, but rather whether or not we are going to stay faithful to the Loving God, Loving People mandate that Jesus invites us to live by, or give into to some other philosophy of life that presses that to the background. So, while I agree with your desire find our unity in Jesus in a way that transcends political opinion, there may be, in this case, some political opinion that is simply not compatible with the kind of life Jesus calls us to live – and that is where the real rub and tension are. That doesn’t mean we can’t still love and be gracious towards those we disagree with, but it may well mean that we can’t forge a sense of unity with those who purposefully embrace what Jesus rejected. At least, I don’t know how to do that . . .

  • ashpenaz

    I mean this in all sincerity–maybe the divide can’t be bridged. I believe that Trumpism is the Antichrist, the Abomination of Desolation. I’m not using those terms politically–I believe Trumpism is born of the same spirit that the early Church saw as the greatest threat to Christianity. I think that the Beast of Revelation is a principality which moves from generation to generation, taking on different forms, and in our generation it is White Evangelicalism and Trumpism. The goal of the Beast is to deceive and distort Christianity and call people to false Christs–which is what Trumpism does. Maybe instead of dialogue, we should be standing outside, saying, “Come out of her, my people.” Again, this isn’t meant to be a rant–it’s a genuine, heartfelt opinion.

  • carol hamm

    I also feel about the same. Trump was sent to separate the sheep from the goats.anyone who can’t see what he is and blindly follow him, will be told to get away from me I never knew you.and your words ,get out of her my people if you don’t want to share in her punishment is not political, just fact.her,being Babylon the great, all false religions..

  • Michel Chotard

    Keith, the solution : The Centrality and Supremacy of Christ (see the link below). This is above any politic discussions. The Kingdom of God has nothing to do with politics. Political powers are in the hands of Satan.

    http://www.austin-sparks.net/english/000420.html

  • Johanna Haas

    It is not, and never was, about the personalities or people – as swbarnes2 notes. It is about the policies presented and whether those policies are Christian or not. We have very different core beliefs about what constitutes the core of Christianity.

  • The churches are being divided from within and from without.
    The laity have discovered that they have some power in changing the church’s policies; the government is using their monetary support to bludgeon the churches to conform to the latest affront to God.
    The continuing scandal of the Catholic church is causing its members to question the church’s authority. The blood thirsty effort to abort babies at any point in the pregnancy and some church’s acquiescence is causing incalculable damage to the believer.
    The urge to elevate self above any authority by the parents is causing an implosion of faith that children can feel and which is limiting their interest in all things religious.
    This why God has said to those who question His authority to make decisions, “I never knew you.”

  • LastManOnEarth

    How about we compromise on “no reparative therapy for immigrant children locked in cages”?

    Or how about “$15 hour minimum for guards at for-profit prisons”?

    Surely we can find some common ground (under the bus) on which to throw the rest of the Left.

  • billwald

    Mr. Giles:There is no solution. We have been waiting 2,018 years for Jesus to return and bail us. The parable about the king who left his country and when he returned, his people had messed things up. Well, Jesus left, we have been messing things up for 2,018 years because we are sinners and saying all the all the appropriate words didn’t turn me into a sinless saint.

    NOT COMPLAINING!!! All I can do is trust God and Jesus . . . and the ecumenical creeds. Unlike you, I don’t have the personality or the calling to start my own church. Long story, but after 50 years of going to church and listening to sermons about what God can, can’t and will do, I quit going and feel at peace with God. I no longer think that I can know anything about God and have no need to know. All I have is faith . . . in my faith?

  • ashpenaz

    Nobody is making a blood-thirsty effort to abort babies at any point in the pregnancy. That is simply slander and calumny. What we are saying is that in very complicated and painful situations, a woman needs to have recourse to safe procedures performed by a competent doctor. Situations requiring a late-term abortion are incredibly rare–but, when a doctor or team of doctors, and the mother, determine that this procedure is the lesser of all the evils, we want her to have access to this kind of health care.

    No, women do not say, “Oops, I got myself pregnant–better have an abortion. Oh, well!”

    Nor does Hilary cackle happily in the background, going, “Yessss! Another sacrifice!”

