Peace and Goodwill in an Age of (Political) Propaganda, PT. 2

Barb Wire

Politics taints practically everything.

We take our faith wherever we go, but the political filter is too slick and contrived for us to make the impact we otherwise should. On the other hand, the thought of fading into the shadows and fringes of a society let down by an orthodoxy-gone-AWOL church-at-large is too dreadful to fathom. Yet, how often does our zeal to take back this land ultimately rob us of a true and loving gospel witness?

How can our light shine when the fire’s constantly raging?

We’ve been on the wrong side of redemption, yet how swiftly have we forgotten where we came from. Some of it stems from a love for God’s righteousness and that is truly a good thing. We must remember, however, that we were unreconciled sinners once. We are in a tough spot for sure. May we maintain our balance and not cause others to stumble!

Trending: Is the Church Becoming Too Political?

No matter how we were born and raised, or how we’ve been trained, we are all made in God’s image. Redemption is merely one spirit-led regeneration away. The falling away of our fellow man should be lamented. Have we made our charity known? Do we maintain our loving compassion even in the face of increased hostility and future persecution? Are we gentle like doves and wise as serpents?

How often have I merely sought to score points and garner the approval of the conservative choir…

On that note, I’d like to share my recent message to Troy. Troy self identifies as ‘gay’ but has also been created in God’s image. Here was my message to Troy:

Troy, I’m for live and let live… If you want to reevaluate the existential let’s consider the righteous standard and why we all fall short, but there must be a standard… Your reality is different from my reality and I have fallen short of loving you the way I would love a believing brother, and I will receive some deserving backlash and some undeserving backlash which just comes with the territory of standing firm in Christian faith.

But in the end, there must be a standard and the standard will drive our worldview. Unfortunately, there is a clash of worldviews. But we should do our best to keep our emotions in check. We make our case and it will either be accepted or rejected, but at the end of the day I mean you no harm. But love does not have to mean full acceptance. I don’t even fully accept all aspects of myself, but at the end of the day that’s ok… have a nice day!

Troy, needs to understand that we are all born in sin and will remain rebels in our natural state. However, if we merely reject Troy or see him as less deserving of redemption somehow, what does that say about us?

These are difficult times and I know I don’t have all the answers. But I also would like to share some interesting insights by my friend JP Velasco in response to Penn Teller. (See Part 1 piece for the main point of reference):

Penn hit on some interesting points. Penn referenced this Weinberg’s quote:

Frederick Douglass told in his Narrative how his condition as a slave became worse when his master underwent a religious conversion that allowed him to justify slavery as the punishment of the children of Ham. Mark Twain described his mother as a genuinely good person, whose soft heart pitied even Satan, but who had no doubt about the legitimacy of slavery, because in years of living in antebellum Missouri she had never heard any sermon opposing slavery, but only countless sermons preaching that slavery was God’s will. With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil — that takes religion.

The problem here is what we’ve all been guilty of at some point in our lives – we use poor practitioners of a group of people to vilify the whole bunch. The proper method would be to go straight to the root by scrutinizing the core beliefs and doctrine of said religion/philosophy including its ‘founder.’

The tree’s roots explains the fruit it bears.

Douglass and subsequently Weinberg limited their understanding of religion to poor examples the way one would limit their understanding of medicine to only bad doctors. If we believe the doctor to be bad then we infer there’s a right way of doctoring. Let’s not ourselves be yet another ‘bad doctor’ as our solution. Let us find this ‘Good Doctor’.

We may be Christians, but we are far from perfect (and we will remain less than perfect this side of heaven). But like Johnny Cash, we do our best to “walk the line.”

We are richly blessed, if we may call Jesus “mine.”

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

AJ Castellitto
A.J. Castellitto is a freelance writer. His writings have been published by Western Journalism, Reformed Perspective and RenewAmerica. He is author of the book America Lost. Tweets @AmericaLost2014

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