One of the key components of successful ministry of any type boils down to a basic understanding. It’s one that we sometimes forget: Humans can be educated and encouraged to accept Christ, but we cannot be forced into that decision.
It’s the same with taking care of our health, saving for retirement, or most anything else that is good for us but may require some critical thinking and discipline. In other words, what is best for us typically isn’t what is easiest.
The same can be said about politics. In part because trite answers involve much less careful consideration and thought (i.e., mental hard work), we see evidence of our society becoming much more polarized and many Americans only identifying with one political party or the other, regardless of absurdity or values.
Of course there are problems with simply adhering to one political party — multiple problems. It’s perhaps similar to that of simply accepting the word of a religious leader; following without careful thought has the potential for all kinds of disaster.
But in Kingdom work, it isn’t supposed to be about politics. In fact, I would suggest that most churches need to do what is right in the eyes of Christ and do everything they can to ignore political affiliations altogether — at least as best they can.
As we head into fall and even more political campaigning, it’s more important than ever that churches be a safe and politics-free zone. We are a society where we have freedom of religion and freedom from religion, as well we should. The church should be a place of worship, with a focus on Christ and the least of these — nothing more and nothing less.
Thankfully, we have the freedom to believe what we want politically — armed or unarmed, reparations or no, how we’ll fix healthcare, find an end to gun/mass violence, and on and on. After all, intelligent and engaging civil discourse is what makes the world go round.
Just as we realize the Body of Christ is ecumenical, may we also realize that Jesus himself has no preferred 21st century political party — he simply loves us and our neighbors, right where we are.