Who Is Jesus in Today’s Fractured Political Climate: Politician or Savior?

When politics and religion are intermingled, a people is suffused with a sense of invulnerability, and gathering speed in their forward charge, they fail to see the cliff ahead of them. –Frank Herbert

https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/en/view-image.php?image=12309&picture=simple-golden-cross
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On Wednesday, Lord willing and no further encounters with out of control motorized grocery carts, I plan to post a story about a pastor who groomed and molested a student and went to prison. He is once again serving as a pastor and I had a chance to speak with him. As you know, I am opposed to pastors who have affairs or molest others returning to the pastorate. I am telling this story because an incredibly brave woman who has experienced much pain through the years. I am also going to be pointing out two pastors who have been this woman’s greatest advocates!

My tweet

I had a disturbing weekend on Twitter and I want to speak to a few issues. It all started with this tweet.  However, the timing of this message was the day before Justice Kavanaugh was confirmed.

When I wrote this tweet, I was thinking about the last two years and how friends and families have been torn apart. It has happened with the Deebs as well as friends of ours.

Why we won’t discuss politics on this blog.

The tweet was then interpreted by some as a political expression of support for the White House and for Judge Kavanaugh. It wasn’t. I have my opinions on those subjects but I am not going to discuss them on the blog. Most of my critics had Twitter accounts that I had never seen on my Twitter timeline before.

I was called a hypocrite by one person because I won’t discuss Kavanaugh’s rape history. (Their terminology, not mine.) Others claimed that I must make a stand against Donald Trump and his sexual abuse. If I don’t do this, my entire 9 1/2 years work on the church and abuse is illegitimate.

Years ago, I attended a political meeting which was called to support candidates from a political party. I have been both a Democrat and a Republican so don’t assume on this one. At this meeting, some Christians were bad mouthing the non-Christians at the meeting because *those people* didn’t see things the way that Christians did. I announced that “this was not another Bible study and this gathering involves people from a broad spectrum of beliefs and practices who want to help.”

In the moment, I resolved to make my life about caring for the lost and let down and to step away from politics. I still care about the issues and I do vote my conscience. But one thing was for sure. I was not going to allow politics to come between others and me.

Politics has been a place of acrimony and ugliness in the last 2 years. I wish, really, really wish, that I could speak to issues in the political world that involve abuse. I can’t. Everything one says is judged by the political plumb line. If I say something that involves someone from one side, I become the punching bag by those on the other side. If the sexual abuse involves a politicized candidate, it has become near impossible to have a thoughtful discussion. Here is one tweet I received. I have removed her name because, at one time, I thought we were friendly. However, friendliness today is contingent on me taking a side.


Do we post every abuse story that we receive and are all sex abuse claims true?

Quite simply, no. This answer is not pointing to anything political. We have been doing this blog for 9 1/2 years and learning as we go. We evaluate the stories that we receive based on our experience. If we decide not to go with a story, we are not making a judgement on whether or not the story is true. We simply do not feel comfortable. We know that only 4-7% (more or less) of sex abuse claims are not true and that is why we believe most stories.

For example, in 2010, we received an email claiming that Paul Pressler had a history of abuse. The email was from anonymous sources who wanted us to write about it. They refused to come forward with their names or provide any documentation. I was unable to find any information online at that time so we didn’t write the story. That situation changed this year with the filing of lawsuits against Pressler.

In another situation, there seemed to be quite a bit of information but there was a problem with the individual who told us the story. We felt distinctly uncomfortable but we couldn’t put our finger on it. We decided not post and within 2 months, we received information that strongly indicated that the charges we’re fictitious.

The mixed motives in politics

In those 4-7% of sex abuse claims that are proven not to be true, there are usually hidden motives involved. That motive can be a mother wanting custody of her children at all costs. The reason can be for someone who wishes to harm a boss who fired them.

Sadly, politics also provide the forum for mixed motives. (If people claim that I am making a statement here about the Kavanaugh situation, they are wrong.)  I grew up in a home which revered the Kennedys. My father had a small shrine to Jack and Bobby Kennedy in his office. Yet, when Teddy drove Mary Jo Kopechne off a bridge in Chappaquiddick, no one blinked an eye in the political circles in Massachusetts. Seriously?

Politics provides an avenue for mixed motives and that has concerned me for decades. That is the reason why we decided not to discuss situations related to politics on this blog. If someone feels like it should be the focus of a blog, she should start her own.

Therefore, we will delete any comments that attempt to prove, one way or another, why so and so should be believed.

Jesus was not a politician.

I was stunned that this was such a controversial statement. One person tweeted:

Jesus is my f****** political role model

Other comments said I hadn’t read my Bible and that the life of Jesus involved specific political activity.

Here’s the problem. Jesus does care about the lost, poor, and broken. However, He disappointed his disciples because they would soon discover that He did not come to give the Jews political victory over the oppressive Romans. Let’s consider some verses and thoughts.

  1. What was the main reason for His coming? John 3:16 tells us  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” It does not say “For God so loved the world that He came to overthrow the despicable Roman government.” Why didn’t He do that? He certainly had the capability of doing so.
  2. Jesus chose to be born in a cave, not in an influential Roman home. Jesus could have been born anywhere He darn well chose. Why did He choose to be born into a poor Jewish home when he could have been an influencer in the *right* home?
  3. He seemed to support paying taxes to the Roman government. Jesus encouraged the paying of taxes to the Roman government (Render unto Caesar). This system was administered by tax collectors who abused the system and became rich by overcharging the people. Why didn’t He encourage the people to go to Rome and attempt to get the system changed?
  4. He knew that the Romans would one day destroy Jerusalem. He even predicted that the day would come within a generation in Matthew 24. In this passage He says the Temple would be destroyed and that it would happen soon. It did. In 70 AD the Romans destroyed Jerusalem. Why didn’t He tell the Jews to get moving on some initiatives to prevent this from happening? Why didn’t He tell them to overthrow the Pharisees and Sadducees who were cooperating with the Roman government to keep the peace? Why didn’t He tell them to get out of Jerusalem immediately?
  5. WhY DID Jesus crY before He entered Jerusalem on his donkey on Palm Sunday? Wasn’t this a glorious day? You know, the waving of the palm branched when Jesus came…Did you ask why they used palm branches? This is  important because the palm branches were a symbol of political victory. Did you know that the palm branches signified the victory of the Jews over their ruler, Antiochus? Jesus was crying because he foresaw the destruction of Jerusalem. He also cried because the people didn’t understand that He was not coming as an earthly king.They wanted a king who would kick Roman butt and free them from Roman oppression. It wasn’t Him…at least not this time around. Something different needed to be accomplished.
  6. Jesus  told his disciples ahead of time that His kingdom was not of this world.
    The exact quote is “Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” Many of the disciples could not handle this and went into hiding when He was arrested, fearful for their own lives. Only John and His mother, Mary, along with a few other women, stayed with Him when He was on the Cross.
  7. Sex abuse of woman and children in Ancient Rome was common yet Jesus didn’t speak out against it. Here is just one link but I urge you to read the history of what was happening in Rome. I know that Jews would be imprisoned and killed if they spoke out against these practices. Yet why didn’t Jesus speak out against the despicable practices of the Roman state? Didn’t He care about sex abuse?
  8. Jesus concentrated on abuse within the Jewish faith.
    Now we hit gold. He called the religious leaders snakes and white washed tombs. The story of the Good Samaritan was Jesus telling religious leaders that they were failures in understanding the Scriptures. One of my favorite stories is Jesus telling His disciples to let the children to come to Him. He issued dire warnings about the eternal fate of those who would cause harm to a little one. He was speaking primarily to the religious Jews.
  9. Jesus turned over the money changers’ table in the Temple, not in the local tax collector’s office.
    We know that Jesus was aware of the illegal activities of the tax collectors of that day. He invited Zaccheus to join him in a dinner. Zaccheus changed during the encounter. Yet Jesus did not use this opportunity to stand up against abusive tax practices by government officials. Instead, He headed out to the Temple and caused a ruckus by accusing the religious leaders of their illicit practices to enrich themselves. (Sounds like something that might be good for some churches today?)
  10. Jesus proclaimed the good news to the poor but He didn’t provide enough food to prevent general starvation.
    Jesus fed a few thousand on a couple of occasions. Yet He didn’t coordinate food distribution efforts or set up an ancient food stamp program. We know that He could have done this since God provided food for the entire tribe of Israels during their time in the Wilderness. Why was Jesus so fixated on preaching good news to the poor? Was He hinting at something far deeper and more imperative than physical hunger? Were we the ones responsible for people starving? Why do people starve today when there is the possibility of curing hunger world wide?
  11. Jesus told a lame man that his sins were forgiven before He healed him.
    You can read the account in Mark 2. Why did he stress the forgiveness of sins first? Why didn’t He just heal the man and get on with business if healing wad the most important item on his agenda? Or was forgiveness the primary reason He was here?

