Kevin’s Conversations: Both Sides Now…

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38 Responses

  1. Michael says:

    We have back to back articles that I think are very helpful.
    Kevin lays out the problem and then Duane gives us the solution.
    Thank you both…

  2. Anon says:

    One adage I’ve found helpful in the civil/political realm:

    Patriotism yes.

    Nationalism no.

  3. Dallas says:

    I’m having a hard time not being snarky here. How can we hope to build bridges when the “peacemakers” supposedly sided with the wall builder? I don’t know about anyone else but most of the calls (at least from that side) for unity after this election have rung pretty hollow considering the blunt instrument that they lowered themselves to using to hopefully get their way.

  4. Paige says:

    Thank you Kevin. A balanced view, IMO….

  5. Tracey says:

    Something I have been noticing this past week is that Progressives and Linerals are really trying to figure out what happened, so they are actually listening to people they’ve ignored. I’ve heard people like Michael Moore and Bill Maher (two men whom I disagree with on many issues) talk about the misuse of words like racist and homophobe (Bill Maher) and how that so emptied those words of power and of credibility that when they were confronted with true examples during this campaign no one listened and that was their fault. Michael Moore has been predicting a Trump win for months because the Democratic Party had become elitist and was not listening to people in “fly over country” and branding those people as backward, racist, etc. I have appreciated much of the self examination I’ve heard this past week from the Left.

    However, I am watching people on the Right make exactly the same mistake as the Left. They are not listening to the protesters, most of whom are acting peacefully, and hearing their deep concerns. They are dismissing them as professional agitators, cry babies, sore losers and completely minimizing the atrocious behavior of Trump throughout the campaign and the present consequences. Personally, I’ve considered joining in some of the marches. Civil disobedience was a valuable protest back when I and many of my friends participated in Operation Rescue rallies back in the 1980s-90s. I see these protests, as long as they remain peaceful, as a legal and healthy way to express frustration.

    I am most disturbed that my evangelical friends are so completely on board with Trump and his evangelical advisors that they are missing an incredible opportunity to be salt & light. Years ago I preached a sermon on the cultural context of salt in the Ancient Middle East. That salt was so precious and valuable that often only kings controlled its distribution. To share salt with someone meant that there would always be peace between the two parties, even to the extent that an enemy would spare the life of his adversary if they accidentally shared salt together. Salt is so powerful that it melts ice just by its presence and in this spiritually frozen world in which we find ourselves, our fulfilling Jesus’ call to be the Salt of the Earth can impact the spiritual condition of our world for eternity. He has called us to be His sacrifice of salt, that He pours out and offers shalom to a world in terrible fear and turmoil. If we lose our saltiness, we will be useless.

    I cannot speak very much to liberals and progressives, but I can listen to them and believe that most of them come to their positions from a desire to “make America great”. I can speak to my own folks and ask that they please remember their highest calling is not to be conservative or American, but to represent the Prince of Peace well as he invites his enemies to sit at His table and receive His offer of shalom.

  6. John 20:29 says:

    one thing that folks all over the spectrum of political preferences can’t seem to wrap their minds around (IMNSHO) is the fact that we have bad actors in every strata of society, every nationality and every racial identity… always have had – all over the world

    we talk about being Americans as if that makes us special (or any other label of choice)… what has made this nation special is our Constitution, our Bill of Rights and our sense of their sanctity as the overriding rule of law… we can’t let the self righteous and the self interests whittle away at those fundamentals upon which this nation has functioned for a couple centuries… let the wheel move slowly, but in a straight path… government of, by and for the people? maybe better stated would be government by law, fair but dispassionate and blind to ALL special interests?

    dunno

  7. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael

    I wish that my article did offer a “solution”, but to be honest I would say that I wanted to offer an “approach” – one wholly in line with the values of the Gospel.

    The idea of American exceptionalism is moving toward its natural historical demise. If we were/are so exceptional, we would not be in the situation that Kevin has stated so well. Along with this, we are also having to revisit what it means to be “evangelical”. It may be aa appellation that is now so bound up with politics and ideology as to be “past its sell by date” as a descriptive label.

    Yes, were desire good government and, rightly, we pray to that end. What has taken place, however, in my opinion, is just how we as Christians should properly engage our culture and society. Rome fell – Augustine wrote the City of God. The Dark Ages came – monastic communities preserved knowledge. The Church reigned in the political world – An Augustinian Friar nailed theses to a door… and on it goes

    In each case the questions were fundamental – Who are we as the Church? What is our mission in our own time? How do we preserve and proclaim the Faith?

    I believe we have arrived at another turning point. I hope that God will give us the courage to ask the questions and the wisdom to find the answers…

  8. Duane Arnold says:

    #7 Apologies for all the “auto-spell” errors!

  9. Kevin H says:

    Dallas,

    At your question in #3 – “How can we hope to build bridges when the “peacemakers” supposedly sided with the wall builder?”

