Pick an issue that divides people.
Let’s start with climate change. You probably have a position on this. You either believe that humans contribute to climate change or you don’t. You either think that we should do something, because the alternative is a disaster, or you think that the evidence is not in. You probably have bumper sticker worthy rhetorical lines handy in the event of a “discussion” of the issue in person or on line. You probably align with a political party and their stand on the issue. You listen to this party’s politicians and professionals and take in their arguments as your own. You might even see those on the other side of the issue as ignorant, wrong, or even dangerous to our way of living.
Now go through the same process with other issues that divide people – Immigration. Gun violence. LGBTQ+ rights. Money. Wealth. Poverty. Welfare. Homelessness. Health care. Racism. Taxes. Foreign policy. Minimum wage. Education. Criminal justice.
Let all of that sink in. How are you feeling right now? I imagine that you might feel like you are standing in a castle, with soldiers watching along the wall, looking for the potential assault that may be coming. I imagine you might feel defensive and ready for fight or flight. I imagine you are arming yourself for an intellectual fight over a topic that you haven’t studied yourself, but have heard things from people that you trust.
Too often we approach such issues with an all or none mentality. We quickly determine whether someone is with us or against us. There can’t possibly be another option. A or B. Republican or Democrat. Right or wrong. Two options and only two options.
But what if there was another option? Or many other options? What if we expanded our imagination to allow for other possibilities?
Missing in all the debates over any of these issues are other options.
For Christians and those that claim to follow Jesus, we are missing God. I’m not talking about using God as a weapon to shut the other side up. I’m not talking about ending with a God statement to show how God is on our side.
I’m talking about starting with God.
Pick an issue. Instead of asking how we have to fix it, or focusing on the fear of change, or what our trusted politicians have to say about the issue, what if we started with God?
What if we looked to God first and asked some of these questions – what’s God up to here? What does God have to say about this issue? How do we think that God wants this to turn out? What if we went to the bible first to start the conversation, rather than the end to prove our point?
I imagine the conversations would change. Let me correct that – I know the conversations would change.
It would change the issue significantly. It would change it from a partisan argument where there are winners and losers, to a discussion on what God is calling on us to do in order to live out the faith we claim to be given.
What do we think that God wants climate change to turn out? How about Gun violence. LGBTQ+ rights. Money. Wealth. Poverty. Welfare. Homelessness. Health care. Racism. Taxes. Foreign policy. Minimum wage. Education. Criminal justice. How do we think God wants all of these things to turn out? I imagine far differently than we currently imagine. I imagine far differently than we currently talk about these issues.
Given that, who’s willing to start looking at issues this way with me?