Am I saying not to serve the poor, the let down, and the sick? What is Jesus driving at with all of us?

Of course not. Matthew 19:21-22 tells us we are to do so. In fact, Jesus says something quite astonishing, and if truth be told, discouraging for all of us.

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Think about it…How many of you are willing to give it all up? How many of you can? Why haven’t more of us given all our stuff away? I sure haven’t. Or is that really the point of this?

Jesus was pointing us to the Cross.

Jesus was challenging all of us to understand ourselves and others. None of us is perfect. I sure haven’t given it all up in seeking perfection in the eyes of Jesus. Even if I had,  would I be perfect? Couldn’t I give all of my possession up and still be mean spirited and cruel towards others?

I contend that the 3 year ministry of Jesus was designed to help us to understand the depths of our problems and then to show us what our problems meant for Him. A former pastor said it this way.

He brings a message of hope that is centered in himself.

This same pastor often would post the following picture on the overhead.

Do you really want to understand Jesus? You need to understand why He came! Everything He did during those 3 short years was designed to point us to our need for the Cross. Now, take a look at the other side of the Cross from the perspective of the Pauline epistles. Paul pointed back at the Cross as the running thread throughout  his writings. He sums it up in 1 Corinthians 15.

12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

When I became a Christian, Jesus gave me His Spirit. The Spirit is what convicts me to care for the victims of human trafficking. That Spirit is what caused my husband and me to choose to spend two years on the Navajo Reservation as opposed to my husband taking a cushier job in order to pay back to the government for his schooling. It is what caused me to tutor low income children. It is what made my heart care for those abused in the church. However, none of these activities solved my problem. Only Jesus could do that.

I have decided to spend my time focusing on changing things inside the church. I am terribly grateful for those who believe that Jesus has called them focus on politics. However that is not what this blog is going to do.

To those people who claim I don’t know my Bible when I say Jesus was not a politician, this is my response. You may disagree with my conclusions but I hope you can see that I have deeply considered this issue.

Finally, to the person who said that “Jesus is her f****** political role model,” I would suggest doing a bit more reading…


Comments

Who Is Jesus in Today’s Fractured Political Climate: Politician or Savior? — 119 Comments

  1. Couldn’t agree more. I am a Republican but see the flaws in politicians as a whole. So many are in it for the benefits for themselves and their families and they take positions based on what they think will get them re-elected. Also agree wholeheartedly with your perspective on Jesus and His mission. God bless you!

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  2. This political environment is too much us versus them, IMO. Civil disagreement is just not allowed. It is why I tend to remain quiet on some subjects. I don’t want to get into an argument over less than Gospel things.

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  3. I have been a Republican since 1976. I can’t understand why the GOP today is all about ” woe is me” never mind we control all branches of government and everything they stand for today revolves around revenge, punishment for all who don’t follow their belief system to the letter. How they can call themselves ” Christian ” is beyond my understanding. I am seriously wondering about voting in this manner. Turn in a blank ballot. Or x-ing out the entire page

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  4. Nice post… It is quite shocking how people can through out their own “moral convictions” when politcs and religion are involved. Given the focus of this blog on victims of abuse, especially in the “church”, I do not think it would be possible to attempt to include politics…

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  5. Just recently I was sitting at a table with friends and was asked my opinion about a controversy. I was asked if I had an opinion about the controversy. I said “I don’t.” I have seen far too much argument or acrimony related to politics, so I now keep my views to myself. I also have a concern that if I participate in partisan political argument, the argument will develop an inertia of its own that, pardon the pun, “trumps” one’s religion , one ethics and biblical beliefs . The good becomes bad and the bitter sweet I fear because morals may not matter. It becomes like a woe from the Bible.

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  6. Dee, you’re right on the money. Some people don’t have anything better to do than to tweet every 5 minutes so they can see their own words on line – kinda like taking a selfie everywhere. I know I don’t have to remind you to pray for such folks. Don’t let ’em get you down, sweetie.

    “Put not your trust in princes, in mortals in whom there is no salvation.”

    D.

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  7. This has pretty much been my position on politics in my own life, seems like we both looked at the words of the Bible and came to the same conclusions, Dee. I respect that you keep politics off your blog because, otherwise, it would take over and the comments would become an ugly mass of vitriol that goes nowhere; tit for tat, accusation for accusation, insult for insult.

    That said, the events of the last couple years have pushed me over the edge where I’ve begun to take more of an open stance on things with people I know. I try to focus on understanding and remaining friends regardless of what people believe but it’s become really difficult because people are so angry. I’ve been stunned by things Christians are saying and also very disappointed in the lack of discernment and deep thinking skills as well as disrespect for those who see things differently. I believe God calls us to be better than that. We should be standing out as voices of compassion and reason.

    What a mess we are in. I am truly fearful of the future.

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  8. I used to be deeply concerned about politics, and a staunch, conservative Republican. Today I consider myself apolitical at best, probably anti-political, because I do not trust either side of the aisle, and perceive much of what goes on as a deliberate circus. The major goal of politics, IMO, is to keep people divided and fighting with one another, lest they recognize, and challenge those who are laughing all the way to the bank. Neither side delivers on their promises, and I tend to believe answer to the same masters.

    It is sad, however, when you become ‘the enemy’ of your friends if you do not share their political beliefs, or attempt to moderate some of the extremes that are commonly pushed by publicity stunts staged as ‘current events’ and mind controlling social media memes.

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  9. dee: Vinnie,

    Thank you. I’m waiting for the pushback. Really bad weekend on Twitter.

    That’s a shame. I know people feel strongly but everybody needs to take a deep breath. This too shall pass. By the way, the pugs are cute.

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  10. The DEEBS: Led by the Spirit, and answering their calling.

    If ya don’t like it, open a different web page.

    Politics …???… there’s good and bad in all arenas. Seems like the bad is out umbering the good these days.

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  11. SiteSeer: We should be standing out as voices of compassion and reason.

    These are good words.

    Unfortunately, I’ve seen a lot compassion without reason and reason without compassion.

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  12. In the last two years I have witnessed a tremendous amount of aggression and bullying in our country. It breaks my heart that our younger generation have to witness such division. Unfortunately, it seems that “winning” by any means is the message being sent.
    I do believe that we can easily be overwhelmed by hopelessness when looking at the big picture. However I have found that if I concentrate on my own “backyard”, then I am able to release the things I can’t control. It is so easy for me to argue and criticize those who make excuses for government officials who exhibit bad behavior. I’ve learned to not engage in political debate with loved ones, because it does split us apart.
    It is not easy. I lived in NYC and am aware of- – – never mind. As believers, we need to concentrate on our own choices and behavior. It is easy to become distracted by things we can’t control.
    This is why I admire the Deebs so much! They do not allow anything to distract them from their own calling. Political debate on this site could easily shift the focus off of helping victims heal and pursuing justice. I am sure there are hundreds of other sites that focus on politics. They serve their purpose. Thank you both for keeping your focus on your calling.

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  13. Thank you for this. I’ve saved it so I can come back to it over and over again, as I’m sure I will be needing to read this again.

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  14. All my life, I’ve been warned about mixing religion with politics. Unfortunately, in my former life as a Southern Baptist for nearly 70 years, I found it inescapable! The SBC is one of the most theo-political institutions on the planet! Little men in high places have always vied for political power within SBC using the popular movement of the moment to propel them to thrones. Take this New Calvinist thing for example, I’ve warned numerous mainline (non-Calvinist) Southern Baptists what is taking place within their ranks and they look at me like raccoons caught in headlights on the highway. When I try to explain this situation to family and friends, many of them think the ole’ man has gone over the edge to near-madness; they talk about facilities I might consider moving to. So, I retreat to the blogosphere to find a few kindred spirits who see it, too. I find solace in reading comments of others who have had similar experiences. But, then I get to thinking … perhaps we are all crazy! Well, if we are, I would rather hang out with you folks a bit of each day than raccoons.

