Yeah, yeah, I know. Being lazy and re-running my latest Examiner post rather than coming up with something fresh. Sorry!
That said, there is a touch of purpose in my doing so tonight. Namely, the comparison between what I wrote yesterday as a highly partisan, self-involving blogger and today as a semi-detached writer for the Examiner. I’m curious as to your comparisons of the two.
Anyway, without further ado…
President Obama’s talk to schoolchildren an excellent teaching moment for evangelicals
The furor over President Barack Obama’s speech to schoolchildren today has reached such a fevered pitch a key element of the debate has been lost in the shuffle.
Namely, the speech itself.
Assuming Obama sticks to the text released yesterday by the White House — and it’s a very safe bet this will be the case — the speech is impeccable. It is a simple, straightforward call to personal accountability, reminding students of their obligation to this country. There is nothing in the speech that smacks of politics or gives even the slightest indication of policies or the philosophies behind them. Rather, it is a parental reminder. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, but don’t give me any excuses either. In and of itself, the only group that could possibly be displeased with the speech are students themselves, groaning at yet another adult telling them about their responsibilities and kindly but firmly cutting them no slack. (Further commentary on the speech available at the author’s personal blog.)
Far too often in evangelical circles, politics trumps Jesus the Prince of Peace when it ought to be the other way around. Every single time. Regardless of where one stands on the issues, politics cannot be allowed to color faith. Faith must always guide our political views. If our faith is the fundamental element upon which we build our lives, how can it be any other way? The obligation to follow Christ doesn’t end where your job or political affiliation begin.
What can believers take from the President’s talk to schoolchildren? There are several excellent teaching moments:
- Demonizing your opponent is never an option. If we believe what we say we believe, namely that Christ died for all and grace is freely available to anyone who believes in Him, accepting Him as their Lord and Savior, there is no excuse for treating political opponents as though they were surrendered to unpardonable sin. Certainly we should stand for what we believe; certainly we should actively oppose actions we believe are wrong. But let us do so not in a spirit of malice but rather with calm wisdom, using logic and reason supported with the truth. There is no justification for conducting ourselves in any other fashion.
- As Isaiah wrote, “‘Come now, let us reason together,’” says the LORD. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool (Isa. 1:18).’” Certainly it is vital to our interests and those of our fellow people to demand our government lead wisely. However, this in no way negates the value Jesus puts on every individual in government. The Spirit of the Lord is no respecter of street addresses, even 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C.
- Christ died for Barack Obama just as He died for Sarah Palin. And you. And me. For the same reason. Whatever the political and/or philosophical differences may be, remember this. For both Obama and Palin.
- With this in our minds and hearts, what justification is there for hating a political leader? What do we teach our children when we make our political differences a personal matter? That it’s acceptable to hate over politics? There is no justification for such behavior. None. Even if you disagree with every single everything a politician stands for, if nothing else respect the office they hold even while holding them accountable to the responsibilities given to them by holding said office.
- Throw out once and for all the “they started it” argument. We don’t accept it from our children. Why do we accept it from ourselves? Both left and right are guilty. And don’t bother with the “they’re more guilty than we are” nonsense either. Sin is sin. It doesn’t matter who started it. Stop it. Now.
We who believe have been given a marvelous opportunity by President Obama to demonstrate Christ’s love in action by being the better. His message to schoolchildren is sound. It’s the same message we tell our children. Now, let’s tell them something more.
By acting like adults with Christ in our lives.