  • During the campaign people argued that Hillary was not for late term abortions but I heard her myself say that. Now we have moved to infanticide and you try to justify it. What gives you the right to determine what is the lesser of all evils? Have you considered that you and people like you are the agent of the Evil One.

  • James Breiling

    My observation is that one big reason for the divide is whether or not one embraces & seeks to implement “the mandate to love our neighbor as ourselves.” If one does not embrace this in belief & action, then is unity in Christ possible?

  • Nimblewill

    I put aside my rights everyday. For my wife, children, parents, the students I teach. I don’t have a right to have my voice heard on this message board. WE, YOU and me are privileged to be able to use computers and electricity. I’ve been kicked off Christian message boards before. My religion has never been discussed for any job I have ever applied for except for the year I taught at a Christian school. If I had said I was not a Christian, I WOULD NOT have been hired. I must be crucified! Crucifixion is the only form of capital punishment in which a man cannot do to himself. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

    He loves you too. Stay in One Peace!

  • Nimblewill

    Do you really not believe that anyone is inferior to you? Are you at the bottom of the social barrel. Do you not discriminate against anyone? Would you date/marry a hetero-christian-conservative-Republican male? Probably not, because of the standards you have determined for yourself. Don’t setting personal standards mean that I discriminate against those who don’t meet my standards. I wouldn’t have married a woman who smoked cigarettes. Dying to self doesn’t mean that I throw away my standards. Dying to self means that I put others above myself. It means that I don’t refuse to stop for the beaten man on the side of the road because there is a pack of cigarettes laying beside him. Dying to self and giving up my rights means that I don’t ask anything of anybody.

  • Nimblewill

    Your problem is that you categorize and define oppression without any idea that those you refuse to have fellowship with are just as oppressed. Oppressed by political ideologies that are on the opposite end of the spectrum but oppressed by them none the less. And you won’t see this until you look.

    For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

  • Without any idea? Are you kidding me? I was one of them. I was about as far right as you can get before crossing over into extremist territory. I changed because I realized the harm I was causing. Trust me, we were not oppressed. The MAGA crowd may be reviled, and with good reason, because what they advocate is revolting. But they suffer no oppression that isn’t brought about by their own evil viewpoints. And they have the option to change that.

  • Nimblewill

    You don’t believe in spiritual oppression? Powers and Principalities? We battle not against flesh and blood. Believe me, they, and it sounds like you, were oppressed.

    You do realize that revilers cannot enter the Kingdom of God, don’t you?

    Be not not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

  • Kyllein MacKellerann “

    Based on my own experience, the only way we’re going to reduce the politicization of our Churches is through the expulsion of those ministers and pastors who put politics first and Christ’s message second. This is not a new thing! We see it in the 16th and 17th Catholic church, wherein the non-religious actions of the priesthood created situations wherein people like Martin Luther and John Calvin could literally remake the existing Church into something different and – for a time – less overtly political.
    Sad Fact: Politics and Religion are twins. They share an enormous amount of social activity and are frequently difficult to impossible to separate. We can begin to separate these twins by expelling those persons who refuse to accept Christ’s message and insist on substituting some “-ism” in its place. Simple sad fact, God is not going to clean house for us; we have to do it ourselves. For many, counseling will fix the problem and return them to Christ’s message, but there will be a cadre of haters and politicos who will refuse to abandon their destructive and anti-Christian viewpoints. For these people, we can wish them well, but we must expel them so we can remain within Christ’s message and not be perverted by the Enemy’s lies and twists as provided by those who choose Hate over Love.
    Yeah, kicking them out seems extreme until we see what similar people have accomplished by bringing the Enemy’s words and ideas into the church and then we realise that our expulsion of them is no different from the body’s response to an infection or a puncture wound. If they will not abandon their Hate, they have already abandoned Christ. Maybe expulsion will bring them to their senses, maybe not – but it will keep Christ’s message from being perverted and twisted by the Enemy’s agents.

  • Oh! You’re talking about demonic oppression? Cool. That has nothing to do with legislating against human oppression though.