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  15. A character of God that Christians often do not put in front of their mind is impartiality. I greatly appreciate your work navigating difficult situation prayfully, gathering facts, vetting sources and weighting carefully before making allegations public. You are not reacting. You care about the innocent as much as the abused. That is impartially.
    Today’s atmosphere is all reactionary and say whatever for the sole purpose of shutting people up. We need more people like you.

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  16. Max,

    You are Not ready for old folks home yet! My father died in one, and trust me, you have not “lost it”, like those poor souls I would see there with my dad!
    Humans like to in “group think” in their own trib/village, and will go to great lengths to maintain the status quo.

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  17. This is one of the best columns you have ever written. Thank you so much for your very principled, Spirit-led teachings.

    In my opinion, one of the most un-Christian teachings is that tge end justifies the means. It’s bad no matter which party is using it, or to what end. It makes it too easy for me to right and everyone else to be wrong.

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  18. “My kingdom is not of this world.”

    If Christians really understood that we are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth in the here and now, we would not be so inclined to fret about the kingdoms of this world. We would
    comprehend what Jesus meant when He told us to be in the world but not of the world … and we would better understand the privileges of Kingdom citizenship and our responsibilities within it. “As He is, so are we to be in ‘this’ world” (1 John 4:17).

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  19. “Who Is Jesus in Today’s Fractured Political Climate”

    Typically looking back at historical figures we see they are in one way or another tethered to their time. Whether it be some of founders of the US who held slaves or ancient Greeks that were pederasts, while they stood above their peers many were still mired in the circumstance of their day. Although Jesus was a vociferous critic of the religious rulers, he seemed to rise above partisanship of the times, and there was great partisanship in his day that eventually led to the massive bloodletting decades after his death.

    I am unable to find a historical figure more independent of his time. He could be transported to this current fractured environment and we would still find his values and his message was just as applicable as when he first walked among us.

    Without being and the One great understanding of Jesus was he was someone

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  20. K.D.: I can’t understand why the GOP today is all about ” woe is me” never mind we control all branches of government

    This is very fleeting and a few elections can change it. Simultaneously the media and the Academy are strong bastions that are securely held by GOP opponents. Granted the media institution is rapidly dissolving but not without a lot of screeching clickbait. This may well be one of the problems, some institutions have increasingly become mono-cultures of thought. Unless you have to deal with people who hold differing views on a day to day basis and you are also forced to deal with them as equals, then people’s tribal nature kicks in and begins to cast such folk as opponents, someone to disdain, and someone to be suppressed.

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  21. dee:
    Vinnie,

    Thank you. I’m waiting for the pushback. Really bad weekend on Twitter.

    It has been a bad few weeks on Twitter. And Facebook. No pushback from me. Thank you for working to provide a safe place. At least, this place feels like a sanctuary of sorts most of the time.

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  22. This was a beautiful commentary, Dee. Thank you for sharing the truths about our Lord Jesus straight from Scripture. We live in a very dark and sad time. Only a Jesus can save us….

    I hope you are recovering from your mishap.

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  23. Politics has become a religion of its own – complete with history, rules, celebrity authority figures, dogma, membership requirements, elitist mindset – with a competitive (and dodgy) business model to boot.

    Very much like our churches today.

    And I’m in the “done” category.

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  24. “We know that only 4-7% (more or less) of sex abuse claims are not true and that is why we believe most stories.”

    “In those 4-7% of sex abuse claims that are proven not to be true, there are usually hidden motives involved.”

    In the midst of trying (and not always succeeding) to ignore all the Kavanaugh stuff, somebody on Twitter linked to the following article about false rape accusations that I found very helpful, regardless of the truth about our newest Supreme court justice.

    https://qz.com/980766/the-truth-about-false-rape-accusations/

    It’s a 2017 article by Sandra Newman that gets into the nitty gritty of what kinds of people make false accusations, and the four primary reasons why. No politics here; just a straightforward explanation that I think institutions of all sorts would do well to heed.

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  25. I love the way you laid this out, Dee. As you stay true to the Spirit and the ministry He’s called you to, there’s bound to be persecution. It’s just super sad that it is coming from others who call themselves Christian. I truly don’t understand it. Hang in there, sister.

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  26. Max: When I try to explain this situation to family and friends, many of them think the ole’ man has gone over the edge to near-madness; they talk about facilities I might consider moving to. So, I retreat to the blogosphere to find a few kindred spirits who see it, too.

    “Their works are works of iniquity,
    and deeds of violence are in their hands.
    Their feet run to evil,
    and they make haste to shed innocent blood;
    their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity,
    desolation and destruction are in their highways.
    The way of peace they know not,
    and there is no justice in their paths;
    they have made their roads crooked,
    no one who goes in them knows peace.
    Therefore justice is far from us,
    and righteousness does not overtake us;
    we look for light, and behold, darkness,
    and for brightness, but we walk in gloom.
    We grope for the wall like the blind,
    we grope like those who have no eyes;
    we stumble at noon as in the twilight,
    among those in full vigor we are like dead men.
    We all growl like bears,
    we moan and moan like doves;
    we look for justice, but there is none;
    for salvation, but it is far from us.
    For our transgressions are multiplied before thee,
    and our sins testify against us;
    for our transgressions are with us,
    and we know our iniquities:
    transgressing, and denying the Lord,
    and turning away from following our God,
    speaking oppression and revolt,
    conceiving and uttering from the heart lying words.
    Justice is turned back,
    and righteousness stands afar off;
    for truth has fallen in the public squares,
    and uprightness cannot enter.
    Truth is lacking,
    and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.”

    Isaiah 59:6b-15

    But most simply cannot imagine applying such verses to ‘their guy’, their party or their Church. Thanks to ignorance, loyalty and fear, Truth remains in the street, trampled upon like yesterday’s newspaper. I don’t think I’m smarter or better than anyone else, but I could not continue to resist the leading of the Spirit to give up my favorite idols. One by one I have had to say goodbye to those false things in which I had long put my trust. It is comforting to know I am not alone.

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  27. TS00: One by one I have had to say goodbye to those false things in which I had long put my trust. It is comforting to know I am not alone.

    I resemble that remark. God bless you Truthseeker.

    “Does not wisdom call out?
    Does not understanding raise her voice?
    On the heights along the way,
    Where the paths meet,
    She takes her stand.” (Prov. 8:1-2)

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  28. Deebs: Thank you for your stand on this issue. I for one am glad that you do not discuss politics here. You obviously know what you are doing and have no need to change a thing. Keep up the good work.

    Also, I would like to commend you for pointing us to the cross. You have given us a clear presentation of the gospel here, and the practical implications of it. We all may find different ways to live out this good news regarding Jesus, but that in no way legitimizes anyone else or their views.

    So to those who would object and pushback, do as these two women have done and start your own blog / church / organization / whatever. Show the world how wonderful you and your ideas are.

    Meanwhile, real work is being done, real suffering is being alleviated, real love is being exchanged. Thanks for your emphasis on the cross and on the Jesus of the Scriptures.

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  29. Excellent article! Yes, Jesus is King and Lord of all, so why would He be concerned with mere earthly politics? He was far more concerned about the evil religious leaders who destroyed and scattered the sheep than He was of the Roman government. His mission was much more important than overthrowing the Romans. He came to put sin and the grave to death.

    Since having become a believer, I have always viewed myself a citizen of heaven first, and then as an American. As much as I love this country (and I am quite patriotic) all of that pales in comparison of knowing that my true citizenship is not of this world. I am a child of the King and represent His Kingdom as His ambassador, and as the Apostle Paul says in that same passage, Christ has given us the ministry of reconciliation! (II Corinthians 5:18-21)

    We are reminded many times in Scripture that everything is passing away, except God’s Kingdom and His Word. With that thought in mind, one should channel one’s political persuasions to those things that are going the same direction as His Kingdom, since nothing of this world will last.

