Hello reader, thanks for clicking the link that brought you here. My little blog usually is devoted to some little software development snippet that might help out a fellow developer. I am a developer by trade, but a Christian by calling. There are many people who are far more eloquent with words when it comes to matters of faith (I’m remember that I was at best a B student when it came to English in school) , so I usually leave the words to them. However, something has been bothering me for years, and it has finally gotten to the point that I felt the need to commit it to words and digital bits, and let it float out there into the ether[net].
I reside in a country that primarily has two political parties, that are conveniently represented by two primary colors: Red and Blue. For the colorblind, or those who live elsewhere, the Red representes the Republicans (the party that President Trump belongs to), and the Blue represents the Democrats (the party of President Obama). The vast majority of the voting population is nearly evenly split between these two.
This morning as I was doing my quick Facebook scan before starting work, I noticed someone making a “Vague”book post in support of the person they had voted for. Yesterday the House of Representatives voted along party lines to impeach the president for his abuse of power and for obstruction of congress. This person on Facebook is a fan of the Red Team, and wanted to show their support of the Red Guy, but for some reason didn’t want to be too overt about it.
I almost chimed in to the discussion. I did not agree with the assertion the person was trying to make. Maybe, like a 0.001% chance maybe, I could start the day off by convincing someone on the Internet that they were wrong – that their politics were wrong. But since about the time I graduated college, I’ve had this little voice that reminded me how foolish that would have been.
My younger years were deep in Red territory. Fans of the Red Team were all around – family, school, church. Nobody questioned the people in charge of the team, and at least when I was younger, the team leaders seemed to have reasonable ideas. One thing was certain though – the people on the Blue Team, they were bad. They were the enemy. They stood for everything that the Red Team did not. Truth wasn’t black and white, it was Red and Blue.
If a Red Guy was in charge, well, he was ordained as God’s chosen (said to me as recently as 2017 “he is the Christian choice”), and anyone who spoke out against Red Guy needed to go read Romans 13 (someone relatively close to me quoted this as recently as two months ago). For those not familiar with the passage:
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.Romans 13:1-7, English Standard Version
But if the Blue Guy made it to the top, well, thats a different matter. We need to constantly disrespect them, be as sarcastic as possible when talking about them, and point out how bad of a person they (or their spouse) are.
Scrolling back through Facebook, looking at people of faith’s posts, especially some who were leaders in the churches I have attended over 30+ years, it’s amazing how their tone changed when speaking about this country’s leaders as the nation swung from Red to Blue and back to Red. Thankfully not everyone who was in a leadership position was that way (or at least did not commit their thoughts to the digital record).
That Little Voice saying “Does it matter?”
As I was finishing up college, I had started a long distant relationship with the woman who eventually became my wife. I would visit her on some weekends, and sometimes she would come visit me. These visits and my subsequent move to be close to her were during the 2005 lead-up to the 2006 midterms, which saw the Blue Team overtake the Red Team in multiple arenas.
In the college-aged class at the church we were attending, the teacher, Jeff, made a very good point that has stuck with me since then. It doesn’t matter if you support the Democrats or the Republicans. If you are supporting either one, while trying to evangelize to anyone else, you end up losing almost half of your audience. Your vocal support (or social media history support) of a political party may become a stumbling block to someone who needs to hear the Gospel.
In an article I read recently, there was discussion about how changing someone’s mind about a political topic. That article referenced a study where participants (who were self-described “liberals”) who had strongly held political beliefs (examples included such as abortion, gay marriage, immigration, death penalty, military, and gun control) were put through a brain scan, and their beliefs on various topics were challenged. A similar study had been done on religious views. The comparison that was made is that the areas of the brain that are activated when one’s political views are challenged, are the same areas that are activated when someones religious beliefs (including non-belief) are challenged.
If this is true – if trying to change someone’s deeply held political views activates the same parts of the brain as views about one’s eternal destination, and knowing how hard it is to convince someone to change their political views, why do we try to do both? And why in that order?
Or, put a different way, why do we spend so much time trying to change their politics (or defend ours) instead of something that matters infinitely more?
Red, Blue, Yellow, Green. Does it really matter who we live under while occupying our earthly home? Aren’t we really supposed to respect them regardless?
Do those of us who believe need to go through this impeachment and coming election year plastering our walls and feeds with memes supporting our pick for team leader?
If we win someone to our political side but not save their soul, was the effort worth it?