Gazing over the sea from New Zealand, while trying to maintain some detachment from America's election process, has brought forth observations that illustrate the old adage: "one bad apple spoils the whole bunch."
Elections bring forth many examples of how prostelytizing the talk rather than "walking the walk" can send folks running from the messenger. That said, I want to make it clear that I love being around Christians and folks of other religious traditions that preach their message by walking the walk--being a living, breathing example--and I am fortunate to know many.
Many observers have commented on the intermingling of religion and politics and how un-right that feels, and since the taste is still in my mouth, I'm doing what I do, spitting it out on paper:
It's important to remember that most everyone gets that it's God that is the authority . . . not you.
Please don't expect that anyone will want to get to know "your" God, if you consistently use verbiage about what "Your God" is doing or thinking, or who they are damning to hell.
In and of itself, the term "My God" implies others are not special enough to have a relationship with yours. And take note, "my God" is most typically used when making a point that is disrespecting someone, something, or others' beliefs.
Many of the folks you are preaching to have figured out that God is everyone's God and that God even loves those that choose not to believe.
And by presenting yourself as the authority on God's motivations, when it is absolutely clear that you are doing so to make your own political or moral convictions known and coerce others, you bring your direct-line-to-God-relationship in question.
And God does answer to differing names and religious traditions, because God is of love.
When you make your religious point for arguments-- against others--you are starting a war. Knowingly and with intent. A seed of hate and discord and ugliness is sent out into the Universe. The Bible has many teachings that can be interpreted in myriad ways to make myriad points, but to spend energy doing that to encourage despise of others' lifestyles or choices or political practices belies the essence of what Christianity, or any other religious tradition, needs to be teaching: love.
Nowhere do these Commandments exist:
• Bear witness to others in an arrogant manner that claims that you are right and others are wrong.
• Use My name to get your way and coerce others to vote or think or wallow in disgust as you do.
• Pick and choose scripture and skew it in a way that makes me a vengeful God while minimizing my messages of love. Oh, and ignore those bizarre passages because you are the authority and know what I would want covered and preached to the world.
• Shame others for not thinking the way you do and let them know that your relationship with Me is better than theirs.
• Speak of Me and for Me in the midst of claiming despise for factions and actions of people unlike yourself, because I do not want people to live in harmony.
• Claim to know who I would vote for in one of your stupid elections.
• Oh, and unfriend people who don't think like you, but call yourself a Christian while you are doing it.
• And about Deuteronomy 21:18-21 where I have inferred that all stubborn and rebellious sons that don't obey their parents or are drunkards or gluttons be stoned to death . . . ? Now come on-- you knew I didn't want you to kill your kids--I give thee permission to Use. Your. Brain. And heart.
You get how endless this list could be, right?
Come on folks. Make Your God proud.
Don't have Him up there conjuring ways to send you to time out for using your power for evil and not good.
The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
And no, in no way am I insinuating that the little child's name is Obama.
But one thing I know for sure is that it is all about love. Not pity, not despise, not even "I hate their actions but not the person."
It is about a love bigger and broader, and an understanding and compassion far beyond our comprehension, and if we attempt to be guided and live by that love each and every day, we will be one step closer to The Truth.