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  30. I think leaving politics out of this blog is a good thing. I am already living in circumstances where I differ politically with my husband, my family, and my in-laws. I refuse to discuss politics with anyone especially when someone tries to make little political digs in my presence because they know I disagree. I avoid discussions or giving opinions about Kavanaugh, the President, or anything in between because hysteria ensues. I’ll wait until the mid term elections to vote my conscience rather than discuss it openly. In the meantime, I act apolitical around my family members because it is not worth the fallout. At the same time, no one really understands my fascination with what is going on in the church because they don’t understand, or care because they aren’t into religion or church anyway. I get only blank stares, or why do you care about that look. I agree that Jesus’ main concern was not about politics, but I think the political and religious are intertwined on some level or headed on a kind of collision course. That said, I keep politics out of how I treat people based on Jesus’ example, or at least try to.

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  31. Max: they talk about facilities I might consider moving to. So, I retreat to the blogosphere to find a few kindred spirits who see it, too

    This made me laugh. Todd Wilhelm and I have discussed starting a commune so we can share the cooking and then sit in rocking chairs, looking at a beautiful sunset and discuss our thoughts. These could then be turned into posts! I like the idea of continuing to go after people until I drop dead!

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  32. GAFS

    Actually, there  is  a political party that all christians, not to mention agnostics, can and should support. I refer, of course, to The Official Monster Raving Loony Party.

    Among their many enlightened and progressive policy commitments is that all vehicles should be fitted with bungee ropes to save fuel on the return journey.

    A couple of general elections ago, we had a Loony candidate – by the name of “Approaching, Flash Gordon” – in our constituency. OK, I didn’t vote for him (nor is this the place to say for whom I did vote) but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted.

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  33. I appreciate your decision to keep politics out of the blog. I belong to a party (I have moved between the two major ones over the past 40 years), but I often vote outside my “official” party lines because I don’t always agree. I’ve been suspicious ever since the formation of the Christian Right back in the 1970s. What I find most distressing is how churches dictate politics from the pulpit. After a few sermons since the 2016 presidential election, I know where our leadership stands from the “hidden” comments from the pulpit (they are actually quite blatant). I will not turn and worship POTUS, no matter who he/she/it is. God has a higher calling for my worship!

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  34. Charis: Politics has become a religion of its own – complete with history, rules, celebrity authority figures, dogma, membership requirements, elitist mindset – with a competitive (and dodgy) business model to boot.
    Very much like our churches today.

    Key phrase VERY MUCH LIKE OUR CHURCHES TODAY.

    What’s puzzled Eagle and me since the 2016 circus is how Born-Again Christians are among the most fanatical of Trump fanatics. (Eagle’s blog has a regular Bible verse-spouting troll who is a Trump Fanatic — and I mean FANATIC.)

    The only thing we can figure is that as the Religion of Politics is “very much like our churches today”, churches such as are scrutinized on this and other watchblogs have “groomed” a lot of Christians for the Religion of Politics. (Just a simple transfer of worship, like hopping from one trendy megachurch to another, more trendy one. What happens when politics provides more spectacle and show than your trendy mega?)

    And as church culture, so the personality of the Pastor. Especially if the Pastor of Politics (currently guess who) acts even more “Anointed” than the guy in the pulpit jetting to conferences, juicing his latest book, pontificating on Twitter. (“Anointed” in the sense of showing the metrics the pewsitters have been groomed to recognize as “Godly”.)

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  35. John Piper; doesn’t believe in political salvation
    Al Mohler: doesn’t believe in political salvation
    John MacArthur: doesn’t believe in political salvation.
    Mark Dever: doesn’t believe in political salvation
    Russell Moore: doesn’t believe in political salvation
    BUT
    They have been much criticized by T.W.W. and the commenters regardless of their refusal to engage in politicking. Somehow, that doesn’t seem right.

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  36. Also a bit of history I mentioned over on IMonk last week.

    For some 40 years (since the time of the Moral Majority), the GOP has been manipulating their Christianese base by stringing them along with promises of “We’ll appoint a Supreme Court that’ll overturn Roe v Wade, put Prayer back in Schools, and restore Traditional Family Values — JUST ELECT US!” FORTY YEARS AS “GOD’S OWN PARTY” AND NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT. EXCPET MORE PIOUS PROMISES.

    My father had an expression in such situations: “Sh*t or get off the pot.”

    Well, after 40 years of sitting on the pot, the Kavanaugh appointment has administered the enema. To paraphrase LBJ signing the Civil Rights Act, “We could have kept them voting straight Republican for the next 100 years!”

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  37. Divorce Minister: This political environment is too much us versus them, IMO. Civil disagreement is just not allowed.

    The Universe Cannot Have Two One True Ways.

    And the more Righteous the Cause, the more it justifies By Any Means Necessary.

    I live in a state whose entire Establishment is constantly Virtue Signalling that Corruption of Righteousness; give me Corruption of Money any day.

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  38. Nick Bulbeck: Actually, there is a political party that all christians, not to mention agnostics, can and should support. I refer, of course, to The Official Monster Raving Loony Party.

    And the best part about the MRLP is that they KNOW they’re a joke.

    Out here in Cali the Political Crazies are DEAD SERIOUS.
    Only Grim Determination for The Cause.
    (And no two Righteous causes agree; remember that OT Star Trek episode “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”?))

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  39. Cat’s Meow:
    Charis,

    You are exactly right…politics has become a religion. And now people want to fight (figuratively) “to the death”.

    You don’t need to base a Cult on a religion per se.
    Remember Naziism and Communism?
    Both One True Way POLITICAL Cults.
    Who fought (literally) to the death on the Eastern Front from 1941-45, “The most savage and brutal war ever fought between allegedly-civilized technological nations”.

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  40. Thersites: This may well be one of the problems, some institutions have increasingly become mono-cultures of thought.

    Living in a part of the country that’s pretty far gone along those lines, here’s an image of “Diversity(TM)” that’s been sticking in my head:

    DIVERSITY — A crowd as physically diverse as possible, i.e. there’s a white, there’s a black, there’s a woman, there’s a gay, there’s a blind black Lesbian in a wheelchair…
    All of them dressed in identical uniforms, marching in lockstep, reciting the Diversity Party Line in unison.

    Unless you have to deal with people who hold differing views on a day to day basis and you are also forced to deal with them as equals…

    Which has really gotten easy to avoid in the echo chambers of Social Media.
    Friends and Followers who All Agree 1000% with Me, blocking and banning all else.

    …then people’s tribal nature kicks in and begins to cast such folk as opponents, someone to disdain, and someone to be suppressed.

    You forgot the next step: Objects to be Exterminated (the current Code Word is “Cleansing”).

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  41. Thanks, Dee and Deb, for making TWW a safe place regarding “politicalness”. If I want that, I have plenty of friends on FB who seem to talk about nothing else. This is a great post with much food for thought about who Jesus is and why he came.

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  42. Linn,

    Too close to truth for comfort. Every time I see something from the BabyBee I’m reminded how I much I miss the Wittenburg Door (HUG will know what I mean).

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  43. FW Rez,

    I am old enough to have fond memories of both The Wittenburg Door and Eutychus (used to run in CT Today). I enjoy the Bee because they take on both sides equally. My lament over today’s politics is that we no longer have a “middle.”

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  44. To continue my thoughts from last night, hopefully without the typo word salad at the end, in Matthew’s listing of Jesus’ disciples in ch 10 he refers to Simon the Zealot. Many have understood this to mean he was a former member of the fanatical Jews opposed to Roman rule. In the same passage Matthew refers to himself as “Matthew the tax collector”. In his day this was not a government worker but from the view of the Jewish people he was the worst kind of traitor. The tax collector would not just extract money from his fellow men to support the occupiers, he would typically cheat by confiscating too much and skim it off the top for himself.

    I don’t think it is an accident that Matthew juxtaposed this description of himself with that of Simon, they represented polar opposites in the political spectrum of his day. The differences were far wider and much more violent that any now between R’s and D’s or liberal and conservative. Matthew’s boast represents that Jesus could bring together anyone.

    Many have theorized that Judas betrayal was not for the money but to force Jesus hand and bring about a political movement. If so he was not the only disciple to hold such views, others had expressed interest in what their position would be in Jesus’ new order. Was Judas betrayal was an inability to set aside temporal politics? Sadly Judas never understood Jesus real mission except maybe at the very end when he took his own life.

