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My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less…

   

The Littlest Voter, originally uploaded by Orin Optiglot.

These past few weeks, based on news articles, commentaries, TV commercials, blog posts and stuff posted on Facebook and Twitter, that song could’ve been finished with the words, “than whom is voted President.” And that is from both sides of the political spectrum. I heard and read Christians who held up either McCain or Obama as THE biblical choice. I always am concerned when people starting saying something is “biblical.” It infers that if you don’t agree with them, then you are heretical. (But that is another topic.)

As I watched the election results on Tuesday, I saw footage of children who were rooting for McCain or Obama as if they were rooting for their favourite sports team. I guess you could say that it is great that children are learning to get excited about the political process. I’m all for that. My concern, though, is are we really teaching them that, or are we simply indoctrinating them into a certain way of political thinking. We spend more time teaching our children more about our biases rather than the thought process that led us to choose the candidate we voted for.

In all the back-and-forth that I witnessed, I saw more adults regurgitating party lines rather than engaging in respectful conversations to share ideas and learn from each other. Yes, there were those who did that, but the vast majority of what I saw were simply attempts at attacking each candidates’ character and policies so that people would come to their political side. What does that teach our children?

While I think Christians need to be actively involved in the public arena and be passionate about the issues we think are important and the leaders whom we think will advance those issues, I do think that we need to do more than just persuade or push people to agree with our points of view. We need to enter into conversations with each other that build bridges and relationships with each other. We need to enter into debate humbly, ready to learn from those we disagree with just as much, if not more, than trying to get our point across. We need to learn to be able to respectfully agree to disagree with fellow Christians, even on topics that are very important to us and have lots of emotion attached to them. Most of all, we need to help our children learn to think for themselves; we need to help them learn how to learn… even from those who disagree with us. And, in the end, when our children grow and begin to do that, we need to learn to respect them when they sometimes come to different conclusions on how to best advance the Kingdom of God… even if it means they endorse the other political candidate.

It is our job as parents and ministers to help those kids we have the privilege of influencing to hear God’s voice and follow him. It’s not our job to hear God’s voice for them.

We need to make sure our children see that OUR hope IS in Christ in how we live ALL aspects of our lives.

For more thoughts on growing up in church and politics, read this great post by Don Miller.

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