Blue Like Jazz Series · Politics

Blue Like Jazz. Two.

“The truth is we are supposed to love the hippies, the liberals, and even the Democrats, and that God wants us to think of them as more important than ourselves. Anything short of this is not true to the teachings of Jesus.” – Donald Miller

It’s been a few weeks since post one about this great book I’ve been reading. Sorry for the delay. I just can’t put it down. And I’ve been writing a lot for school so I guess that’s a bummer.

So anyway, there are a lot of great things in this book, but the most relevant to my Facebook newsfeed right now would be Donald Miller’s thoughts about politics. Hillary Clinton just announced she will be running for President of the United States. Lots of people are mad. Can you imagine? People getting mad about politics?

Reading this book, I get the feel that the author is a bit put off by some Republican policies, but don’t let that keep you from reading. I’d say 0.001%* of the book is politically biased. But maybe I’m even wrong about that.

*Not a real number.*

I had planned to write a post about my frustration with people using Jesus as an excuse to identify with certain political parties, but Donald Miller took the words right out of my mouth; therefore, I’m going to combine his thoughts with my own. So…exactly what I usually do. Should be fun.

I don’t think Jesus would be a Republican. Nor do I think Jesus is a Democrat. I think Jesus is God.

That is why I make this request of you: Stop using Jesus to back up your political party. I’m not saying that your faith and your vote should be separate. Of course I believe that political views are shaped by your understanding of Scripture and your understanding of the teachings of Christ. But you really can’t accurately claim that Jesus agrees with your party on every single issue. That would be a lie.

Donald Miller puts it this way:

Both Clinton and Bush claim to be followers of Jesus. Anybody who wants to get their way says that Jesus supports their view. But that isn’t Jesus’ fault.

You’re a flawed human. I’m a flawed human. Everyone in politics is a flawed human. We all stumble in many ways (James 3:2). Jesus is perfect, and Jesus is Lord. Can we agree on that?

The problem with using Jesus as the face of your political party is that it really impacts how non-believers see him and see the gospel. Let’s be honest. When political parties are involved, there isn’t a lot of healthy dialogue; it’s usually just a lot of insults.

Again, I don’t want to lead you astray, so I’m going to explain exactly what I mean. I base all of my political views on Scripture. Why do I want to feed the poor? Because Jesus would want me to do that. Why do I want to vote against a law that might hinder the rights of a certain group? Because I think Jesus would want me to show love by treating people like my equal- or better. What I don’t do (or at least attempt) is tell everyone that my views are the exact right way to do things because Jesus said so. I’m capable of mistakes and I would not want to lead someone away from Jesus because we disagree about politics.

Another quote from the book to hopefully say this a little better than I can:

I know that a lot of people will not listen to the words of Christ because people like me, who know Him, carry our own agendas into the conversation rather than just relaying the message Christ wanted to get across.

Maybe that makes more sense: There is a difference in supporting your personal political agenda with Jesus vs. supporting the actual teachings of Jesus with Jesus.

Do we really care so much about getting our opinions across that we are willing to turn people away from the church and away from God? Donald Miller writes about this too and speaks from personal experience.

Another thing about the churches I went to: They seemed to be parrots for the Republican Party. Do we have to tow the party line on every single issue? Are the Republicans that perfect? I just felt like, in order to be a part of the family, I had to think George W. Bush was Jesus. And I didn’t. I didn’t think that Jesus really agreed with a lot of the policies of the Republican Party or for that matter the Democratic Party. I felt like Jesus was a religious figure, not a political figure. I heard my pastor say once, when there were only a few of us standing around, that he hated Bill Clinton. I can understand not liking Clinton’s policies, but I want my spirituality to rid me of hate, not give me reason for it.

Don’t take that quote as an insult to Republicans. Take it as an insult to all politics, really. Okay, that is my personal bias, but still. He’s right. Can we just talk about issues by looking at the teachings of Jesus rather than specific party platforms? Can we talk about love? Can we use our words to lovingly guide to the truth rather than spewing hatred at people we disagree with?

The tongue has the power of life and death (Proverbs 18:21). I would personally rather give life.

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