By Shannon Blosser, Special Contributor…
The United States is a polarized country. Everything is clouded by the win-loss arguments of politics. For instance, the recent Supreme Court ruling regarding the Affordable Healthcare Act was seen not as a constitutional exercise of judgment, but a game of politics of who won and who lost.
Sadly, too many Christians are willing participants in this culture. We want to be defined by being a liberal or conservative. This is so much the case that we will only attend a church if it is a “proper” reflection of our political leanings. The moment we believe a church is too liberal or too conservative, we are out the door.This isn’t new. A quick look through the church’s history in America will find that Christians have been too willing to align the message of the cross with the message of one’s favorite political view. Pastors during the Revolutionary War period claimed America was the joyous example of freedom. During the Civil War, pastors from North and South preached that God was fighting for their side.
Several things happen when we are more defined by politics than the cross, especially as leaders in the church.
We limit our influence. We may believe people see us as a messenger of the gospel, but we lose that voice when we are too defined by conservative or liberal views. Instead, we become seen as a representative of the political parties wrapped in Christianity. This hinders the message of the gospel and makes us, as Paul says in Philippians 3:18, enemies of the cross.
We end up speaking on things we do not understand. Pastors should speak on social issues, but we must be educated about them first. When we don’t understand an issue, we are more susceptible to being influenced by outside voices who seek to define what we say and how we influence our communities.
We end up making disciples of partisan politics instead of Jesus Christ. When we in the church are too focused on our favorite political party, we fail in our call to make disciples of Jesus Christ. The disciples we end up making are representatives of whatever party we adhere to. This is dangerous, because the gospel challenges the practices and thoughts of both the left and the right.
As we move further into this election cycle, let us be careful about our witness and ask ourselves: Am I more defined by being a liberal or conservative than I am by being a follower of Christ?
Mr. Blosser is pastor of Mackville UMC and Antioch UMC in Washington and Boyle counties in Kentucky. He is a candidate for ordained ministry in the Kentucky Conference.