The other day I was talking with a good friend and, unfortunately, politics had to rear its ugly head. I guess its inevitable; considering there is a presidential election coming up in the next year. This is my first attempt to get back involved with ridiculousness that is our political system, after my decision to ' opt out' after becoming extremely jaded a few years back.
For those who dont know, I grew up a diehard Republican/Fiscal Conservative- Ann Coulter quoting, Bush poster waving, the whole bit. Liberals were snakes, and Conservatives might have a few bad apples but they were ' better' overall.
Then, I went away to college, and I met this guy named Jesus. I stayed true to my Conservative roots for a while, but soon various inconsistencies began to pop up. Things were suddenly...messy. Jesus was talking about loving our neighbor, turning the other cheek, loving and serving the poor. Sure, I was prolife, but the idea that 'pro life' applies only to abortion and not the death penalty, not the mentally/physically/developmentally handicapped..didn't seem to jive with a consistent ethic of life. And environmentalism- only tree hugging liberals care about matters such as pollution, global warming ( because its just a myth, right?).
I came to realize these things, I became extremely frustrated. To be a good Christian, you just -had- to vote Republican, because Democrats were anti-God, anti-life. Yet I could plainly see Conservatives who didn't give a hoot about people, and caring for those in need of help- they wanted votes. So say you're pro life, vote for a few pro life things, and bada bing bada boom- you've got the Christian vote.
Even more apparent was how full of crap BOTH sides were. Its about climbing the ladder, about saying what you need to say in order to get votes.I realized this, and just gave up. (Hence my opting out). I just hid my head in the sand and pretended none of it was going on.
Then I found this book called God isnt a Republican or a Democrat- Why The Right Gets it Wrong and the Left Doesnt Get it- by Jim Wallis. Ooh- so there are a few people who notice this too. I then found Sojourners magazine, discovered Gregory Boyd, Shane Claiborne and various other Christians who were addressing these social issues often ignored by Christians. I began to have some hope.
Fast forward to today- I'm still frustrated, and I still dont trust any of the political candidates farther than I can throw them. But I'm starting to navigate the mess of issues, and starting to form where I stand. I'm okay with not voting straight ticket, and I dont fully endorse either party. I'm an independent- and I'm going to vote my conscience, where it ends up being red or blue- or a mix, and ends up being purple.
I've learned that its okay to take the red letters in the Bible seriously..that Jesus wasnt just joking when He mentioned money and the poor over and over. It doesnt make me a communist to care about the poor, nor a wimpy liberal to care about the environment. It IS pro life to care just as much about existing children and their welfare, as I care about the welfare of the unborn. It's okay to be a Christian and be disgusted by how our money-loving culture has turned people into a commodity, that we put profit over human lives and welfare.
So here I am, a born-again, evangelical, missional, progressive, conservative/liberal, anti death penalty, green, pro life, pro religious freedom, pro separation of church and state, homosexual loving, semi pacifist ( still working that one out), unfinished, still growing , neither-red-or-blue-probably-more-purple-than anything- Christian.