A few days ago, I got a comment on my last blog post. I have a lot of people who subscribe to my blog or find it on Facebook or Twitter and I have no idea who they are. The comment came from a person like that and I decided to respond to it publicly, because it was an honest question that made me pause. Here goes…
Mike I say, answer me this; please How does one ever come to a common ground with a racist, or someone who violates the law by illegally keeping brown children who are following our laws to apply for citizenship out of out of this country. A man who speaks of his sexual fetishes out loud including but not limited to his own children. A bully whose documented lies in the last 3 years are in the thousands. My position is a sane individual would speak out against him but yet the conservative Christian community for the most part supports him and I ask you Why?
First off, I will never have the opportunity to sit down over chips and salsa with Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, or Stephen Miller. Nor will the chips get passed between me and Nancy, Bernie, or Beto…even though we are obviously on a first-name basis. Hah! But I have had many opportunities to sit and break tortilla chips with their supporters…and my friends.
And that’s what I was talking about when I wrote my post. I suppose if I ever had a sit down with the President or with the Speaker of the House, I would like to think I would do the same thing I do with Marshall and Gary and David and Gayla and Judy and Chris. I would ask honest questions and I would listen carefully to their answers and do my best to understand not only what they believe about important issues, but why and how they have come to those beliefs.
That’s what I do. That’s who I am. That’s how I learn and grow and serve. That’s how I build friendships. That’s how a shepherd lives. It’s not perfect, but it’s how I fall asleep at night.
But I understand…talking directly and unfiltered with the very people who are intimately responsible for the wrongdoing you are reacting to is really, really different from having to interact or even walk side-by-side with someone who ideologically supports or defends the actions of the ones responsible. And it’s a BIG difference.
Btw…I am unapologetically pro-life. In every area of life. At all times. Because of that, it constantly puts me at odds with the leaders and predominant ideologies of both political parties. Big time odds. Welcome to my world.
You may think this is the chicken way out, but for me, finding common ground or pursuing genuine friendship with the source of evil is completely different from doing the same with someone who, because of their understanding, their life story, their fears, their hopes, or a dozen other factors, finds a plausible reason to support the thing you or I might call evil.
I will never get to hold the communion tray for Nancy Pelosi to take and drink her cup. I will never harmonize a great hymn of the faith with President Trump singing next to me. We will never share the same hospital room of suffering or a plate of potato salad at a church potluck. That’s what friends do. That’s what friends who disagree with each other do. That’s what friends who seek the kingdom of God with each other do.
Brother, I want you to know there are many people I passionately disagree with. Sometimes they are the source of what I believe are evil actions. Sometimes, they are the supporters and defenders of people and systems I believe are wrong and I am convinced their defense of those issues are not only mistaken, but they might very well be unjust, illegal, immoral, or even ungodly.
Sometimes I feel compelled to push back at friends and neighbors where I sense there is as much openness and respect to hear my side, as there is a willingness on my part to hear and respect theirs. Sometimes I don’t.
Sadly, that kind of civil discourse is pretty hard to find these days. But I’ll keep trying.
Why don’t I use my sermons, my teaching, and my writing to speak out against the political evil I see? Well that’s for another post.
Hope that helps.