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  45. senecagriggs: They have been much criticized by T.W.W. and the commenters regardless of their refusal to engage in politicking. Somehow, that doesn’t seem right.

    Sorry SG, this is a classic strawman argument, please point out the specific accusation made of “political salvation”.

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  46. Linn: My lament over today’s politics is that we no longer have a “middle.”

    Well, I have a middle.

    It’s slightly bigger than I’d like it to be.

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  47. I really appreciate this article.

    It seems to me, that Conservative Christian Twitter and Liberal Christian Twitter are more similar than different. They both want people to agree with them on EVERYTHING. If you don’t support their issues 100%, then you are one of the enemy or a traitor. Since both sides have this problem, maybe the problem is Twitter and how we use it enforce orthodoxy on each other. In church a couple Sundays ago, the gospel reading had Jesus saying “If you aren’t against us, you are with us.” That leaves so much more room for freedom and diversity of thought than the opposite formation, “if you aren’t with us, you are against us.”

    I enjoy a good political conversation, but I find these very hard to come by (obviously, I won’t try to do that here because I respect the Deebs and that isn’t what this blog is about). Trying to talk about ideas and principles rather than people helps, but it can still so often get bogged down in the partisan foodfight. And, as was mentioned upthread, the way social media only exposes us to things we already agree with makes the problem worse. Then, people expect you to agree with them on everything and assume the other side only has the worst motives. This is a toxic combination that leads to polarization.

    I have really been helped by Jonathan Haidt’s work in being able to understand how people I disagree with could come to the conclusions that they do out of good motives but maybe a different moral foundation.

    Thanks Dee and Deb for keeping this blog focused on issues in the church so that people from across the ideological spectrum can come together and oppose abuses in the church. There are fewer and fewer non-partisan spaces in the world, and so your decision to keep this blog non-partisan is very important in this polarized world.

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  48. Linn: What I find most distressing is how churches dictate politics from the pulpit.

    Like James Dobson, Voddie Beaucham, et al defined childrearing entirely in terms of Zero Sum Power Struggle, so churches are jumping on the Zero Sum Power Struggle bandwagon of today’s politics.

    “A crown based on lies,
    YOU WIN OR YOU DIE,
    Game of Thrones…”

    After a few sermons since the 2016 presidential election, I know where our leadership stands from the “hidden” comments from the pulpit (they are actually quite blatant). I will not turn and worship POTUS, no matter who he/she/it is. God has a higher calling for my worship!

    But 81% of Born-Again Bible-Believing Christians are lining up to bend the knee, burn the pinch of incense, and take the Mark! Forehead AND Right Hand! It’s like something out of a bad End Times Book! (Always explained away with a Verse: “For GOD shall send them strong delusion, that they shall believe a lie. Tsk. Tsk.” Now THEY are acting exactly the same.)

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  49. Ricco: It seems to me, that Conservative Christian Twitter and Liberal Christian Twitter are more similar than different.

    WHY DO YOU THINK THEY CALL THEM “TWITS”?

    They both want people to agree with them on EVERYTHING. If you don’t support their issues 100%, then you are one of the enemy or a traitor. Since both sides have this problem, maybe the problem is Twitter and how we use it enforce orthodoxy on each other.

    With Friends and Block lists (and AI algorithms popping up recommended links) it is VERY easy to seal yourself off with other identical True Believers in your Social Media Echo Chamber. Kind of “Safe Space” gone REAL sour.

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  50. Linn: My lament over today’s politics is that we no longer have a “middle.”

    That is characteristic of Fundamentalist Holy Wars.

    “But Holy State (we have lived to learn)
    Endeth in Holy War.”
    — Rudyard Kipling, “MacDonough’s Song”, 1912

    http://www.poetryloverspage.com/poets/kipling/macdonoughs_song.html
    (The background of this song was as a theme and “bumper music” for one of Kipling’s forays into what’s now called Science Fiction, a short titled “As Easy as A.B.C.” The last four lines also make a good epitaph for the Soviet Union and their Third World imitators.)

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  51. K.D.: I have been a Republican since 1976. I can’t understand why the GOP today is all about ” woe is me” never mind we control all branches of government and everything they stand for today revolves around revenge, punishment for all who don’t follow their belief system to the letter.

    That sounds like a Grievance Culture, i.e. a culture whose only reason for existence has become Revenge on The Other.

    The three Axioms of a Grievance Culture:
    1) “Once WE were Lords of All Creation, and Everything Was PERFECT!”
    2) “Then THEY came and took it all away from us!”
    3) “IT’S PAYBACK TIME!!!!!”

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  52. senecagriggs: They have been much criticized by T.W.W. and the commenters regardless of their refusal to engage in politicking. Somehow, that doesn’t seem right.

    Let me see . . . me thinks they have been criticized for other things, besides politics, but Seneca is fairly smart. I think he knows this.

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  53. Hey, Dee, I was wondering how you were going to handle it! 🙂 I read how Boz did it, also Jacob and Rachel Denhollander, Wade Mullen, Diane Langborn. You each gave different responses, and all were gracious/wise. Marvelous jobs, in my opinion.

    I’m fairly certain the twitter bunch that came for you was the group around Christopher Stroop. They are mostly still-raw survivors, spilling all over. I suspect it doesn’t occur to them that your chosen corner of work is already difficult and draining, and that you need to protect yourself and your job.

    Anyway, I don’t comment here much anymore because my energy is small and I am spending it on art, but I still read Wartburg! Hello to all of you and Gods blessings!

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  54. This is a good posting. There is much political deception in our country right now. The deception is that politics is an answer: it is not. There is much self-righteousness in this too along with demonizing the other party. This is bad orthopraxy for we are warned not to be of a party spirit quite clearly in the New Testament. I have heard no preachers actually deal with these scriptures, they are just ignored along mostly racial lines. If you are black, then republicans are the devil. If you are white, then it is the democrats. Everyone is blame shifting and no one is looking at themselves in the mirror. This is a recipe for coming violence and chaos.

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  55. Patrice: I’m fairly certain the twitter bunch that came for you was the group around Christopher Stroop. They are mostly still-raw survivors, spilling all over. I suspect it doesn’t occur to them that your chosen corner of work is already difficult and draining, and that you need to protect yourself and your job.

    Thank you for your thoughts. I’m suspicious that it is a couple of people who are really mad at me since I don’t see things their way. They tend to hang out with some self style Christian radicals since no one else will talk with them due to their vision commentary. However, if I discover it is them, I may report one of them to his/her boss since I have been stalked by them for over a year. For their sake, I hope it is the the person you have mentioned. I ill check into that.

    Why people will destroy everyone who doesn’t agree with them and yet claim to be Christians is beyond me. I am desperately trying to learn the virtue of long-suffering. However, I mention it here so they know that I am still sitting on the fence.

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  56. dee: Why people will destroy everyone who doesn’t agree with them and yet claim to be Christians is beyond me.

    The Corruption of Righteousness.

    “Because in the Devil’s theology, the most important thing is to Be Absolutely Right and prove everyone else to Be Absolutely Wrong.”
    — Thomas Merton, “Moral Theology of the Devil”

    Because a Righteous enough Cause can justify anything, and what’s more Righteous than Being On God’s Side?

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  57. Ricco: I have really been helped by Jonathan Haidt’s work in being able to understand how people I disagree with could come to the conclusions that they do out of good motives but maybe a different moral foundation.

    Thumbs up

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  58. Mr. Jesperson: Everyone is blame shifting and no one is looking at themselves in the mirror. This is a recipe for coming violence and chaos.

    Welcome to Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

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  59. I find it hard to believe that everyone really just agrees with Dee. Looks like a lot of groupthink going on if you ask me. With that said, I agree.

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  60. Excellent post, Dee! Sadly, we live in an era where disagreement in the arena of the unspoken ‘p’ word is viewed as hatred. I’m concerned for our country and believe it is headed down a dangerous path.

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  61. In our little corner of the Bible belt, the people are about equally divided over politics. Some are rabidly GOP/Trump supporters. Others are equally rabidly against the GOP/Trump. Most of the churches we have visited don’t seem to want to touch the issue with a ten foot pole–and that is a GOOD thing. Unfortunately our local church is on one side of the divide among the people, and the denominational leadership has decided to re-educate ourselves to the other side. Specifically, you have a right leaning congregation being re-educated to lean left. Nah, we too want politics, right and left, out of church.