  • Nimblewill

    Are you sure it has nothing to do with political oppression? I disagree.Paul called it this present evil age. It sounds like many would love legislation that would oppress the oppressors. In every civilization where oppressors are overthrown, the over-throwers eventually become the oppressors.

  • Breannen Shim

    I have been taught that some people are inferior to me. We all have. I’ve even believed it before and I’m not proud of that. I’ve been trying to unlearn those things and recognize my unconscious biases so I can overcome them. As for discrimination, I don’t really have much power to discriminate against anyone, i.e. keep them from getting a job or denying someone’s rights. I grant you that I have engaged, and sometimes still do engage in prejudice, which anyone can do regardless of social status.

    When did I say I was at the bottom of the social barrel? I’m marginalized on many levels, race, sexuality, gender, ability. However, I’m cisgendered, light-skinned, Christian, educated, I live in a first-world country, and I’m privileged on plenty of other levels. I try to recognize the ways that society makes it easier for me and burdens others with things I don’t have to deal with and I try and take that into account. I’ve by no means been perfect at this; I used to be a lot more ignorant than I am now, and sometimes I don’t want to admit my privileges. I still think it’s the right thing to do. I was just just asking that we consider that others may come to the conversation with burdens we don’t have to deal with and are already expected to put others before themselves. And since, like I said, there are lots of ways in which I am not marginalized and other people are, I was talking about a lot of other people besides those who are just like me.

  • Shirley Blake

    I’ve read a number of comments that I agree with and maybe I’m the last person to comment as the political positions some in the church have taken really was the last straw. But I do think we have to maintain living relationships even with those who we do fundamentally disagree with. We simply cannot effect change without it. We all have those persons in our lives and it’s not the right answer to shut them out unless they are a threat to your personhood. I have been amazed by the the little hints that perhaps there is some reflective thought that isn’t simply the party line when I have engaged with my friends who disagree with me and while I will always fall on the side of human rights it gives me opportunities for understanding

  • David Henry

    Keith, .How can there be unity if there is no agreement on what it means to follow Jesus?

  • swbarnes2

    Again, tell me how you put away your right to go about your business and not be harassed by police? Be specific, if you are honest enough.

    Then, give up your right to post here, since you think that’s such a great thing to do.

  • Dhammarato

    There is the option to leave the good old USA. That’s not a “get out” that’s a “come on over” to Asia or Europe or Canada or one of many lovely places that will treat you far better than Christian America. There were bumper stickers that read “America, love it or leave it” I left. And I laugh.

  • That’s a rather privileged option though. It’s not like someone can just choose too leave, simple as that. Most of don’t have the financial means to do so.

  • Dhammarato

    The core of Christianity: 1) tell big lies. 2) Makes friends with power. 3) Grab that power. 4) appoint cronies to hold and keep that power. 5) fuck over all those with no power, take their money their pride and self worth. 6) make m sit in pews.

  • Dhammarato

    So now the excuse is to not fellowship with the oppressors not because they are un-oppressed oppressors, We refuse to fellowship with them because they are fools to be oppressed and evil fools to also oppress.

  • Dhammarato

    No one, those who are proud of their behavior or ashamed, no one inherits “Basilica Theos”. It is something that lies deep within and needs to be developed and manufactured within the mind. Joy is a skill to be developed. That list ” fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, abusers, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, extortioners ” are all looking for joy on the outside and fail. Those who Go to church and vote Trump look also in the world and they too will fail. Only those who purify the mind of greed, hate and beliefs will find that joy within. Christians are the only group who roast in Hell before they die.

  • Dhammarato

    The sheep were all eaten and the goats are in church. And trump this thy Shepard.

  • Dhammarato

    wake up to realize you have many skills, some need developing, You do not need faith, you need wisdom. Faith is a poor substitute for wisdom. You need Joy, faith is no substitute for Joy (happiness, contentment, safety, security, well being). If all you have is faith there is no hope for you. Faith with out works is dead, that’s why Christianity is at its death door, all its got left is faith. Shabby shabby faith with most of its fur rubber off.

  • Dhammarato

    There then can be unity only when JC is out of the picture, so long as fools drag in JC to stink up every agreement, there will be no unity.

