My Takeaways from the Wild and Wacky World of Politics

I normally don’t get into too much political speculation on these blog posts, but I feel like this one is just about dying to get out. Here are some of my takeaways from what I’ve seen of the political world lately:

  1. When it comes to the media, I follow the old X-Files mantra– “Trust no one.” I think these days, the media indoctrinates more than it informs and I feel like facts and the truth often lose out to biases, agendas, and spin. As an actor put it, if you don’t read (and watch) the news, you’re uninformed. If you do, then you’re misinformed.
  2. I still believe that if you’re not an Independent by now, you’re either 1) not paying close enough attention, 2) still drinking either the red or the blue kool aid, or 3) ignorant of the fact that both parties kowtow the knee to the interests of lobbyists and special interest groups and no longer represent the American people.
  3. We’re all in this boat together. Red and yellow, black, and white, as the song goes, are all precious in God’s sight. White supremacy is a doctrine straight from the pit of hell, and no one who claims to follow Jesus (who was not white) can in the same breath condemn anyone else on the basis of their gender or ethnicity or background.
  4. That love your enemies thing? Yeah, Jesus really meant that. It’s easy to love those who love you back, who are on your side politically. It’s easy to fall into self-righteousness when condemning the other side (anyone who disagrees with you) as imbecilic and evil. But those who follow Jesus heed His words to love your enemies and pray for those who actively persecute you (which meant those Romans who were pretty much bad guys on an epic scale).
  5. I’m still looking for kindness and grace from either side in the political arena and finding it way less common than arrogance, sanctimoniousness, and that self-righteous smugness that is convinced that anyone who has even the tiniest amount of heart and brains will be on your side. A smidge of humility would go a long way in this dialogue.
  6. Ultimately, I know that the problems of this nation aren’t political or social or racial or anything other than spiritual. As I heard it put once, it’s not a skin problem nearly as much as it is a sin problem, and we’re all sinners in need of the grace of God.

Another Rare Political Post

I can’t tell you how tired I am over political posts on social media, specifically the ones that are always bashing a particular person or party and come across as very self-righteous and holier-than-thou.

More specifically, I mean all the anti-Trump posts.

First of all, let me state in no uncertain terms that I am not a fan of President Trump. I think he definitely needs to govern more and tweet less. He comes across as a bit cartoony and ridiculous on more than a few occasions.

That said, I don’t like how people who profess faith in Jesus can turn around and post how much they hate him and wish him harm. That has no place coming from the mouth of one of Abba’s children.

I do believe that Jesus told us to love and pray for our enemies. I also believe He didn’t qualify that statement. We don’t get to pick and choose which enemies we want to love. Jesus doesn’t give us the option for disobedience simply because it makes us uncomfortable or we don’t like it.

This is my suggestion. Perhaps instead of bashing the current President, try praying for him instead. Try remembering that you were once an enemy of God, yet God in Jesus sought you out and redeemed you.

I don’t mean that you have to love everything Trump does. Far from it. You can speak your mind. But maybe do twice as much praying as you do speaking out.

I also wish that all the people who were so adamantly opposed to President Obama would have spent a lot more time praying for him and a lot less time posting criticisms.

Again, in case you missed the point of all this. Pray. Pray all the time. Pray for the people you like AND the people you don’t. Pray for those in leadership, EVEN if they are with that dreaded evil political party that you despise.

That loving and praying for your enemies thing? Yeah, it’s not optional.


A Quick Thought Before Bed

I had a thought. It’s completely unoriginal and by no means profound, but I think it’s something we all could do well to remember in these days ahead.

Prayer still works.

When you’re tempted to talk about somebody negatively, try praying for that person instead. That goes for political leaders, too.

I heard something recently that struck a chord with me. Instead of so much speaking out against the President, maybe we should try praying for him instead. That’s true whether we have an Obama or a Trump in the Oval Office.

None of us knows all the facts, but God does. None of us knows the best possible solution, but God does. None of us has the power to effect change in our circumstances and in the lives of others, but God can and God does all the time.

So pray a lot and gossip a whole lot less. Pray more and criticize less.

That’s it for tonight.


Sharing Your Faith

I met a friend of mine at the Well for coffee this afternoon. In the midst of our conversation, he mentioned that his PC virus scan picked up some spyware that was slowing down his computer.

Without even meaning to, I went into full-on proselytizing mode for Macs. I talked about how my MacBook Pro didn’t have all those annoying popups that most PCs seem to have after time, how I never got viruses, how much faster it was, etc.

On my way home, a question dawned on me– why couldn’t I be as passionate and articulate about my faith? Why am I so often silent when it comes to sharing my faith and what I believe?

I honestly believe that people automatically talk about what excites and motivates them. It could be sports, politics, music, philosophy, or any number of other topics and interests.

Maybe the reason I haven’t been passionate about sharing my own faith is that its become more of a checklist than a Love Affair. It’s become more of a religion (in the sense of man-made traditions and rules) than a relationship with my Creator and Redeemer.