    We split, restarted our church search, and seem to have found one leaving politics at the door. We are surprised but it is SBC.

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  62. The way I see it, trying to say that any answer on a particular issue is, “The Biblical viewpoint” or “What God thinks” is doomed to failure. The Bible (and pretty much any so-called “holy” book) is the big book of multiple choice. You can search through there and find passages to back up essentially any position that you want to take. People invariably find that, whatever denomination they are, whatever things they believe – God thinks pretty much *just* like they think. That’s largely why it was so hard to get rid of slavery. The Bible is the ultimate moral guide, according to the Christians of western europe and America – but it didn’t really speak out against slavery at all. In fact, it codified for the Jews exactly how they could own slaves (and the descendants of those slaves, and so on), how they could beat them, and so on. So you’ve gotta squint pretty hard to come up with the notion that the *real* message of the Bible is anti-slavery.

    Seems to me that if Jesus had really been intent on improving the lives of his followers, he could’ve at least come up with some revisions to the moral codes of the Old Testament – like telling them, “Don’t own slaves, that’s wrong.”, and so on.

    But instead he did this weird self-sacrifice thing (literally gave himself (Jesus) as a sacrifice to himself (God)) to sate the blood-lust of the God of the Old Testament. Except it wasn’t really a sacrifice because he got better after a couple days. It doesn’t really make any sense. We’re somehow doomed to eternal torture because of being imperfect because of original sin (which none of us had anything to do with), but God goes through 32 yars of weirdness and a weekend of pain, to give us a loophole for a problem that he pretty much created in the first place. Why?

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  63. Darlene: I’m concerned for our country and believe it is headed down a dangerous path.

    I am too.
    But the thing is, not all of us will agree about what’s on that dangerous path.

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  64. Rich,

    I ask myself this all the time.

    The Bible doesn’t specifically mention abortion, child abuse, spouse abuse, or child molesting, either, or a lot of other things, I’m sure. Maybe because it’s our job to come to the conclusions of what love means in this world and how it lives out? Maybe that’s our test. I don’t know.

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  65. John Johnson: I find it hard to believe that everyone really just agrees with Dee. Looks like a lot of groupthink going on if you ask me. With that said, I agree.

    Ha ha!

    We’re a reasonable group, many of us have been through heck and know what it’s like to be the object of misunderstanding, attacks or silencing, and we’ve learned to focus on the important, underlying issues. We probably disagree on a lot of theological/doctrinal issues yet we get along and respect each other the great majority of the time. So, it doesn’t surprise me, actually.

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  66. ___

    “Government Establish And Sustain With Justice And Righteousness, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    (nah, that’s not political…)

    huh?

    The King of the Jews was the very officer of the throne of heaven. His authority is absolute. Never the less He would sacrifice Himself for His people Israel on a Roman cross. The earthquake and the darkening of the sun at the moment of His death gives further significance to this event. That He would arise three days later possessing both the keys of Death and Hell and a bruised and defeated foe also demonstrates some significance as well. That his hired grave was visited by two angels gives additional significance. This is no ordinary man.

    This was the Lord Of Heaven.

    What?

    Prophecy doth give us resolve:

    “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be upon His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from that time and forevermore. “

    How best it’s opposition to withstand?

    “The zeal of the LORD of Hosts will accomplish this…”

    (Sēê your bible for details)

    ATB

    Sòpy

    ;~)
    – –

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  67. ___

    Eye Witness: “We The People?”

    hmmm…

    “I did but prompt the age to quit their clogs
    By the known rules of ancient liberty,
    When straight a barbarous noise environs me
    Of owls and cuckoos, asses, apes, and dogs.” -John Milton

    Q. Have we as a nation forgotten the end of government?

    “…the happiness of society is the end of government, as all divines and moral philosophers will agree that the happiness of the individual is the end of man.” -John Adams

    “The divine science of politics is the science of social happiness, and the blessings of society depend entirely on the constitutions of government, which are generally institutions that last for many generations, there can be no employment more agreeable to a benevolent mind than a research after the best.” -John Adams (1)

    In order to establish a unity of the American republic, founded upon Justice, the insuring of domestic Tranquility, that of provide for the common Defence, that of promoting the general Welfare, and that of securing the Blessings of Liberty, these four documents have been put fort , secured and presently un-assayed:

    https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/

    These four documents, the finest “expression of the American mind”, are still as revenant as the day they were authored.

    Yet, few there are today who can quote the contents of these profound documents…

    (sadface)

    Doth that ‘star-spangled banner yet wave’ ?

    could b.

    ATB

    Sòpy

    ;~)
    – –

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  68. I’m so tired of extremes. Extreme churches. Extreme theology. Extreme politics. Extreme news. Extreme arguments with people close to me.

    I’m also tired of being accused of not being a Christian or being amoral or hating them if I don’t want to pick an extreme side. A member of my family said one of those things to me just this morning.

    Some of these issues have real hurting people behind them, sometimes a great many hurting people. But the way the world goes about addressing them can’t be the answer and, as dee said, certainly wasn’t the way Jesus addressed problems.

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  69. ishy: I’m so tired of extremes. Extreme churches. Extreme theology. Extreme politics. Extreme news. Extreme arguments with people close to me.

    I’m also tired of being accused of not being a Christian or being amoral or hating them if I don’t want to pick an extreme side.

    “My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Jesus)

    Following Jesus is easy – some people find that difficult! We overcomplicate our walk with the Lord by allowing the extremes in life to pull us off track.

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  70. senecagriggs: John Piper; doesn’t believe in political salvation
    Al Mohler: doesn’t believe in political salvation
    John MacArthur: doesn’t believe in political salvation.
    Mark Dever: doesn’t believe in political salvation
    Russell Moore: doesn’t believe in political salvation
    BUT
    They have been much criticized by T.W.W. and the commenters regardless of their refusal to engage in politicking. Somehow, that doesn’t seem right.

    So you want Deb and Dee to do nothing but focus on pastors or famous Christian figures who talk politics? Why?

    Why should you get to determine who or what they blog choose to blog about?

    That’s no better than the dogged anti-P.O.T.U.S. guys who are screaming at Dee on social media (who used to scream at her in the comment box here a few years ago), about how they think she’s “pro- abuse” simply because she won’t allow her own blog to be turned into a “bash- POTUS- constantly” type site.

    I guess those types think Dee and Deb just happen to blog often about church cover-ups of child sex abuse, spiritual abuse, and domestic abuse for kicks and giggles? Or due to boredom?

    I really would have no desire to post or lurk here if it became overtly politicized, either pro or anti POTUS, or pro or anti Dem / GOP.

    The pastors and famous Christians Deb and Dee criticize on this blog tend to mishandle abuse cases and/or teach doctrine that hurts people, so it’s a good thing they cover those guys.

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  71. Headless Unicorn Guy: Well, after 40 years of sitting on the pot, the Kav. appointment has administered the enema.

    I usually try not to get too politics on this blog, but I did want to say…

    I used to be in the GOP for many years but left a year or two before our current POTUS took office.

    Having said that, I’ve observed that while both left and right, and members of both GOP and the Dem Party, claim to be anti- sexism and to respect women, that both parties actually tend to disrespect women, both inadvertently (or sometime intentionally!) support sexism (in various ways, eg. via certain policies, or by refusing to acknowledge that sexism even exists in the U.S.),

    And, perhaps most annoying to me:

    Both parties (and both left and right) will over-look, offer excuses and justifications for, and defend accused rapists of women, sexual perverts, male domestic abusers of women, who are in their respective parties.

    Both parties do this, and they do it regularly, which is one reason I don’t care for either party.

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  72. Patrice,

    I’m fairly certain the twitter bunch that came for you was the group around Christopher Stroop.

    His name looks familiar. I’ve seen him on twitter, commenting along with the “Ex Evangelical” hash tag or whatever it is.

    It seems that when many people get fed up with the conservative Christianity they were raised in, they go full on reverse and run into far left wing stuff instead, which tends to make them view any and all who don’t walk lockstep with lefty ideals as being the enemy.

