Integrity matters. If you want to serve as a testimony to Christian ethics, then you’re actually going to need to hold them, and that means holding them with consistency. Hypocrisy and double-standards will effectively serve to mute your witness.
It’s hard to cry out against a sin in one instance when, in another instance, you’ve excused, blown-off, or chosen to overlooked that sin.
What if the sort of “power” and influence Jesus intended for his followers wasn’t one of ends-justify-the-means ethical compromise and political power-plays, but witness to a “revolutionary”-like ethic like that of Mt 5-7, with all the integrity, lowliness, and self-sacrifice involved therein (5:13-16)?
Many advocate ethical compromise for the sake of “the greater good” (or “the lesser of two evils”). But what shall it profit the church if it gains a whole election but loses its witness? What if the church’s witness is the actual means of its impact?
For myself, I’ve only posted a handful of posts directly related to this election; but the ones that I have posted have seemed to gather a lot of attention, and not always the best sort. So it’s given me some pause…
The intensely public nature of social media, which makes it an amazing tool and opportunity to reach a large audience, simultaneously can make it a terrible forum for discussing sensitive topics. Its “melting pot” nature is not particularly suiting for “in house” discussions. It’s a forum that easily yields misunderstanding. And it’s also impersonal, which means it doesn’t always bring out our best, since we can hide behind our keyboards.
These two realities create something of a tension of interests for me — a great opportunity on the one hand; and a danger on the other. I’ve been wrestling through this tension a lot as of late.
Another tension I feel is the divided results of such posts. Those same posts that seem to inflame and do no good simultaneously seem to benefit others greatly. Unfortunately, often times its the less-than-beneficial sort of stuff that seems to occur in the comments. That’s where things seem to get nasty most of the time. And it’s public. But for as many negative responses I’ve witnessed, I’ve had a counterbalancing amount of amazingly constructive and positive conversations and responses in messages, over the phone, and in person. So, this is another tension over which I’m wrestling.
I’m trying to wrestle through this. If I have in any way failed to strike that balance, I apologize.
For the encouragement some of you have expressed and the constructive conversations that were had, I’m grateful. The rest, I find regrettable. And that’s not meant to be in reference to any of you; I’m talking about what’s on me (my responsibility) as the one posting. It’s given me pause and making me reconsider.
Let’s be advocates of religious liberty… but not just our own.
Promoting and defending religious liberty is not a matter of doing what best makes us secure and comfortable. That’s not something we’ve been called to as Christians. Religious liberty is about doing what’s right. That means pursuing the religious liberty of others just as much, if not more, than our own.
So, when it comes to religious liberty, let’s be honest, neither Hillary nor Trump (cf. his remarks on Muslims) receive a good grade here. Evangelicals, please stop acting like the latter will be the of bastion of religious liberty. You only reveal your own self-interested definition thereof.
Throughout Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis makes a handful of comments on Christians and social engagement, with particular reference to political matters at times. In this post, I’d like to draw attention to a few of these.
First, without condoning any sort of complacency with regards to political involvement, Lewis admonishes us to keep things in perspective. Is politics the answer to the dilemma which humanity faces?
I do not mean for a moment that we ought not to think, and think hard, about improvements in our social and economic system. What I do mean is that all that thinking will be mere moonshine unless we realise that nothing but the courage and unselfishness of individuals is ever going to make any system work properly. It is easy enough to remove the particular kinds of graft or bullying that go on under the present system: but as long as men are twisters or bullies they will find some new way of carrying on the old game under the new system. You cannot make men good by law: and without good men you cannot have a good society. That is why we must go on to think of the second thing: of morality inside the individual.
Second–and I rather enjoyed this section—Lewis talks about the role of “the Church” in political activism.
People say, “The Church ought to give us a lead.” That is true if they mean … that some Christians–those who happen to have the right talents- should be economists and statesmen … and that their whole efforts in politics and economics should be directed to putting “Do as you would be done by” into action. If that happened, and if we others were really ready to take it, then we should find the Christian solution for our own social problems pretty quickly. But, of course, when they ask for a lead from the Church most people mean they want the clergy to put out a political programme. That is silly. The clergy are those particular people within the whole Church who have been specially trained…. [W]e are asking them to do a quite different job for which they have not been trained. The job is really on us, on the laymen.