I’m not trying to beat myself up or throw the ultimate self-pity party. I’m just being honest in hope that someone else out there recognizes what I’m feeling and knows they aren’t alone in this.

You really don’t have to be taught evangelism because you will share what you’re excited about. You will talk about what you obsess and dream about the most. So what does that say about how I prioritize my faith? What does that say about how much I really believe how much the God of the Universe loves me and cares for me?

Again the key isn’t beating yourself up but recognizing when you get off track, repenting, and giving yourself grace for not being perfect. It’s about realizing that you’re not who you were yesterday or who you will become tomorrow.


In Response to All the Nonsense on Social media

“O God of every nation,
of every race and land,
redeem the whole creation
with your almighty hand;
where hate and fear divide us
and bitter threats are hurled,
in love and mercy guide us
and heal our strife-torn world” (William Watkins Reid, Jr.)

If you’ve been paying attention to social media, you know there’s a lot of hate and fear dividing this nation. It seems to me that both the hate and fear are bipartisan as both seem to exhibit both, but in different ways.

Some days, it feels like there will always be a divide running through the land. It seems like people will never cross the political aisle to at least try to see things from a different perspective.

Lately, there is no middle ground of any kind. The mantra is that “my side is 100% right and holy and just and righteous, and your side is 100% wrong, therefore you must not only be wrong but stupid and evil as well.”

This is where believers step in. Jesus calls us to be one as He and the Father are one. He doesn’t give us any loopholes. This isn’t optional.

It means praying for your enemies instead of bashing them on Facebook. It means loving them instead of publicly wishing them harm. Again, that goes for both sides.

Above all, it means realizing that as a believer in Christ, your ultimate allegiance isn’t to a political party or a platform. It’s not to an ideology. It’s to a King and a Kingdom that will last beyond all the kingdoms and republics of the world, including the one we’re currently living in.

Maybe instead of casting blame, it’s time to look in the mirror and start repenting of hateful attitudes and critical spirits. Maybe it’s time to start being the change we want to see in the world.

And that change starts with love.



One of the most disturbing trends is how quick people are to react on social media to news events without taking in all the facts. I completely agree with Denzel Washington’s statement that if you don’t read (and watch) the news, you’re uninformed, and if you do, then you’re misinformed.

That being said, I don’t have a position on the current refugee situation. I don’t know all the details and I don’t necessarily trust all the news reports and how much they decide to include or leave out.

I do know a few things that have been on my mind lately.

I do know that God has a special place in His heart for the poor, the orphan, and the widow. God blesses those who look after the least of these. It’s all over the Bible.

I also know that every refugee is someone’s daughter or son or brother or sister or mother or father. Every single one is a person that Jesus loves and for whom Jesus died.

I remember that the Bible says that one time I was an alien and a stranger to the promise of God’s kingdom, but now I who was far away have been brought near. I truly believe that no one should be denied hearing the gospel of Jesus because of where they were born or what ethnicity they are or what language they speak or the color of their skin.

I remember that God told His people that He desires mercy above sacrifice.

I know that refugees are human beings and not a statistic that we can shut off or deny. The Christlike response is never one of fear or alienation.

I see the Statue of Liberty and I see the part written about giving her the poor, the wretched, those longing to be free.

I’m sure that people on both sides of the issue have valid arguments. I just can’t get away from how the grace of God is not limited to certain races or nationalities or cultures or people groups. It’s for all. It’s for everywhere.

Take it however you want. I’m too tired at this point to make lucid applications at this point. Well, maybe one. If you were the least of these how would you want to be treated. Better yet, how did Jesus treat you when you were one of the least of these.

Then go and do the same.


Grace for Today

“My message, unchanged for more than fifty years, is this: God loves
you unconditionally, as you are and not as you should be, because
nobody is as they should be. It is the message of grace…A grace
that pays the eager beaver who works all day long the same wages
as the grinning drunk who shows up at ten till five…A grace that
hikes up the robe and runs breakneck toward the prodigal reeking
of sin and wraps him up and decides to throw a party no ifs, ands,
or buts…This grace is indiscriminate compassion. It works without
asking anything of us…Grace is sufficient even though we huff and
puff with all our might to try to find something or someone it cannot
cover. Grace is enough…Jesus is enough” (Brennan Manning, All Is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir)

I had a decent sort of day. Not fantastic. Not horrible. Just decent.

On days like these, I need the grace of God.

I’ve had days where everything goes wrong and I have two left feet and I can barely remember my own name.

On those days, I need the grace of God.

I’ve also had days where all the traffic lights were green and I got the coffee/creamer mix just right and I was in rare form at work.

On those days, I need the grace of God.

There’s not a day that will ever go by where I don’t need grace.

My advice for those of you reading this. You need grace every day, so give grace every day.

Social media these days is filled with vindictiveness and spiteful words, mostly along the lines of my side is right, therefore yours must be evil and wrong and stupid.

Buck the trend by showing and giving grace to everyone, even those on the other side of the political aisle who say things you don’t agree with.