  • Dhammarato

    Tribalism is both instinctual and habitual. Greed is both instinctual and habitual. Belief in magic (god) is both instinctual and habitual. Good advice can be found in many places including a few places in the bible and even from the pulpit sometimes. The problem is that folks fail to remember that good advice in the heat of greed, hate and faith. Under pressure it is normal for a fool to fall into thoughts and feelings that are both instinctual and habitual. So Christians and all good folks need to develop the skills of remembering (some call it mindfulness training), to do the right thing. As it is now, Christians have lost the higher moral ground, they act worse than the nones. They have forgotten to be good. They believe the lies told to keep them under the thumb of their betters. They are sick, they vote trump, they are fools: greedy, tribal (racist) ignorant (fools), finding all three ways to suffer hard. If Christians remove all the bad preachers, there will be none left to exploit the faithful fools, so have at it hause, kick out only bad preachers. If a preacher says the name trump even once, have the whole congregation attack him on mass, take him out side to the hanging tree that has not been use in recent years……

  • Dhammarato

    Anti abortion will destroy the church. While the ultra right wing ha-rang on and on about the righttolife of a fetus (not human), they force their newly minted laws down the pussies of poor girls they never met. How hypocritical these righttolifers are. what evil obnoxious religious freaks would take on a political position as this, showing Christianity to be down right barbaric. But many Christians are waking up to this barbarism. those that wake up will fight those hypocrites and the church will come tumbling down. (but not around my ears).

  • Dhammarato

    what right do you have to shove a dead brat back into the pussy of some poor child, you are a monster. Christians righttolifers are monsters. and they gloat when they feast on the stories of misery. This has nothing really to do with spirituality, its all politics and its about church power in politics, it is just a wedge issue and the foolish christians see this political wedge issue as if it was the sum total of Christianity and so now it is that’s all that’s left, just a bunch of pussy-grabbing hotheads loosing power. Racist bigots, maggots. May the church divide itself on this issue for it can not stand.

  • “pussies”
    Is this pejorative a commentary on your manhood or a slur on women in general?

  • ” pussy-grabbing”
    You seem fixated on a woman’s body part – possibly watching too much porn?

  • ashpenaz

    To me, a key sign of the Evil One is lies and slander. No one is “for” abortion–no one is “for” chemotherapy or heart surgery. No one wants someone to have cancer, congestive heart failure, or a pregnancy which threatens their health. However, in all those cases, I want to make sure that the person has access to the needed procedures. I’m sure that if you track down that Hilary quote, you will find that’s what she says as well.

  • I saw Hillary during an interview when ask about late term abortions. She said that was up to a woman and her doctors. Well it’s not. And it’s not ok. She answered that way because she does not have the moral strength to say it’s not ok. She just panders.

    Women do not want to make sure they have access to needed procedures because they do. They want to use abortion as birth control and defend their decisions based on the refrain, “it’s my body.”

  • carol hamm

    Jesus said my sheep recognize my voice and will come to none other.calling Trump a shepherd in the church is like calling a fox in the chicken house a protector of the chickens.Hillary,never lied and pretended to be running for God.God has no part in wars or politics, in my opinion..they will learn war no more.but you know Jesus did foretell false leaders would be coming pretending to be for him.he said believe them not.i dont.

  • R/R 2016

    To what extent would you maintain this position? If (heaven forbid) division takes the form of armed conflict, would you still then demand repentance from “them” before considering the possibility of restoration?

  • swbarnes2

    And our host will have absolutely nothing to say about this great Christian has divided the world into men like him who get to make the rules, and sluts.

    Because what’s really important is that Christian men who think that women are breeding appliances never ever be challenged about that belief; it would be a high Christian crime to make them feel bad about that. Women whose pregnancy is killing them should just shut up and die for the sake of unity.

  • R/R 2016

    “I love her, and I know she loves me, but should I subject myself to these hurts and indignities for her sake?”

    Christ did for yours, and we’re commanded to love as he loved us (John 13:34; 15:12). So why not?

