As a preacher’s kid, I have heard my fair share of spiritual phrases. I call it spiritual jargon. You know a sentence perhaps paraphrased from the Bible to add a spiritual perspective or more so than not to stop a conversation in its tracks. I think if I thought hard enough I could probably think of twenty of them on the spot.
“As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”
“But as for me, I must be about my Father’s business.”
“It’s all about love and sharing the good news of Christ.”
In certain contexts I agree with these phrases but I recently read these in responses to some recent political decisions, including the healthcare ruling. I started to think of what is our response (as Christians) to political rulings and legislation that go against our faith. The easiest thing to do is give a flippant spiritual remark. I think it is a knee jerk way of responding to things we seem to have no control over. Ultimately, God is in control so throw the phrase out there and blow it into the wind…gone! However, I started to think of certain Christians in history who realized spiritual jargon wouldn’t change the outcome.
What would have happened if William Wilberforce wouldn’t have gotten involved in politics and fought British Parliament to end the slave trade?
Would Germany’s tyrant Adolf Hitler destroy more lives if Dietrich Bonhoeffer hadn’t decided to step out beyond his church credentials to fight Hitler’s reign of terror?
What if Martin Luther King Jr. decided his place was only behind the pulpit and God would take care of ending segregation?
I am also glad the Pilgrims realized freedom to worship God would take an act of boldness beyond their quiet way of life.
Now, I am not saying we are all called to acts of bravery and as Christians we are all to stand and fight in the political arena. I believe God calls some to quietly love and serve others in simply and only sharing the Good News (no politics involved). However, I think we need to be less flippant in our responses when it comes to the truth of Christ in our political world. We need to be united in supporting our brothers and sisters who fight in the front lines of politics standing on the Truth. We need to support these people in prayer, finances and in supporting their political efforts. We can’t stand behind our religion, our faith or even our spiritual phrases and expect that God will suddenly turn things around. We also can’t hide behind political correctness when our faith is being attacked in our government and courts.
At one time in this country, perhaps, there was no need for religion and politics to mix. However, throughout history we see that certain Christian men and women have stepped out into politics and changed society that was dominated by over-reaching government power. As a Christian, I don’t want to use my knowledge of scriptures and my own spiritual jargon to somehow set up an imaginary wall that I think will protect me from government policies. I want to speak the truth in love. I want to support my fellow Christians who stand on the front lines in defending the unborn, who uphold the sanctity marriage and who realize that freedom of speech is a protection of our freedom in Christ as well. I refuse to stand behind my faith from the political world. My faith in Jesus Christ is a banner that I hold high in standing for liberty and the truth of Christ in a political world that wants to diminish this freedom.
“It is high time we broke with our theologically based restraint towards the state’s actions–which, after all, is only fear. Speak out for those who cannot speak. Who in the church today realizes that this is the very least the Bible requires of us?”
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer