Using this phrase as a title might evoke certain images for some of you who read, and I purposely used the phrase to create a feeling. I hear a lot of people, especially Christian leaders, talking about how people in ministry must deal with our culture. How many times do we hear about spiritual and cultural warfare from the point of view of Christianity. I am not discounting the idea or reality of spiritual warfare, or the idea that we have to offer an alternative to the mass culture we live in. BUT what I am saying is that maybe our slightly violent view of this may not be helping to further our cause.
As I see the church I see there are distinct factions we have the liberal/conservative divide in the church as well as in our politics. This is why I began to think about this today, election day. We have churches that believe are very far to one side or the other in the debate on any particular issue, and the voices from the fringes help to drown out the majority of the other voices. I wrote a while back about my time in Washington DC, and also about the “blame paradigm” that we live in. And while I meant for my conclusion to be a bit more wide reaching, I left that post with the view of only pertaining to politics.
I have things and people that I don’t agree with, and I freely admit having removed or hidden people on my facebook because their idea of political speech was mentally fatiguing to me. We all come to live with a particular point of view, all of the experiences in our lives contribute to our own particular view. But what I truly have to take issue with is when political speech goes from disagreements to how things are done or run, to personal attacks on candidates. This happens from both sides and from third parties so I do not believe that anyone is completely innocent here.
I have grown very tired of hearing a political ad that goes something like this, “Candidate A took my sister on a date in 1973, and never called her again. Why would you trust someone like that to represent you in congress.” How relevant is the political speech we hear on a daily basis? If you ask me, none of it. But where does this begin? I think it begins in our own houses. I think we need to stand up and let the candidates that we support know that we don’t want any more negative ads. We don’t want mud slinging, we want actual political discourse, and to not have it hidden in 45 seconds of dirt with 15 seconds of actual information.
This also has to apply to our own homes, we can’t let our personal issues with things color actually seeing something for what it is. How can we expect anything to change (which is the major claim of all political groups these days) if we cannot even sit in the same room and discuss. John Wesley would call this Holy Council or Holy Conversation, but I think it is more widely useful than just the church. We could also use this idea in our political discussions. Let us attempt to begin a new front line, not with attacks or mud slinging, but with conversation and checking ourselves at the door…