    Ideally, we should be getting peacemakers from both sides. But yes, if the focus is on Evangelicals, most of them were on the side of Trump.

    But being a peacemaker, especially for those on the winning side, should not be a call to unity in the respects of, “You losers, come now and unite with us the winners.” Being a peacemaker would include trying to listen and understand the concerns of others for real. Not necessarily agreeing with them on everything, but at least showing that you care. Trying to find some commonalities around which you can unite. And also working with some on your own side to knock off the divisive and wrongful shenanigans that they are committing.

  10. Kevin H says:

    Tracey,

    I agree with you that there seem to be more on the Left right now who are seeking understanding. They lost to a man as ridiculous as Trump and they’re trying to figure out how that possibly could have happened. But on the whole, we still need more of it from both sides.

    The gloating and rubbing it in and the mocking of those who are upset by some on the Right sure isn’t helping matters either.

  11. Michael says:

    Duane,

    I really believe what you have presented is the only way forward.
    On the other hand, we are now also divided on what constitutes Christian behavior and attitudes, so hoping for a plurality of us to do the same things with the same heart is probably irrational.
    Thus, I can only say with certainty that it’s the only way forward for me.

  12. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael

    In the light of a largely “politicized” Church (Pence, by the way, attends a mega church two miles from where I am seated) I think it is back to the fundamentals…
    Love God
    Love our neighbor as ourselves
    Proclaim the Good News of Christ’s life, death and resurrection

    Back in the day, we didn’t have much more than that… and we did pretty well, at least for a time…

  13. filbertz says:

    part of the issue with ‘talking with each other’ is that many don’t know another person from ‘the other side.’ folks are too entrenched (in the WW1 manner) in their mindset/tribe/huddle that ‘the other side’ is merely a cardboard cutout, a straw man, who isn’t embodied in flesh and blood. Far too many ‘evangelicals’ don’t have any non-christian friends & don’t know how or where to begin. Far too many ______________ don’t know any ________________. It is going to take courageous, purposeful, designed efforts to walk toward the center and engage with others. It is far safer (for now) to stay where one is.

  14. filbertz says:

    one of Steven Covey’s best ‘habits’ for success fits well here: Seek first to understand; then to be understood. Many Christians want to dominate the conversation, control the flow (that is honoring to Christ, I hear) and only fake-listen. After all, we already know what ‘they’ think.

  15. Anon says:

    Balance. Kevin mentioned it 2x.

    I was reminded of that when listening to a Detroit radio station over the weekend. They were interviewing 2 agribusiness experts.

    Both of them expressed dismay at the recent election WRT trade policies and agreements. They made the point that a large majority of ag products created in the US are exported overseas, at least in Michigan, I guess. They seemed really fearful of what might happen if the Trumpsters decide to become more isolationist WRT trade. One of the guys made the point that “we live in a global economy” — they said you can’t deny it.

    Funny, these folks in the past would have been probably have felt themselves represented by “middle of the road” Repubs. But our discourse is so extreme that there aren’t many left, I guess.

  16. Erunner says:

    I’m one who did not vote for either candidate. My world is populated with friends and family that pretty much believe God answered their prayers and gave us Donald Trump.

    I have other family members who are seething that Trump won the election.

    Many people are too busy with the challenges in their lives to really care too much. They are busy with taking care of loved ones who are quite sick and trying to stay above water with their personal finances. They think Washington will really never have their interests in mind so they do what they must to get by.

    I’ve expressed myself in three long FB posts where I’m trying to understand everyone and see their points of view. I’m of the mind that Christians should be able to disagree while being civil about it. That boat sailed some time ago.

    Racism isn’t going away and it’s an illusion to think Republicans and whites have the market cornered on it.

    I hope Trump can do well. I hoped the same for Obama when he was first elected.

    The reality seems to be the polarization will continue. Heels will be dug in. I fear what that could lead to.

    As Christians I hope we can be light. If we can’t treat each other well then maybe God needs to take us out to the wood shed.

  17. Duane Arnold says:

    Erunner…. I think the wood shed is already here…

  18. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    A Christian cannot be anything but light. Somewhere Jesus said “you are the light of the world.” Jesus did not say, now that you are a Christian start working on becoming light.

    There is just too much judging of other Christians going on.- Someone says they think Trump is a good idea and automatically become a 2nd class Christian.

    There are some issues that “the other side” would not give an inch on for the past 40 yrs – the fact that some in the church, with their support and with their vote decided to take legitimate action is fully available to Christians in their vocation as citizens.

  19. Erunner says:

    Duane, I remember the saying that if God didn’t judge the United States soon then He owes Sodom and Gomorrah an apology. I stated to the Trump folks that what we are seeing could be that very judgment. If the wood shed is here I hope we would respond as God would have us to.

    MLD, if Christians are out there saying and doing horrible things or a Christian leader is exposed for some sort of sin how do you see that light? If they can be nothing but light then I’m failing to see how their light is in any way good.