    I don’t usually see ex-Christians who turn moderate or stay conservative in other areas.

    Some of them seem to reject one deity (God of the Bible) for a substitute deity (government / politics).

    That may be why so many of them wrongly assume – and were (in a very hostile manner) lecturing Dee on social media – that Jesus of Nazareth was supposedly “political.”

    I can only speculate as to why any one can read the Gospels and walk away actually thinking Jesus was political, when he had to stay away from political schemes and alliances that the factions in his day were trying to get him to join or align him with.

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  73. dee: Why people will destroy everyone who doesn’t agree with them and yet claim to be Christians is beyond me. I am desperately trying to learn the virtue of long-suffering. However, I mention it here so they know that I am still sitting on the fence.

    Oh my, you can’t even agree with certain types of people without them getting into a tizzy.

    A couple of years ago, I was on a Christian site agreeing with a Christian guy about a certain politician. The guy was saying that said politician was sexist, and I said, well, based on some of his comments, I’d say, that is probably true.

    What set this dude off is that I refused to be AS hateful and angry at this politician as he was being.

    I was refusing to get worked up into a lather, go storming around online in a total rage about the politician in question, so this guy (a man!) told me that I (a woman) do not understand sexism.

    Me, a woman, who has actually been subjected to sexism by men over my life from the time I was a kid into my adult years, and this MAN who claimed to be repulsed by sexism was telling me that I don’t comprehend sexism.

    Again, this is a guy I was agreeing with, but he was mighty ticked I was not showing as much hostility against Politician X as he was.

    There is no pleasing super radical people who may also be off their rockers.

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  74. senecagriggs: Russell Moore: doesn’t believe in political salvation

    On second thought.

    Maybe I’m not recalling correctly, but didn’t Moore get into a lot of hot water a couple years back for writing very incendiary editorials against any Christian who may be supportive of a certain orange colored POTUS nominee?

    Let me check the google on that. Yes, here we are.

    “ERLC Defends Russell Moore, Who Apologizes for His Role in T. Divide”
    https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2017/march/erlc-defends-russell-moore-apology-sbc-trump-divide.html

    I don’t remember all the details in that dust-up, but I do remember it had something to do with Moore ending up being political by criticizing and insulting the political choices or behaviors of other Christians.

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  75. Daisy: It seems that when many people get fed up with the conservative Christianity they were raised in, they go full on reverse and run into far left wing stuff instead, which tends to make them view any and all who don’t walk lockstep with lefty ideals as being the enemy.

    Communism begets Objectivism.

    One-Eighty Opposite on the surface, identical Toxic Righteousness and Furious Zeal.

    I don’t usually see ex-Christians who turn moderate or stay conservative in other areas.

    Fundamentalism and Extremism are states of mind that can attach to any object of worship.

    CHARLIE BROWN: What do you want to be when you grow up?
    LINUS: A fanatic.
    CHARLIE BROWN: Uhh… Have you decided what you’re going to be fanatical about?
    LINUS: No… I think I’ll just be a wishy-washy fanatic.

    Some of them seem to reject one deity (God of the Bible) for a substitute deity (government / politics).

    The USSR was not the only one to make their political system into their State Religion.
    The guys you describe just did it on the Individual level instead of the Collective.

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  76. Daisy: I can only speculate as to why any one can read the Gospels and walk away actually thinking Jesus was political, when he had to stay away from political schemes and alliances that the factions in his day were trying to get him to join or align him with.

    Isn’t that one of the takeaways from Monty Python’s Life of Brian?
    (Other than the main theme of how humans can almost perversely misunderstand and screw up even the best of things…)

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  77. Headless Unicorn Guy: Fundamentalism and Extremism are states of mind that can attach to any object of worship.

    Yep, that sure is so, but the lefty themed Christian recovery blogs and sites I’ve been too refuse to see this.

    I’m very in the middle. I’ve shifted from being somewhat far right-ish to be way more moderate righty. I left the GOP a few years ago (I have no political party).

    And I’ve been questioning the Christian faith the last few years, so I’m not 100% on anyone’s side.

    And while the lefty sites I visit can easily spot hypocrisy, double standards, and bad behavior (which they delight in pointing out) in conservative Christians or politicians, they never spot it in themselves, though I see it on display in their sites all the time.

    And boy do they get bent out of shape with me any time I’ve tried pointing out they’re really not a big improvement over the GOPers and Christian conservatives they love to bash.

    Because I’m neither Dem or GOP, questioning the faith, and quite moderate, I tend to see these blind spots in groups of people when I visit their sites / blogs.

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  78. SiteSeer,

    Well, the trial of the bitter waters (Numbers 5:11-31) can potentially be seen as a reference to a forced abortion (‘thigh’ as referred to in this passage could refer to placenta/fetus/etc), and this is something that’s literally caused by God’s magical intervention. Regarding the other things, this is the problem with trying to use the Bible as a moral code. You’ve got a deity who takes the time to make rules about not eating shellfish, not wearing mixed fabrics, just exactly how men should shave or not, etc. – but he can’t be bothered to say, “Don’t beat your kids”. And where rape is mentioned, there’s clear provision that if it happens out of earshot, the victim should be married to the rapist. There are clear directions in the Bible *from God* telling the Jews to murder entire populations, with specific directions to include infants, children, men and women, etc. So we can’t just say, “God wants us to love one another”, because there are clear messages that are completely incompatible with that. One dodge is to get past that by saying, “Well, we don’t need to worry about what the Old Testament says, because Jesus made it all better in the New Testament with his message of universal love.” But standard basic christian theology is that Jesus and God are one and the same. So did God just become less of a jerk in the span of a couple thousand years, or what? I suggest that this God character is perhaps made up by people with active imaginations, rather than the eternal all-powerful, all-knowing, all-benevolent creator of the universe.

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  79. Sòpwith: These four documents, the finest “expression of the American mind”, are still as relevant as the day they were authored.

    Yet, few there are today who can quote the contents of these profound documents…

    I’m convinced that there is a movement underway to erase America’s past. Millennials know very little of the documents you cite, let alone have their content memorized. By indoctrinating the minds of America’s youth to think of America’s past as bad, the cultural and historical bonds that have held our nation together will be removed in one generation.

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  80. Rich,

    It doesn’t matter what He said or didn’t say, you wouldn’t listen to it anyway. Just what is your purpose for regurgitating tired old atheist arguments here?

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  81. Max: I’m convinced that there is a movement underway to erase America’s past. Millennials know very little of the documents you cite, let alone have their content memorized. By indoctrinating the minds of America’s youth to think of America’s past as bad, the cultural and historical bonds that have held our nation together will be removed in one generation.

    A fictional example, from George Orwell’s novel-length political cartoon:

    COMRADE O’BRIAN, INNER PARTY: There is a Party slogan about the past. RECITE!
    6079 SMITH W, OUTER PARTY: Whoever controls the Past controls the Future; Whoever controls the Present controls the Past.
    COMRADE O’BRIAN, INNER PARTY: And where does the past exist?
    6079 SMITH W, OUTER PARTY: In records, and in the minds of men.
    COMRADE O’BRIAN, INNER PARTY: And We, The Party, control all records. We, The Party, control all minds and memories. Thus We, The Party, control the Past, and in doing so We, The Party, Control The Future. LONG LIVE BIG BROTHER!

    And a RL example:

    The Wrecknovation of Mecca, where (except for the Kaaba and Great Mosque) the Wahabi systematically destroy any historical place or artifact connected with Mohammed or his time. In doing so to “prevent idolatry”, they destroy their own faith’s historical trace, turning their Holy Koran into just another mythology with no connection to current reality, just another set of mythic tales from “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.”

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  82. ishy: I’m so tired of extremes. Extreme churches. Extreme theology. Extreme politics. Extreme news. Extreme arguments with people close to me.

    “Insanity is part of these times! You must learn to EMBRACE THE MADNESS!”
    — Ambassador Londo Mollari, Babylon-5

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  83. Rich,

    These are real questions that lots of Christians won’t face honestly. I think the way people like Pete Enns and Richard Rohr deal with the issues of divine violence in a thoughtful way that takes the issues seriously and helps Christians find a way forward. Your mileage may vary, but I’ve found it helpful

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  84. This is an excellent post. It does 2 things very well.