Give grace because you may one day need it from someone else.

Give grace because you have already received it in abundance from the God of all Grace.

I love grace because it comes to me when I don’t deserve it and is always more than I expected and always leaves me better than when it found me.

That’s God’s way. That’s grace.


Looking in the Mirror

These days, I’m feeling a bit like that Tom Hanks character in the Spielberg move The Terminal. In essence, he’s a man without a country when the country he just left had a military coup and the United States won’t let him enter because of his own country’s uncertain status.

I don’t feel like I can endorse either the Republican or Democratic parties.

The Republicans and their zeal to build a wall and keep refugees out seem to have forgotten about Isaiah 58 where God’s idea of true worship involves taking care of the poor and needy, the least of these. I also seem to remember that quote on the Statue of Liberty about giving me your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.

The Democrats seem to be heaping a lot of venom and vileness onto President Trump. While I’m far from a fan of his, I have a really hard time trying to reconcile #lovetrumpshate with people talking about burning down the White House with him inside and other posts that are full of nothing but hatred toward the man.

So I choose to remain an independent.

It’s easy to cast blame about what’s wrong with America and the world in general. It’s very easy to point the finger at the other side and to proclaim loudly that “they” are the problem and whenever we can get rid of “them,” all our problems will magically go away.

It’s far more difficult to look in a mirror and to see part of the problem staring back at you. It’s harder to realize that we all as citizens of America and the world bear responsibility to do our part to make our country and our world a better place not just for us but for all.

You can choose to pray for the President, Congress, House of Representatives, Supreme Court, and all those in power at the federal, state, and local levels. You can choose to follow Jesus when he said to love your enemies (even the Trumps of the world) and to pray for those who persecute you and treat you badly. You can serve others in many ways by getting involved and volunteering at homeless shelters and other community ministries.

I believe the saying goes that for those who are busy making a difference, there’s not nearly as much time left to criticize and belittle others.

Ultimately, the reality is that only Jesus can change America and the world. Only the Love that laid down His life for His friends (and enemies) is stronger than the hate and fear that are so prevalent these days.



Make Every Effort

“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many” (Hebrews 12:14-15, NIV).

Living out your faith requires effort. You have to be intentional about striving for peace. We’re called to be peaceMAKERS who actively pursue peace and not those who passively accept it when it comes our way.

These days, peace means reaching across the aisle to those who think and feel (and vote) differently than you. It means learning to seek dialogue instead of demonizing anyone who disagrees with you. It means instead of always blaming “them” for what’s wrong with the world, looking in the mirror and realizing one of the biggest problems is staring back at you.

What are you doing to make your world better? How are you teaching your children to make a difference in their world? Is it teaching them to hate Republicans (or Democrats)? Or is it showing them how to learn to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute them?

I was reminded today that you might be far less eager to criticize someone’s journey if you only knew where they’ve come from or how far they’ve travelled. That was convicting.

It’s easy to bash someone’s views that run opposite to what you believe. It’s much harder (and much more rewarding) to seek common ground and understanding while loving them. It’s harder to live out the tension of loving people without condoning all of their behavior and beliefs.

Jesus died for everyone, not just for those who loved and followed Him. He died for the Pharisees and Sadducees who opposed Him at every turn. He died for the Roman soldiers who drove the nails into His hands and feet. His love led Him to forgive those who were in the very act of murdering Him.

That’s the standard of love we’re called to. That’s what we strive toward when we make every effort for peace. That’s what will ultimately conquer evil and hate.


Still Sick and Tired of Politics

Warning: this is one of my rare soapbox posts, so if you’re looking for posts about fluffy kittens or rainbows, this ain’t it.

Here it is. Jesus said to love your enemies. Period.

That includes people who voted for Donald Trump. That includes Donald Trump.

That includes people who voted for Hillary Clinton. That includes Hillary Clinton.

Jesus didn’t make it optional. Jesus didn’t put in an escape clause. There are not ifs or buts.

He said, “Love your enemies.”

He didn’t say that loving your enemies meant that you suddenly agree with everything they say and stand for.

He didn’t say that it meant you suddenly become best buddies and hang out together all the time and share bonbons.

He did say to love them.

Loving your enemies means not readily believing the absolute worst about them without even checking to see if it’s true or not.

Loving your enemies means not speaking hatefully about them and wishing them harm.

Loving your enemies means to love them like Jesus once loved us when we were His enemies. Jesus didn’t read us the riot act or shun us and write us off. He showed a kind of love that went to the uttermost extreme lengths to prove itself– even to death on a cross.

“For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (Romans 5:10, NIV).

I truly believe that there are decent people on both sides of the political spectrum. I refuse to believe that someone who acts, thinks, and votes differently than I is stupid or evil. I will never shame or belittle anyone who disagrees with me, no matter how far apart we are in values and beliefs.

This is the ultimate standard that we should all strive to follow in the power of the Holy Spirit: “I tell you this: love your enemies. Pray for those who torment you and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44, The Voice).