  20. E, if you see someone doing bad, who has no light and has no fruit – what assumption would you make? Bad Christian or not a christian?

  21. Erunner says:

    MLD, I wouldn’t make an assumption as it relates to this election.

    David went a full year before Nathan was sent by God to confront him. He lived for 16 months in Gath hiding from Saul. Yet he was a man after God’s heart.

    The man in 1 Corinthians was put out of the church for gross sexual sin yet we read he was later restored.

    I know those who claim Christ yet don’t fellowship, are open to false ideas, and don’t read their Bible.

    I am never comfortable stating their position before God.

  22. E, you said above you hoped the church could be light – which I assume you meant that it is not. I am here to tell you that you cannot have a church that is not light to the world.
    We are people who differ – it does not make a Trump Christian any less than a non Trump Christian.

  23. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    One last point and I will go (this isn’t to you E) I must run in different circles than most of you. I have not once had a single person I know who is a Christian and a Trump supporter (1) allow their politics to supercede their Christian faith and (2) I have not had a single person I know (I am talking to face to face people) say that they support Trump without a qualifier.

    I know I get in trouble for this but American evangelicalism as represented by some ‘church’ leaders may not be christian at all. Some of these Texas mega pastors I see – I see nothing Christian about them other than they have co opted the label – they wouldn’t know how to preach the cross or justification to the believer if you held a gun to their head.

  24. Kevin H says:

    MLD,

    When a Christian sins, especially when they do it publicly, is that being light to the world?

    No one has said here that voting for Trump or Hillary was a sin. However, many of us believe that some of the actions taken in support of the candidates (or in attacking them) were sinful. When a Christian is participating in these sinful actions, how can that possibly be light? Or are we to assume that everytime we see someone sinning, that they are not a Christian?

  25. Duane Arnold says:

    MLD

    “co opted the label”… Good call…

  26. Erunner says:

    MLD, Scripture states that Jesus is the light of the world. We are witnesses to that light as John the Baptist was.

    I hope we can be light to the world but that only happens as we walk in a manner pleasing to God. How am I light if I’m out there sinning like crazy? That doesn’t mean there still isn’t light.

    We are people who differ. That’s always been true. I would never categorize Christians as one being less than the other. I may disagree with them or they with me but we are believers.

    In this political season some are questioning the faith of others based on the vote. That is not light. It doesn’t mean there is no light. But it’s in no way light that can glorify God and draw people to them.

  27. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Kevin – then by what I see you describing, I would be a strobe light Christian.

    Again, what did Jesus mean when he said we were the light of the world? We may do bad things but we are still light – his admonition was for us not to cover our light, but never did he say we were lightless.

    I don’t think some of you as seeing Jesus in the church – has you church been shouting down Mexicans since the election? Proudly I can say mine has not.

    Look, I don’t want to say who is running this political evangelical juggernaut – but I don’t think it is Christians.

  28. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Matthew 5
    14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[a] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

  29. Erunner says:

    #26 should end by saying draw people to Him.

  30. Erunner says:

    #28 MLD, and when the world sees sin from me how can they see my good works and glorify the Father? They can’t.

  31. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    E – so the requirement is to be sinless or is the requirement to hide it better from the world?

    I know in my faith, no one goes to heaven because of me and no one goes to hell because of me.No one will say, I couldn’t come to Jesus because MLD was a jerk.

    If we were out there doing it all the right way and being all pious, those same people still wouldn’t come to Christ – they would say “well, if I have to be one of those goody two shoes, I am not doing it.”

    If Franklin Graham is the enemy, then let’s call him the enemy – that he is chasing people away from Christ at a quicker pace than satan ever could.

  32. Erunner says:

    MLD, I pretty much stated what your third paragraph states. You and I see things differently it seems.

  33. Erunner says:

    I spoke incorrectly in #32. I thought I had posted it here but posted it on FB.

  34. Em ... again says:

    Anon @ 15 – Washington State is also very worried as we export a surprising amount of agricultural products, land-wise most of this state is agricultural (in addition to gasoline – can’t export raw oil as i understand – and coal from neighboring states)… even the majority of our hay ships abroad now and i’m not sure who benefits from this…
    do we talk past each other or do we not have a clear picture of what’s goin on? i’m not sure we, the common folk, really know what is driving or who is in charge of the economy…

    maybe, as has been expressed, we Christians should tend to the business of the Kingdom and just function as praying spectators of the daily show? dunno

  35. E, I will leave you with 2 good words
    Corey Seager & Dave Roberts 🙂 🙂

  36. Surfer51 says:

    (Off thread.)

    Skateboarding just got insanely fun!!!

    http://freebord.com/videos/

  37. Josh the Baptist says:

    Anybody else see a broken swastika every time you scroll across that graphic?

  38. Erunner says:

    MLD, those are great words!!

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