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I am a self proclaimed coffee addict and Executive Director of a non profit missions agency working primarily in the Mexican cities of Oaxaca, Guadalajara, and Ensenada. I've been married for over 30 years to Chelle, and we have one grown son, Joseph, a graduate of Auburn University in Alabama.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Faith and Politics... Part of the Continuing Journey

As you know, I spend about half my year serving in Mexico. As such, there are times of the year when it is literally impossible for me to blog, or comment much on current events, and the politics of the day.

But that does not mean I stop thinking about how our lives and faith can and do intersect as we go about our day to day existence.

Lately I have been thinking a lot about this passage. You might recognize it. It comes from Paul's Epistle to the Philippians.

"If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."

I particularly like where he says "...in humility consider others better than yourselves." Unless I have misread the passage, nowhere does Paul say that we are to do this when others do so towards us. It is just a straightforward admonition, for us to do it!

Likewise, when he tells us to look to the interests of others, it is to be understood in light of the statement that we are to consider others better than us.

These are tough teachings. Because they call us to think, not of ourselves, but of others. To think not quite so highly of who we are, but rather, of someone else.

So here come the 64 thousand dollar questions.

How does that happen in politics? For those of us who call ourselves Christians, how is it that we choose to not heed these teachings on our blogs?

How is it that there are radio hosts who claim to follow the teachings of God in one breath, but ridicule another man in the next?

How is it that in our zeal to defend our particular political hero, we cast aside a biblical call to civility, claim Christ, and then fire away?

Terms like libturds, nazis, commies, dolts, idiots, and the list goes on, should have no place if we are serious about what we believe.

It is one thing if we are not claiming a place in the Christian faith. But if we are, in the words of that esteemed Cuban Bandleader Ricky Ricardo, "we got some 'splainin' to do."

***Update***

Randall Balmer, and Episcopalian priest, has posted on the topic of civility in political discourse recently on Sojourners. It is a good read.

Comments on "Faith and Politics... Part of the Continuing Journey"

 

Blogger James' Muse said ... (2:38 PM) : 

dave, I agree. I'll admit to falling into that trap as well. It is easy to ridicule from the safety of a keyboard.

Good to have you back in the blogging world, though. You back for awhile?

 

Blogger The Sound and the Fury said ... (7:07 AM) : 

This is precisely why I hope that you will have the opportunity to contribute to our TRIBUNE on Facebook. We need to get people reading not only important news, but op-eds that focus on civil discourse.

 

Blogger Dave Miller said ... (1:00 PM) : 

Bri, I'll be there. I am finally back in Vegas, though still hacking my guts up.

Maybe it is a case of the Ensenada Swine Flu!

James, yes I'm back...

 

Blogger Jennifer said ... (10:56 AM) : 

Glad your back! This is a great post because I think we all fail in this regard, some more than others. I've always stayed away from name calling, because it serves no purpose but to be hateful, but I haven't always been able to take the high road. My piece before this last one, tells of the struggle that I face with the hostility from the left and the right. I find myself in the middle and I get slack from conservatives, that I'm not conservative enough, and liberals that I'm not liberal enough. It's not an easy place to be. Your post really touched me, because too often we forget who we are (Christians) in the midst of politics.

 

Blogger Dave Miller said ... (11:33 AM) : 

Thanks Jennifer. That you are able to think about it, and sometimes be bothered shows you are on the right road.

 

Blogger roy said ... (11:25 PM) : 

thanks Dave. I actually preached on this the other week. I challenged my congregation to engage in civil discourse and to raise legitimate differing opinions... and also to stand against the blatant lies and fear mongering. As followers of Jesus, we are held to a higher standard.

good word my friend.

 

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