Thursday, January 13, 2011

Gandhi, Obama, and the Body of Christ

While it will most likely be January 13 when this is published, it is currently January 12 at the time of writing. Normally not a notable detail, however what I am writing about this evening entails events which occurred on January 12...2011 and 1948.  At least, those events will be the jumping off point. (Stuff happened on some other days, too, but, you know...whatever) We'll see where this ends up.

(Um, that being said, it should be made known that pretty much everything on this blog is a rough draft. I don't really edit or revise much. One of my main points in keeping this blog is simply to get myself generating material, keeping my writing brushed up on and the creative juices flowing.)

On January 12, 1948 Gandhi began his "last successful fast" meant to persuade Muslim's and Hindu's in New Dehli to work with one another toward peace. Despite being Hindu, he seemed to get Jesus' meaning of loving folks and is even rumored to have read the Sermon on the Mount nearly every morning. 

On January 12, 2011, US President Barack Obama addressed the nation at the memorial of those whose lives were lost in Arizona this last Saturday. Obama said something that has been on my mind for quite some time. He said a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized; at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who happen to think differently than we do, it's important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.
Whatever your views of President Obama may be, and I know they are varied, and whatever sincerity or insincerity you attribute to this statement, I'm going to take that statement at face value and run with it. Not because President Obama said it, but because it is true. 

It was the word "polarized" that caught my attention, and it isn't solely to politics that I used that word in reference. It's true that polarization finds a fitting home in politics, and that issue crossed my mind. However, polarization has found it's way into the one place it has absolutely no right to be, and that is in the Christian Church; what is supposed to be the united Body of Christ. In fact, it seems because polarization is so at home in politics, it has been allowed to ooze into the Body. Rather than "separation of church and state" we are simply ending up with "Separation of Church." (Church. Capital C. The one meaning every single one of us in the whole entire world who have professed faith in Jesus Christ.) 

Both the United States of America and the United Body of Christ are nearing the point in which "United" could simply be stricken from their names. Democrat. Republican. Fox News. CNN. Red. Blue. Beck. Cooper. Conservative. Liberal. Catholic. Protestant. Evangelical. Emergent. I could go on. These are the labels that we allow to rule our lives and in turn separate us from one another. So many of us are convinced that the other guy has it all wrong, when, whoa! Reality Check...
Wasn't that the point of needing a savior anyway? "For all have sinned..." Emphasis word "all." I'm sick of being in the middle of friends and family consistently bashing the other side. Through the course of conversations, had I taken what was being said and applied it to people I know personally,  I've heard my friends and loved ones be called "communists, bastards, assholes, naive, tree-huggers, biased, bigoted, uneducated, bible-thumpers, destined for hell, narrow-minded..." Well, you get the idea. And yeah, I've heard those pseudonym's come from professing Christians as well as professing atheists and humanists. I've been known to use a few of them myself, I suppose. 

I don't know. I wasn't there when he said it, but I'm pretty sure that's not what Christ meant when he said both "love your neighbor" and "love your enemy." 

So...I don't know where to go from here. People are set in their ways and will continue to watch one news channel over another, claiming the other is biased. Liberals will be liberals. Conservatives conservatives. Writing this has lead me to despair, the hope for unity perhaps too far to be grasped. It seems so simple to just say "get over it, love each other." I pray that our words as Christians become words of healing, no longer of wounding, for more often than not, it's only ourselves that we maim. I'm not really sure why that's hard. Are we that threatened by people who think differently than us that we either curse them or avoid them? Is there a place for conversation between two sides without one side getting offended or the other side getting riled?


I guess it's probably at the foot of the Cross.
But, I don't spend very much time there. 
Maybe we can all meet there? In humility? Political and Religious agendas aside? And find commonality in our human-ness and just love and be loved by a savior? 

But, how do we do that, in a real life setting? If you have any ideas of how we can take this polarization thing and send it packing to the darkest pits of hell and instead, work on this unity thing, either as Christians or Americans, (no, they don't go hand in hand) your suggestions are more than appreciated. Frankly, I'm at a loss. Idealism occasionally gets the best of me.

1 comment:

  1. You are a kind hearted loving person dealing with a lot of spiritual warfare. What you write is true. We should all do as Jesus commanded us to do. However, Satan reigns over this earth for a time and "human" nature prevails no matter how hard we try. The closer we get to the end times the more evil and lover's of self people will become. Won't Heaven be glorious! All present will finally be the true body of Christ worshiping him all the days and nights.