  • There is no restoration with one who is actively engaging in oppression. Period. They must first cease causing harm. As for the hypothetical idea of armed conflict, I’m a pacifist and would oppose such. I don’t think oppressors should be killed. But they must not be allowed to continue their oppression.

  • Breannen Shim

    I already have suffered because of my love for her. I have already put up with a lot, and have not stopped loving her. And I’m not suggesting that I should, or will stop loving her. I’m talking about limiting how much she can hurt me. I avoid political topics with her, and I’m not coming out to her, unless something changes that convinces me I won’t be hurt if I do. To her credit, she knows I’ve been hurt by things she’s said, and she avoids political discussions herself, because she doesn’t actually want to hurt me. This has created distance between us, because we can’t talk candidly about many parts of our lives or beliefs. We’ve mutually agreed to distance ourselves a bit to avoid hurting one another. This distance saddens me, because we used to be really close. And I fear that this situation is untenable. What if I fall in love with and marry a woman, and I haven’t come out to her yet? Will she be hurt that I kept it a secret? Will she disapprove?

    I don’t think it’s wrong to limit how much she can hurt me. I’m not obligated to put up with someone inflicting pain on me, no matter how much I love them. And to allow a relationship to continue that way isn’t loving to either party. And while we are commanded to love others the way Jesus loved us, I don’t think that was intended to mean we should stay in an abusive situation. Expecting me to sacrifice my own well-being so someone I love can continue to hurt me is kind of a tall ask, don’t you think?

  • R/R 2016

    So, then, the stakes of opposing oppression, if raised, eventually will tread upon the boundaries of your own morality?

  • There are many non-violent ways to fight oppression. I will not cease those regardless of the stakes.

  • R/R 2016

    Yes, it’s a very tall task, and I can’t say what that looks like for you, but the example of “even death on a cross” (Phil 2:8) will always ask more than we want to give.

  • R/R 2016

    Yeah, I don’t know if I believe that. Because when the stakes require a call to arms, assuming you really are a pacifist, then it sounds like you would, in fact, cease.

    If you believe oppressors should not be killed, then you believe you have a moral commitment to even the worst humans beyond the terms of division, which is good. Because if division takes a strict form of armed conflict, then “non-violent” opposition to one belligerent is passive support of the other. This gets us to the common ground on which, I think, the discussion should rest: We don’t want the stakes of political alliance to compromise our moral commitment to fellow Christians and more broadly to fellow humans.

  • Breannen Shim

    Look, I’m a little confused here about what you want from me. What do you think I’m doing that’s not enough or isn’t fulfilling Jesus’ commands to love? It seems to me you’re assuming things about me and my aunt’s relationship and the amount of love I show her that you couldn’t possibly know, and I don’t know why you feel qualified to tell me I should be loving my aunt more or differently. There’s a lot going on in her relationship with me and the rest of the family that you don’t know about, and which I’m not going to explain because it’s not your business. I’m still affectionate towards her and I still speak with her (not all of my family does), and I’ve never flown off the handle and said something hurtful to her, even when she’s hurt me or another family member. What more would you have me do? Invite discussions I know will end with me feeling hurt, and her feeling guilty? What the hell for? I’m really confused as to why you seem so invested in making sure I’m suffering “enough” for this relationship and I’d appreciate it if you’d stop telling me what I should be doing in my own personal relationships. Honestly, it’s rude.

  • ashpenaz

    Who does make the difficult decisions about pregnancy if not the woman and her doctor? I don’t think the State is in a position to override the decision of the woman and her doctor. Would you trust the government of China to make a better decision than the woman and her doctor? It is akin to gun control–the government is not in a position to tell people whether to own guns, even if guns can be used to kill people. The government is not in a position to make decisions about a woman’s pregnancy. I believe that God gives women the vocation to be the sole stewards over their pregnancies, and a woman needs to be free to make decisions about her pregnancy unimpeded by the State.

  • Apparently anyone and everyone.
    “Between 1973-2014, 437 women died due to abortion complications (CDC).”
    ” According to WHO, every year in the world there are an estimated 40-50 million abortions. This corresponds to approximately 125,000 abortions per day.”

