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An Open Letter to Political Christians

Calling All ChristiansPolitical Christians (and any others) please help. Why is it that there is so much Obama bashing coming out of the mouths (and Facebook/Twitter pages) of Christians? I could understand well-reasoned arguments and helpful criticism filled with grace and truth. But that’s not what I see and hear. Rather, I see empty rhetoric, blatant name calling, distorted facts, and little worthy of our calling.

I understand culture and politics enough that this type of nonsense is unavoidable. However, it’s absolutely reprehensible from a Christian. And it’s incredibly upsetting because it does not glorify Jesus. Rather, it hurts His Church, and quite frankly, it’s demonic (Too harsh? Keep reading). I’m thankful to a friend who preached a great sermon on this. He pointed out how we are acting like James and John calling down fire on those who don’t agree with us.

This story of calling down fire is told by Luke (doctor/historian and companion of the apostle Paul). It’s not a parable. It’s a real event recording the live reaction of James and John when some folks in a Samaritan village disagreed with Jesus. Outraged, they asked Jesus if he wanted them to call down fire from heaven and destroy them. In other words, James and John wanted to bomb them, wipe them out, annihilate them, murder them. Why? Because they disagreed with Jesus’ mission.

What was Jesus’ response?

He rebuked them.

That is, Jesus used the same word he used to cast out demons. Why? Because they were acting demonic instead of holy.

Jesus didn’t condemn the Samaritans for their differing political views. He simply went to another village.

Christian brothers and sisters, this is one story of many in our scriptures. Let’s live a life worthy of the calling we have received. People are watching. Repent. Turn and follow the way of the cross. Let the world see Christ, and how beautiful He is.

Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson

A Samaritan Village Rejects Jesus (Luke 9:51… ESV)
When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him. But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them. And they went on to another village.

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Comments

  1. B.P. Sullo says:

    When I first read this article, I immediately wanted to comment. Then, I thought better of it. Then, Ted asked me to respond, (and one does not refuse Ted lightly).
    Why the ambivalence? Because I don’t like being exposed as a hypocrite.
    You see, I have very strong political opinions, and I have been “that guy” who gets fired up against a politician or an issue, and goes on a social media rant. Hey, when someone expresses a desire to take away my freedom, and half the population seems to agree, it gets under my skin. What can I say?
    What I can say is that there’s a difference between spreading truth to expose agendas and spreading lies to get other people on the hate-wagon. I’ve also been “that guy” who fact-checks inflammatory posts from others, and offers corrections. More than once, I’ve been responded to with statements like, “I don’t care If he actually said that or not; it’s how he thinks.” *blink* . . . *blink*
    Making up “facts” doesn’t convince people on the other side. It just pushes them farther away, supplying confirmation that the people on your side are crackpots. Those on your side get a mental reward for having the “right” opinion, and it pushes them farther away from the other side.
    Eventually, you end up where we are now: political trench warfare. The masses are dug in along parallel lines, ready to call down fire upon anyone who pops their head above ground level. Those who dare traverse the no-man’s land of reason are instantly targeted by both sides simultaneously, as both enemy and traitor.
    No-man’s Land is where we need to be though if we ever want things to change. I like this trench warfare analogy because it presents its own solution: The 1914 Christmas truce that spontaneously erupted along the Western Front during WWI, during which soldiers who had just been killing each other met on the battlefield to exchange gifts. Some think it takes a common enemy to bring rivals together. I think it takes a common good. Those soldiers recognized the humanity—the common Christianity—in their brothers on the other side of the barbed wire, and responded appropriately. Can we be that brave?

    • Ted Olson says:

      Thanks so much BP. I always appreciate your perspective. I seek it out because it makes me think, drives me deeper, stretches me. Glad to be your brother in Christ.

  2. B.P., I’ve been on the hate wagon, too, and my prayers consisted of words like, “Deliver us from these clowns…” Also (and this is more cordial, I suppose), “Deliver us from blind leaders of the blind.” Or course we ARE in a real mess, like never before, and more often than not it seems that the inmates are running the asylum.

    Having said all that, I’ve been led (through a couple of God dreams over the past few months) to soften my heart toward those I perceive to be “enemies.” I’ve never seen warfare on this level in all my years of living, but your analogy of the 1914 Christmas truce is something to be pondered deeply.

    Lord, as you prayed, so I now pray, “Make us one.” Help us to see our “enemies” as you see them. May we beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks, for your name sake. Amen.

  3. Spot on, Ted. I have been alternately disgusted, dismayed and outraged by the rhetoric and appalling lack of courtesy and respect from both sides. The sharing of intentionally inflammatory cartoons and commentary does not enlighten nor cause anyone to think differently – except perhaps of the person who posted it. This passage in Luke was the perfect response I’d been looking for.

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