To those that consider themselves a part of the Christian tradition in the west, I write to you, but I welcome all to read and join the discussion.
I write heavy-hearted, weighed down by the seemingly still increasing polarization of Christians on the right and left of the political spectrum. I’ve seen hate on both sides. I’ve seen hurt on both sides too.
While I have an impulse to let both sides have it and offer harsh critiques, calling out the flaw-ridden anti-Christian ideologies and rhetoric enforced by conservative and liberal Christians, and feel that I would probably be just in doing so, I have this hope that it be more profitable to call us all to love more and to hate less.
And to place our trust in our only political savior.
Donald Trump is not that savior, and neither is Joe Biden.
It’s a shame that the political implications of the title “Christ” are lost to many of us in western Christianity but in Jesus’ day, theology and politics went hand in hand. Note that in Acts 17, the believers being accused of “Defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus,” it isn’t recorded of any of them defending their case by saying “Hey, don’t worry about that, Caesar is still our political King! Jesus is just my king in like a uh spiritual sense, you know like religion and stuff.”
Somewhere along the way, we’ve rationed that it is only important that Jesus be a spiritual savior but Jesus was understood to be a political savior as well as a spiritual savior to New Testament writers and early Christians alike and Christians need to regain that mentality and stop looking for earthly politicians to fit a position only Jesus can fill.
Even still, Jesus is not an escape from American politics, Jesus is the way through.
Consider that the U.S. is a Christian-inspired nation (I purposefully avoid saying Christian nation because it is not, never has been, and should not be. Christian nationalism is not compatible with the God-person called Jesus,) that is fat with comfort and prosperity (Many churches are vehemently against teaching a prosperity gospel, but their politics say otherwise,) and this comfort and prosperity that we have never been entitled to has made us blind to our neighbors’ needs. I will not go as far as to write that addressing our neighbors’ needs means a change of tendency towards one party to another, however, it does mean loving our neighbor in how we vote and the policies we support.
Our neighbor is affected by our politics and to love our neighbor is to show them mercy (as the good Samaritan did) even in our votes.
As we go into this last leg of this political season, would we put on the mind of Christ by considering:
How have we been selfish in our political approach by not considering our neighbor and only considering ourselves?
How can we vote to show love and mercy to our black, Latina/o, Asian, etc. neighbor, our female neighbor, our LGBTQ+ neighbor, our oppressed neighbor, our marginalized neighbor, our farmer neighbor, our unborn neighbor, our foreign neighbor, our entrepreneur neighbor, our 65+ neighbor, and our neighbor who has messed up before and will mess up again (That’s all of us)?
Christians are called to respect the image of God in humanity and not assume the other is evil because they lean red or blue or that we are superior because of our preference for a donkey or an elephant.
At the end of the day, we need each other, and we need each other’s perspective.
A closing thought:
When Jesus was crowned King, the Roman government thought they were performing a mockery, so before Jesus was crucified, they wrapped Jesus in purple to represent the royalty that they did not accept.
Maybe to live with Jesus the Christ’s kingdom coming to earth as a present and coming reality means to live in the purple.
This is where red and blue come together in an act of humility and service to the image of God in their counterpart, where purple is primary and takes priority over partisanship and where Christ is the savior of our politics. Amen.