  • Chari McCauley

    The sixth trumpet.

  • Chari McCauley

    And churches that divide Father’s children were only one of the instruments Satan employs. The Father’s Son came to get those kids out of there, and back with the Father.

  • Chari McCauley

    I heard Hillary once say “It takes a village to raise a child.”; too often we’re competitive and out for ourselves.
    Too many kids get to raise themselves. Children become the adults all of society teaches them to be.
    An example is an old song, “Cat’s in the Cradle”…

  • Nanaverm

    I understand that you’ve been in a hurtful place with your family and former church. But by ghosting on your friends, you never allowed them the opportunity to possibly accept you as you are. You assumed they’d reject your queerness, but maybe some wouldn’t.

  • Nanaverm

    If God=love, and the attributes of love are described in 1st Cor., Chapt. 13, one must compare Trump to those qualities. NO, he is the opposite! Therefore, Trump is at least an Anti-Christ.

  • Dhammarato

    There is an old song from the 1970’s called “50 ways to leave your lover” And I can give you 50 ways to leave America most are on the cheap. like: Head North dork, take a flight Mike, set you self free. Climb under the fence, pence, take a new tunnel donald, set your self free. Low air fair, Bear, or walk on by.

  • Breannen Shim

    I know. I feel really guilty about ghosting on my friends. I think it was one of the worst things I’ve ever done. And I’ve learned since that some of them do show support for LGBTQ+ people and probably would have accepted me. Not only did I ghost them, I spent the preceding years lying my ass off to them, constantly. I’m not proud of what I did. I was really, genuinely afraid, and fear can make you do things you shouldn’t.

    At the same time, I still wonder if the choice I made was the choice I had to make, for my safety. I have abandonment issues and I had untreated depression at the time. I was having suicidal ideation because I felt like a failure at school and a bad, fake, perverted Christian. The pastor said that gays who wouldn’t “repent” had to be completely ostracized by the church. The church leadership would have been against me, and the whole church had it hammered into them to obey the leadership. If I’d been ostracized, I really don’t know what I would’ve done. I would have been absolutely devastated.

    I wanted to illustrate that the Church creates this environment of fear for LGBTQ+ people that causes division. It causes parents to kick their gay children out of the house, children to resent and abandon their families and friends, it drives gay people away from the Church, and convinces people that they must reject those they would otherwise love. It leads to high rates of suicide and violence towards the LGBTQ+ community. That’s why “agree to disagree” isn’t going to work here, it’ll only lead to more suffering for gay people and more division between them and the Church.

  • Nanaverm

    If you feel stronger now, maybe you could “come out” to those previous friends whom you think may accept you, and re-establish friendships. It’s OK to apologize for your former lies and evasion, that’s part of repentance and being true to yourself. Best wishes to you.

  • Breannen Shim

    Thanks for the well wishes. And I’ll consider your advice. It could be good for everyone to have some closure.

  • M. Tiro

    There is no command or even need for the church to be united politically. Jesus himself strenuously resisted every attempt by his followers to make him choose sides politically. Political division is not killing the church. It’s not even killing the country. The church was never intended to be politically united. The only people who believe such a nonsensical idea are people who know absolutely nothing about what the NT teaches. PS–in the sentence “people we would otherwise lay down and die for.,” it’s “lie down.”

  • M. Tiro

    Too bad you know nothing about what Revelation really teaches.

  • Excellent observation! Thank you! I don’t quite know how to bridge that gap either. What we are seeing with the conservative church today is eerily similar to what Jesus faced with Second Temple Judaism in the first century…an unrepentant church in collusion with the State. The lament over the loss of being the privileged religion in America, the loss of power, the desire to wield the State for their own means, yet deny others access or benefit (otherwise known as Libertarianism), the hypocrital whining and complaints about “Liberals forcing their views” while scrambling to enforce a narrow-minded view of a Christian State on everyone, …it is so overwhelmingly depressing.