    1 – It describes Jesus’s ministry and attitude. In my view, what you have stated is the correct view.

    2 – It describes your calling. I agree with and support your calling. And you should stick to it.

    We all should recognize that other Christians may feel they have a different calling in life. That may include addresses political issues or working in politics.

    So long as we don’t try and attribute too much to Jesus, I believe there is a lot of room for disagreement over the best way to approach issues and apply Christian truth to those issues.

    But it is wrong to attach our proposed solutions to Jesus personally and his ministry.

    Let us discuss the issues using not only truth from scripture, but also human wisdom that has been gained in the last 2000 years.

    To use a couple of examples 1- Slavery. Neither Jesus nor the Apostles addressed this issue. But I feel very strongly that it is morally wrong to enslave people. I would even be surprised if there is a “pro-slavery” side in modern lift.

    2 – Dictatorships – either Communist or Monarchs. Neither Jesus nor the Apostles addressed this. They lived in the time of the Roman Empire. There was an Emperor and a Senate.

    But we have learned in 2000 years that its good for people to have self determination and not for the State to own and control their lives. I don’t appeal to Jesus on this point. But I do believe it is a moral position to take and I believe it results in freedom and flourishing of humanity.

    These are 2 simple examples, not fleshed out that well, but hopefully will illustrate.

    Point is that Christians are free to make their cases in public square about governance. But they should be careful about enlisting Jesus. And each person should follow their own calling. Not everyone is called to do the same thing.

    Finally, I reserve that there may come a day in any society where the political choices are so stark that it will not be possible to have multiple positions that can be ethically held by Christians. For example, the platform of a politician or party might include shutting down religious expression and confiscating the property of churches. If that, or something like that happened, I will be writing a different comment.

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  85. Rich: So did God just become less of a jerk in the span of a couple thousand years, or what?

    These are really good questions, and Ricco is right, most today won’t face them honestly. There are scholars who grapple with these issues honestly. I like the work of Dr. John Walton, and Greg Boyd.

    My view is that much of the OT was incremental. God was trying to move some very primitive people in the right direction, morally, but gradually. And there are lots of elements of ancient Hebrew language that we don’t fully understand… Figures of speech, certain words, even entire phrases. Reality, as usual, is complex.

    I fully support the “no politics” stance of this site. Personally, I avoid all mentions of religion and politics on my social media feeds. For me, social media is casual only, photos of pets and funny cartoons, model trains and excellent photography. Get political, or start slinging Bible verses mindlessly, and I will block you.

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  86. Dee and Deb would have to clone themselves multiple times over in order to be able to add politicians to their work. Their hands are quite full enough.

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  87. Thank you very much for the post, Dee. I obviously agree. I firmly believe from the entirety of the gospels and the epistles, Jesus wants us personally in action with people. That’s what will change and has changed the world. I think the old Moral Majority expected government to make people be Christians for them, and NeoCals are doing the same thing with their newfound political viewpoints.

    I remember an article on Patheos about Mars Hill Church’s approach to “church discipline” on Patheos. In one little sentence, the author suggested that Rush Limbaugh or Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker would be deserving of Driscoll-style church discipline. How is that a necessary thing to say? I think it’s absurd! When I had the questions I had and found this blog four years ago, this was the one that didn’t seem to be trying score points for its particular views on doctrine and/or politics. I think that’s it’s strength.

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  88. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    Every time a nation builds a wall, they end up shooting people who try to cross it, whether trying to get in or out. Is that really what people want in America? Just who decided that you ‘belong’ to the plot of earth on which you were born, and do not have the ‘right’ to go elsewhere if you wish?

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  89. Daisy: Because I’m neither Dem or GOP, questioning the faith, and quite moderate, I tend to see these blind spots in groups of people when I visit their sites / blogs.

    Yep, and get jumped on for being one of ‘the enemy’. Try and insist you are on no side, and you will find it is simply not allowed. Independent thinkers are threats to all ideologues.

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  90. TS00: Independent thinkers are threats to all ideologues.

    Ya’ damn straight we are!
    Religious, secular, ideologues of any stripe, it makes no difference.

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  91. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    RL anecdote:
    The reference to a “blind black Lesbian in a wheelchair” came from when my old DM was working a temp job with the 1990 or 2000 Census. One of his co-workers there was — a blind black Lesbian in a wheelchair. She had a sense of humor about the whole thing — “Just call me ‘Quota’.”

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  92. TS00: Headless Unicorn Guy,
    Every time a nation builds a wall, they end up shooting people who try to cross it, whether trying to get in or out. Is that really what people want in America?

    “I Got Mine,
    I Got Mine,
    The world’s the Way It’s Meant to Be,
    I Got Mine…

    “I Got Mine,
    I Got Mine,
    I DON’T WANT A THING TO CHANGE
    NOW THAT I GOT MINE!”
    — Glenn Frey, “I Got Mine””

    A month or two ago, I was over at Eagle’s blog counter-trolling his regular Troll. Troll was bragging about his really well-paying job in today’s booming economy, with Praise and Thanksgiving to Donald Trump. So I counter-trolled him with the above lyrics from a Glenn Frey song.

    And he exploded back at me about how Glenn Frey was now DEAD and (by inference) Burning in Hell.

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  93. TS00: Just who decided that you ‘belong’ to the plot of earth on which you were born, and do not have the ‘right’ to go elsewhere if you wish?

    Normally, this is decided by the government of country you are a citizen of and the government of the country you want to enter. If you are a US citizen, try going to another country without a passport and see what happens.

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  94. Ken P.,

    Exactly. Who decided, and when, what were the ‘official, orthodox’ nations, boundaries and governments, to which the masses owe their allegience? We enter into this world and just accept what we are told, believe ‘official story’ as history, and live as if we have no options but to accept the world as we are told it is, or whatever it ‘just happens’ to become.

    Thankfully, we in America live in a ‘democracy’ and we all choose and approve of the laws, taxes and decisions of our lawmakers and judges. Circuses and all. Don’t worry, one more election will fix everything.

    It just reminds me a bit of the institutional church. Of course, there is no orchestration involved. There is no one behind the curtain. It does seen curious, however, that about the time a new power arises, the old ones just happen to self destruct.

    One wonders what we will have when these things we call ‘democracy’ and ‘church’ finish self-destructing.

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  95. Stan: That’s what will change and has changed the world. I think the old Moral Majority expected government to make people be Christians for them, and NeoCals are doing the same thing with their newfound political viewpoints.

    Just as Islamic Republics not only expect but MAKE government make people be devout Muslims?

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  96. Dee, i truly appreciate what you’re trying to do. However, for me, there are too many extremely concerning things going on right now that i *do* think Jesus spoke to: human rights abuses of all kinds. I have no doubt that these things concern you deeply as well.

    But the arena in which these abuses have to be addressed is primarily social and political. This is something that the leaders of the Civil Rights movement (who were all widely reviled in their time; many died as a result of what they were trying to accomplish) knew very well. Yes, the movement had its roots in black churches, but not there alone. There is a long history of activism on behalf of justice and mercy for the poor, the oppressed, the abandoned (like the interned childrrn separated from thrir parents by force) in both the UK and the US. Think abolitionism for starters – as in, abolition of the slave trade as well as the abolition of chattel slavery itself.

    We are living in very perilous times, as I’m also certain you’d agree. I wish things were far less polarized than they are. But in order to change that, i think that social and political change is necessary.

    I’m not trying to undermine what you’ve said, only to let you know why I’ve been less engaged here. I’ve been overwhelmed at times over the past 2 and 1/2+ years, especially by the way in which overt racism, antisemitism and other Isms are seemingly acceptable and approved by far too many who claim to be Christian.

    So, i find myself being worn down by all of that, to the point that engaging here is just more than i can handle. As for the recent confirmation hearings well… very triggering and deeply concerning and [hash tag omitted only b/c i don’t want to go off on a tangent, but you can guess].

    If we are able to truly listen to others, we can learn much. I have learned much from you, not least about having compassion for others who are suffering. You have a very big heart.

    I’m glad you do what you do, though i honestly wonder *how* you do it, especially on days like the one you describe. Unfortunately, Twitter is too often misused, and I’m sorry you were a target of that. 140 characters doesn’t allow for reasoned discussion.

    Much love to all of you – n.

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