Thursday, September 3, 2009

Relationships Trump Politics

Not a day goes by where I do not hear personally some polarizing comment about Liberals or Conservatives. I believe nothing is served by name calling. My mom taught me that but the Bible has a lot to say about the constructive and destructive power of naming. People even think they can categorize me, as if a human can be distilled to a label.

What I have found at the poles (not North and South) is a "Conservative" that is heartless and a "Liberal" that is mindless. (Mad yet? I said poles - both are frigid places.) A conservatism that values rules but forgets that the rules were meant to give life to people. A liberalism that forgets that boundaries (limits to freedom) contain the seeds of life.

In the Conservative/Liberal name calling, label wars, I think Jesus would be decidedly neutral. Jesus held up relationships was the way to heal society. Out of relationships comes new life. Binding and loosing in relationships affect the quality of life.

First, Jesus invites us into a relationship with him. True relationships change people. It is much easier to talk of something more concrete, like universal rules and personal feelings. But, without relationships, they are a dead end. Christianity is, if it is anything, an invitation into a relationship, with all its twists and turns, with the Almighty. Often, when right and wrong are pressed they are done so to bypass a relationship with the living God.

Second, Jesus invites us to pay attention to our earthly relationships because they play out in heaven. God is resident in my neighbor. Not only that, Jesus is resident in the one person I vilify, in the one person I reduce to my label, in the one person where I aim my anger.

Being Liberal or Conservative are both fine. Neither will matter, however, in heaven. Take your identity in Jesus today. Place Jesus at the heart of everyone you meet (or label.) Enter into a real relationship with those that scare you and who jeopardize your validity because they hold a true something different that you do. Your validity was sealed on the Cross and cemented in the resurrection. You are on infinite worth. So are the other guys/gals.

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