  • Bob, check your church history. The church has always been divided. This is nothing new. It is because of tribalism, and it affects both those on the Left and those on the Right, and everyone in between. Even before the edict of Thessalonica in 380 threw a monkey wrench into it all by starting the collision of the church and Rome, there were hot debates and angry divisions. A lot of it surrounds the hopeless task of trying to define pure doctrine, which always divides rather than unites. Before faith was defined by “correct belief” (orthodoxy), Christians were simply known as “Followers of the Way,” by how they lived. They didn’t have elaborate theological frameworks to rely on. Maybe we as the church can learn something from that simplicity?

  • I agree that trying to define pure doctrine is quite a problem. It is my belief that the individual bears some responsibility here. My position is that if you cannot explain a biblical position in simple language on your own you really don’t know if your interpretation is correct. You are just repeating something you have heard.

  • Agreed, but tell that to Martin Luther, John Calvin, Thomas Aquinas, Augustine or Charles Hodge, lol. There are countless volumes of literature devoted to various, sometimes quite convoluted frameworks, where scripture is bent to the bidding of the author. And then there’s the problem that sometimes there isn’t a clear understanding of scripture, either it conflicts with another, is immoral or it just seems to contradict Christ’s teachings. Of course that’s why we have authors who try to systemize theology, to iron out those problems. But that involves a fair degree of cherry picking.
    Then there is the problem with fact that it is ancient literature. I am not sure the average Christian is very aware of the cultural settings, the mores of that time. It is easy just to assume “it’s Gods love letter to me, “ without going any deeper. The information Is out there, but few are willing to put in the time to research it. But most, as you’ve alluded to, are more inclined to just repeat something they’ve heard their pastor say or heard on Facebook.

  • Martin Luther challenged many things catholic including the authority of the Pope and so the Catholic Church put a bounty on his head.
    He knew that many things were wrong with his church and so he tried to change them. When that failed he took stronger action and as a result we have one billions Catholics and one billion protestants (under many names) instead of two billion Catholics. You would have to say he succeeded. Still that does not mean he understood the bible perfectly because he didn’t.
    As to whether any of the other referenced people understood the bible correctly I would argue they were closer to the knowledge than their contemporary “scholars” of today. But it takes many years to understand the bible and many helps along the way. But with persistence one can understand as well as or better than most even including those who call themselves experts. One proof of that is the attempted biblical comments on these Progressive blogs.

  • Bob, there is a common thread that runs throughout church history. There is a spiritual awakening and enthusiasm: the result of dissatisfaction with the status quo, a yearning for something deeper. That is followed by attempts to harness that spark of divine energy and systemize it, which invariably leads to rigidity, orthodoxy and eventual calcification. Then dissatisfaction sets in, there is a renewed yearning for something deeper, and the process repeats. These are called awakenings, and in Christianity there have been a number of them. They have arisen as the result of different societal tensions, new ways of looking at scripture and because the Kingdom of God doesn’t arrive as a result of us standing still.

    One thing that is a constant in this ebb and flow of spiritual yearnings is the tension between the “Old Lights” and the “New Lights,” as Diana Butler Bass calls them. To put it simply, change creates anxiety and resistance. When a spiritual awakening begins to stir there is an automatic resistance that goes up to counter the coming change. The Old Lights will marshal all the appeals to past history and orthodoxy to thwart the New Lights. Luther faced it with the Catholic Church. Then, as his views calcified and became the new “Orthodoxy,” he in turn, resisted the “New Lights,” the Anabaptists, and persecuted them.

    Spiritual renewal and awakenings don’t happen by appealing to the past or yearning for the old status quo. They require a willingness to take risks, look at things differently and be willing to make mistakes. My own spiritual journey has taught me to know that head knowledge of the Bible does not of necessity lead to a deeper spiritual walk. There is something missing in much of the Bible quoting I hear coming from the Religious Right, and that is what has sparked my current openness and search for something deeper. I owe a debt of gratitude to those who have forged past understandings of what it means to be a follower of Christ, but I am not “saved” based on their spiritual experiences, but on my own. Ultimately, we all have our own journeys.

  • Not sure I can agree with the first paragraph.
    I have heard the term “head knowledge” before. It may be a mistake to conflate it with closeness to God.
    In the end knowledge brings awareness that helps one understand the Plan of God for man.