For those of you who read my columns, the left-leaning political musings of a college student, I’ll have to ask you to skip this week’s column. Because this week, I want to write on a topic that is often on my mind; political evangelism. And I’m specifically writing this for American Christians.
This might come as a surprise to some, but I am an American Christian. In fact, some people would be so surprised to hear this, that if they saw me waiting my turn at the Pearly Gates, they would flag down an angel to ask if they’re in the right line.
But it’s true. The family of Christ is a big tent, full of people of all stripes and leanings. We have many values, but there are two big ones that unite us all: Love the God you serve, and translate those labors of love to your neighbor.
Trust me, there’s a whole bunch more, but those two big ones cover most of them. These commandments haven’t always been followed. The body of Christ, also known as the church, has grown from small communities of believers in ancient Rome, to networks of massive organizations throughout the world.
It is this massive organization, this truly impressive network of Christians, that I want to address. My fellow believers in Jesus, we have a problem. And that problem is that the Body of Christ has gone political.
Let’s break it down. According to Christians, there is something fundamentally wrong with the world. It is broken. The reason for your heartbreak, your pain and your suffering, is because we are struggling to choose between our way and God’s way. And you do the latter by swearing your allegiance to Christ.
Once you do that, you have accepted a very difficult mission. You are born of this world, and certainly live in it, but it’s not your home.
While you’re here, you have to be the physical embodiment of Christ’s love. You have to love those who are hard to love and help those who have no one. You are the Body of Christ. You are the hands that comfort and help.
You’re not alone though. Lord knows no one can do this alone. You have Christ, but you also have the thousands of fellow believers who are going through the same temptations and repeated failures that you are. By uniting together you become the Church, and it is this group that can truly embody Christ’s love.
So where in the Bible did it say that the Church should take political stances? Where does it say we should spend millions of dollars to dictate policy? That the American church must champion certain government factions?
Whose God commanded us to wage a culture war?
We have lost our way. Far be it from me to stop any Christian from being politically active. I myself am. But the American Church should not be a powerful political force. It should not employ lobbyist. The Body of Christ should share in the same dealings as Silicon Valley, the NRA, Hollywood and Wall Street.
When we fought to codify marriage laws, we were in the wrong. That was never a battle we needed to fight. The money wasted in that mud-slinging contest could have helped millions. Instead we sank countless resources into the Church’s Vietnam and turned half the country against us.
We are in this world, but this is not our home. We are not trying to impose a political order. Christ did not come to overthrow Rome, at least not the first time.
We are here for a much higher purpose. Marriage was the easy one to list, but how about the more shameful ones? The churches who have spent millions to influence law, politics and mass media? The churches who have financially supported various stances on gun ownership and immigration?
“Why is this bad?” Some of you are saying. And to those people I say, you haven’t been listening.
We will all have to give an account of our lives before God one day. Remember the parable about the King who goes away and gives coins to his servants to invest? My coin is writing.
It’s all I have, and it’s how I’ve chosen to serve. But I know for a fact I won’t get to heaven and hear God say, “Well done my good and faithful servant, your writings against Trump helped the needy!”
No, beyond political writings, I have to serve in other ways. We all do. Develop your personal relationship with God. Translate that relationship to your neighbors, especially if they’re hard to love. And don’t ask your church to wage a culture war.
Colin Roberts is a senior English major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]