Politically speaking, I lean towards the left and self-identify as a Democrat. Most of the reason I identify with this political party is because of my Christian upbringing. Growing up attending Catholic schools, I was taught that Jesus loves everyone and that God shows grace and forgiveness to those who ask Him for it (and even to those who don’t ask as God’s love is unconditional). These are values that I have taken into my adult life and values I plan to raise my children with.
But Christianity stretches through the entire political spectrum. This is a statement that has bothering me quite a lot lately as I have felt that many of the things happening in Congress, both on the Republican and Democrat side, are not real representations of Christians. Between the House and Senate, 92% of our Congress members identify as Christian. However, the support for specific bills and legislation does not always reflect our Christian teachings. I encourage you all to reflect about what your definition of being a Christian is and how you reflect this definition in your everyday life. Here are a few thoughts and questions I have to get you started:
- Many LGBT+ people have been hurt by the church’s teachings in the past with homophobic and transphobic remarks coming from the pulpit. How do Christians begin reconciling this? As Christians, are we called by Jesus to apologize for these hateful teachings?
- Speaking of apologizing, what is Christian’s calling in regards to Trump’s executive order to ban people from predominately Muslim countries?
- Another question in relation to apologizing: As Christians, Jesus tells us that we need to repent and ask for forgiveness. How do we ask for forgiveness for the church hurting others who don’t identify like us? Who should be asking for forgiveness—should it be the people who inflicted the harm or all people who identify as Christians?
- How do Christians, as a whole, become less judgmental and how do we learn to take our judgement and turn it into unconditional love?
- A familiar Methodist phrase is “open hearts, open minds, open doors.” As Methodists, how do we practice this phrase? How do we show others that we are truly “open mind[ed]”?
Some Bible verses that really helped me answer these tough questions:
- John 13:35, By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another
- 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
- Luke 18:19, “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.
- Acts 10:34, Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism