WHY I’M BECOMING MORE OUTSPOKEN IN MY POLITICS LATELY

27 Sep

I’ve always had some definite political opinions. I’ve always had some definite views on who I’m going to vote for and why. But over the last few years, I had made a conscious decision to keep my mouth shut.

I think some of it was when I first became Pastor at Lillian. I had some members (still do) who did not agree with me politically. It was never a point of contention and still isn’t. But I felt that I would not be able to minister to them if I got “bogged down” in politics so I kept my mouth shut.

Then I got involved in internet broadcasting. When I came to Nowlive, my main objective was to present Jesus. For that reason, I refuse to discuss politics or political issues. I simply would not do it. I just wanted to keep everything Christ-centered. This was, and is, right.

But that’s when I started noticing something that bothered me. It started with some of the comments that were being made about me online.

“Pastor Rick doesn’t care if you’re a Wiccan, a Buddhist, or even an atheist. He just loves everybody.”

Then I would hear liberal friends that I hang out with in person make similar comments.

“Rick and I pretty well agree with each other politically.”

At first, this bothered me only a little but I refused to focus on it. I mean, after all, the objective was to bring them to Jesus, right?

But more things continued to bother me.

I started seeing an outright persecution of everything I believed. I started noticing that those who stood strongly for Christ were the comic foils in sitcoms. I started hearing outright sin overlooked in the name of “sharing the love of Jesus”.

And I started wondering something. What kind of Jesus was I showing them? Was I showing them a Jesus who said that as long as you were genuine, it didn’t matter what you believed? Was I showing them a Jesus who said “It’s okay to be homosexual. I made you that way”? 

Here’s the thing: Jesus is definitely about grace. I don’t deserve Heaven. I don’t deserve to have Jesus even look my way. I cannot look upon others in condemnation. It’s not my place.

But to say that it doesn’t matter what we believe is also wrong.  Jesus made it clear in the Word that He was the only way to Heaven (John 14:6). It is clear that He hates sin. It is clear that homosexuality is a sin. In my heart of hearts, I want people to come to know Jesus. But I want them to come to know the Jesus of the scripture. The real Jesus. The One who died for me.

And I want leaders who are going to reflect the principles that are laid out in His Word. Rightnow, you have two candidates running and I honestly don’t believe that either one is a Christian. However, I still must vote. So I pick the platform that goes more closely with what I believe as a follower of Jesus. I pick the platform that s against the termination of human life before it has a chance to be born. I pick the platform that says that marriage is between one man and one woman. I know the candidate would probably not agree with me on all theology. Neither one of them would. So  I go with the platform that most closely represents biblical precepts.

“But pastors shouldn’t speak out…”

Why not? The homosexual lobby does.The pro-choice lobby does. My responsibility is to lead my flock to understand that Jesus permeates everything about their lives— including politics. No, I cannot and do not tell others how to vote. But I do have the responsibilty of letting others know what the Scripture says about the issues at hand. It is still their decision as it is with everything God leads me to present.

But I do not have to keep my mouth shut.

I used to.

I won’t anymore.

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3 Responses to “WHY I’M BECOMING MORE OUTSPOKEN IN MY POLITICS LATELY”

  1. Todd September 27, 2012 at 5:26 am #

    I know you are not an arrogant person, Rick. But when you assume that your perspective better reflects God’s heart than someone else’s, that your interpretations are right and a Christian who disagrees is wrong, you are speaking in a kind of arrogance.

    If your only duty is to “lead your flock,” and you feel strongly about a candidate, then go for it. But as a pastor, you also have a duty to reach people for Christ and make disciples. And as a pastor, when you preach politics and candidates, you put up a wall between the person who is seeking Christ (and whom Christ is seeking) and Jesus–because you are saying God is only for those who agree with me politically.

    Now I know you do not want to say that; but that is the message that is received. My God is not for you if you disagree with me.

    Why do you have to pick a party or candidate to preach Christ? Preach Christ, teach the Bible, and let people decide about politics.

    I’m not saying you should abandon your convictions; but why is it so important to share them? It almost sounds like you think your opinions about the election are as important as your opinions about God and church and ministry. They’re not.

    And I encourage you to realize that there are people who love Christ just as much as you, yet have a different perspective.

    I pick the platform that says it is a priority to make sure everyone has adequate health care.
    I pick the platform that emphasizes social justice and equal opportunity for all.
    I pick the platform that better emphasizes Jesus’ command to love your neighbor and welcome the stranger, rather than kick out everyone that we don’t want in our country, and condemn religions and cultures that we don’t like.
    I pick the platform that says we should help “the least of these,” rather than leave people to take care of themselves.
    I pick the platform that says we should take better care of the earth God created, rather than just use it to make our lives easier.
    I pick the platform that says we should enact laws that help us be safer and more careful when it comes to firearms, rather than saying people should have the freedom to any weapon they want, no matter how destructive or dangerous.
    I pick the platform that I believe gives us a better chance of helping all life–not just focusing on the unborn–but children, the sick, prisoners, the poor, the elderly.
    (I do not approve of abortion; but believe there are better ways to deal with it than just passing laws.)

    I don’t agree with either party completely. But my faith and theology lead me to a different conclusion than you, Rick. I’m not saying I’m right and you’re wrong. I may think that, but I’m also aware that I’m often wrong, and only God can know for sure.

    But I don’t want my political perspective to get in the way of people seeking and knowing God. (I know you don’t either…that’s why I encourage you to focus on Jesus, not the election).

    Take a look at this; great perspective on the election: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2012/09/dear-christian-if-the-thought-of-either-romney-or-obama-getting-elected-makes-you-fearful-angry-or-depressed-you-have-what-we-call-a-theological-problem/

  2. steve darden September 27, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

    Come on Rick. Say something more controversial. Seriously, we as pastors must speak out when the truth is in jeopardy, regardless of where it lies. Politics has too long been in the category of off-limits in the pulpit. We must speak the truth especially when so many young innocent lives are being routinely ripped apart and shredded as if they were yesterday’s leftovers. How awful it is to think about all of the abortions that this country has endorsed and promoted over the decades. Obama is just putting them all on a fast track to make them more acceptable and accessible. We should never accept the genocide that has taken 35 million black children, and 25 million babies of the other races combined from this world. How can we ask God to bless our nation with an honest heart?

  3. Todd September 29, 2012 at 6:53 am #

    I believe abortion is wrong. But we’ve had a Republican in the White House for 20 of the last 32 years, and Roe v. Wade was not overturned. Abortion was not outlawed.

    Electing a Republican president is not going to end abortion.

    There are many democrats, and Republicans as well, who believe the best way to address the abortion issue is to approach it in multiple ways, including some that seem to be more important to democrats–educating people, especially those in poverty; providing birth control, addressing poverty.

    Most republicans (and evangelicals) don’t seem interested. They just want to outlaw abortion and be done with it. The reality is that won’t end abortion. Unborn babies will continue to die, and so will more mothers seeking abortions.

    If both sides worked together to address the circumstances that often lead to abortion, we could make some progress.

    And side note–please have an open mind about the language you (meaning Republicans/conservatives in general) use.

    Do you really believe millions of people are “pro-abortion”? Do you really believe that they think abortions are a good thing?

    I have never met a pro-choice person who believed that abortions are good for anyone. They simply believe women should have a choice. You can disagree with that position, but you do everyone a disservice when you use hyperbole and describe people as “pro-abortion.”

    Electing Romney is not going to end abortion; so I choose to look at other issues, and a large group of issues that affect me, my community, my kids–and there are a lot of issues beyond abortion and gay marriage that are important to me.

    Have a good weekend, Rick!

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