These are links to the two CBC pieces mentioned:
We live in times where it is easy to vilify those we disagree with. This goes for people or leaders who we disagree with. Think of how we read our newsfeed.
It is easy to think the worst of people who we disagree with. It’s easy to desire the worst; to want them to do poorly. But we’re not called to do the easy thing but the harder thing. Love for others is, in part, desiring the good for them. Even if you think they’re off base. Even if it feels as though you (or your “side”) has lost to them.
Consider this reaction to the election of a leader:
I didn’t vote for him but he’s my President, and I hope he does a good job.
—John Wayne (b. 1907) on the election of John F. Kennedy in 1960
And then consider this reaction:
I hope he fails.
—Rush Limbaugh (b. 1951) on the election of Barack Obama in 2008 (Source of quotes)
Which reaction shows most confidence, graciousness, courtesy, and maturity? Or to put it in more strictly theological terms… love? Love, after all, seeks the good of the other with no thought to pride of self. Love seeks all things. That kind of love is neither sentimental nor easy to accomplish in real time.
The harder thing is gracious and rises above pettiness. It seeks the common good and desires what is best – even for an idealogical opponent. In times like these, perhaps, we need this reminder more than ever.
Whoever has tasted the love of Christ, and has known, by his own experience, the need and the worth of redemption, is enabled, Yea, he is constrained, to love his fellow creatures. He loves them at first sight; and, if the providence of God commits a dispensation of the gospel, and care of souls to him, he will feel the warmest emotions of friendship and tenderness, while he beseeches them by the tender mercies of God, and even while he warns them by his terrors…
John Newton, The Works of the Rev. John Newton, vol. 5
A friend (also named Steve) has just returned from Iraq/Syria working on a documentary on the refugee crisis there.
I recommend watching and letting it fuel your prayers.
The late E. Stanley Jones (1884-1973) was a Methodist theologian and missionary. He often talked about 7 of what he called “capital sins”. These being foundational moral failures that eroded human life. (these aren’t intended to compete with the medieval 7 Deadly Sins – wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony – thanks to Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt for teaching those).
Jones’ list could also be titled: 7 ways to destroy society, as these sins erode the very foundations of justice and virtue she amongst us.
1.) Policies without Principles
2.) Wealth without work
3.) Pleasure without awareness
4.) Knowledge without character
5.) Business without morality
6.) Science without humanity
7.) Worship without sacrifice
What’s with the sign? Not the regular King’s Fellowship sign but the one below it in support of the Shoal Lake 1st Nation. A little of the background on the needs of this community can be found here, here, and here. (this is a local campaign/issue so if you’re not from Winnipeg it may not be of interest). Why did we, a local church seeking to worship God in our city, put up this sign?
We were asked. Steve Bell started the campaign and he asked so nicely for churches to get involved by putting up supportive signage. The campaign seems sufficiently non-partisan in tone for us to feel like we ought to jump onboard. Our congregation is certainly diverse in many ways but this local issue seems clearcut to most people. We get our water from this community. They can’t drink their own water. It’s time for that to change.
Christians should care about the public good. Evangelical Christianity focuses on personal relationship to God and that’s a great and necessary thing. Following Christ has often been portrayed as and reduced to being a good person or a set of social causes. We must resist that tendency. Nevertheless, we also must resist the opposite mistake and forget that our salvation in Christ, while personal, should also turn our eyes and hearts outward to seek the good of our neighbours. The prophet Jeremiah serves as an example. We must care about the surrounding culture, society, community, and pray for them and their good. Also, someone once said we should love our neighbours. Let’s assume he meant it. An implication will be that we care for the public good. Having neighbours without drinking water should bother us. Especially when our water supply is the cause of their problems.
We can be political without being partisan. Many Christians are wary of voicing concern about specific issues lest we be considered political. We are, in fact, called to be political – political in the sense of concern for the polis, the city in which we live. This is different than being partisan – in bed with political parties or with one spot on the political spectrum. If we go along with everything the people we vote for do or say, that’s probably not a good thing. Christians are called to many public concerns. We may be concerned for issues that are increasingly counter-cultural and unpopular with our neighbours (protection of the unborn, critique of contemporary views of gender/marriage/sex, concern over euthanasia/physician-assisted-death, and religious liberty). But there’s so much we should care about that our neighbours do as well. We gain credibility when we are also concerned with common causes; the less controversial issues where we may find common ground. The lack of accessibility and clean water for a vulnerable community for example. Peter even teaches how Christians are to be doing good even though we’re looked down on for other reasons. This is the balance to strike. It is important that we seek, as per Jeremiah and Jesus, the good of all even as we are called to go against the flow.
And a sign isn’t much but that’s why it’s up.