Facing Issues That Divide: Practicing Politics, Keeping Faith

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Quick, who said that? Yes, Abraham Lincoln said it. But who was Lincoln quoting? That’s right, Jesus. This week and the next four weeks, I’ll be using this blog to discuss a very political subject: issues that divide us. Together we’ll explore how we can practice politics in a way that’s true to our Christian faith—how we can follow not only the ideals of Lincoln but also the words of Jesus. We’ll look at four red-hot issues—immigration, Islamic extremism, healthcare, and guns—and we’ll talk about ways to discuss these issues as Christians even though we may strongly disagree with each other. Here’s how we’ll do it. Each week I’ll use the blog to introduce one of the issues and give you some initial thoughts. Then, after you’ve read the blog and considered the initial thoughts, I’ll link you to the website of the church I serve, where you’ll find Scripture and a recent sermon that takes a deeper dive into the issue. I’ll also link you to a free downloadable leader guide for the series, to help you discuss the issues in a group. This week, let’s look at our divided nation and try to put it into context. Here are some thoughts to get you started: Differences of opinion are healthy. But when we stop listening, when we question the motivation of others, when we see them as evil and are unwilling to work together—that’s when we begin to falter. Twenty years ago, approximately 17% of Republicans and Democrats viewed the opposing party “very unfavorably.” Today the number is 43% of Republicans and 38% of Democrats. We’ve forgotten how to have thoughtful, respectful discussions and dialogue. We share our thoughts on social media without thinking about how our messages might affect others. Rather than winning others over, we push them away. Paul said, “Let no evil talk come out of your mouth, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, that your words may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29 NRSV) John Wesley said, “Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may.” (Sermon 39: Catholic Spirit) Ready to dive deeper? Click here to see my sermon series “Facing Issues That Divide,” then select today’s sermon, “Practicing Politics, Keeping Faith.” Want to discuss these topics in a group? Click here or the link below for a free downloadable leader guide.

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