I had a brief but engaging conversation the other day about the challenge of being a pastor and remaining apolitical. Essentially, the goal is to teach about Jesus and how to follow Him without encroaching on people’s political stances, since Christ followers line up across the political spectrum.
On its surface, I support this. Jesus did not spark a political uprising (although that threat was used to try to justify a need to kill Him), and I’ve written about the problem when Christians place their efforts into politics.
Unfortunately for that effort, it’s too late. We can’t try to live in a world where Christianity is apolitical because Christians have already made it political. To be honest, that’s been the case in America going back generations (e.g. using the Bible to support slavery), but it’s played an even greater role in recent decades with the “Moral Majority” and similar movements.
Christianity has become so politicized that messages from the pulpit are (whether intentionally or not) interpreted as triggers to support or denigrate one side or the other. This often happens with comparisons of how we “should stand out from the world.” That statement is absolutely true and aligns with the words of Jesus, and pastors usually include a few examples in that statement. The problem is that they often include the ones that pretty much every “Christian” will agree with while leaving out any that the audience might find controversial (regardless of Jesus’ words and actions on the subject).Continue reading