11.07.2012

i, the person: an open letter to my kids on loving jesus & america

i got riled up last night watching the election.

let me amend that: i got riled up last night watching some of my christian friends' reactions to the election.

just like the chick-fil-gay thing, i really try to stay out of controversial subjects on social media, because i dont see a lot of hearts being won over by the best status update or most face-melting zinger. 

but on a rare occasion i feel that it goes beyond personal political preference and strays into a place where truth might not be getting a fair voice. that jesus might not be getting a fair representation.  so i speak up (woe to me, possibly).

but i wanted to blog it out, rather than just leaving it to FB so that i would have documented for myself later on, and hopefully even my kids, where i was and what my heart had to say on election night 2012.

ok this was actually supposed to be a side-splittingly hilarious joke on election morning wherein i appeared to have gotten everyone's "voting" statuses mixed up with the word "boating." comic gold, right? but then it was pouring down rain and i think people thought i was making a weather joke.  maybe i should just make it a "choose your own adventure" joke.


then after i cast my vote and the polls started to close, i got really solemn about the weight of the gift we have been born into.  i thought about how i had been considering skipping voting because of the bad weather and then was reminded of the men who never had the chance to stand in line to vote because they thought that the right was worth their very LIVES. 

blammo. because 4 hours of wolf blitzer requires a little levity. (best followup comment by a friend: "You would've made a stellar FIGHTING ELECTRODE....")


and when the result started to be made pretty clear,and the "i'm moving to the caymans/canada/bahamas" statuses started rolling in, big mommy got kind of mad. 


 because politics may give us differing views from our brothers and sisters in christ, but NOTHING gives us a different standard than His.


judah, layla, and any as-yet unborn children of mine: 

you are the heirs of two amazing heritages: the freedom of america and the blood of christ. know that neither was cheaply purchased--though one is infinitely more valuable--and that both inheritances require things of you. 

you arent entitled to get more because you have them; rather you are called to give and love and BE more out of the abundance that they have afforded you.

please remember that having one doesnt give you more of a right to the other.  your faith doesnt serve to prop up or prove valid a particular political platform (spoiler alert: they're all wrong in some way), and your savior certainly doesnt need your politics [or anything] to be "right" before you come to him.

know that democratic freedom and christ's grace started as revolutions. actual revolts of the heart, body and mind over systems that declared we werent all equal, that we would never be worthy. though being an american christian today is about as expected or middle-of-the-road as it gets (demographically), yours is the legacy of revolutionaries. act accordingly. protect, welcome, and represent the downtrodden and marginalized. love with abandon when it makes no sense.

one thing that america and jesus have in common is the characteristic of voluntarily laying down power. our democratic republic's is centered on temporary terms of service--not rule--in office for elected officials (and an amazing precedent set by washington in his stepping down after 2 terms when the public quite literally would have made him king).  

our savior's example is far more poignant and perfect as described  in phillipians 2:

...Christ Jesus 
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant

.

i think one of the most beautiful things about our nation is that it is a small and imperfect reflection of christ's attitude. our governing officials, who--so often in previous history have been viewed almost equal to gods--instead should consider themselves servants and willingly make themselves obedient and humble to others. 
.
please remember that the only country god ever cared for above any other was israel. jesus isnt a fan of america the country and doesnt need you to fight for it on his behalf. he is the ransomer of hearts; make yours his territory exclusively. borders and systems and regimes will change, put your heart in the hands of the unchanging; follow his example.

as great and worthy as both of your heritages are, at some point you are going to realize that one is vapor and one is gold. this doesnt mean our country is less; it just means our king is oh so much MORE.  only jesus is eternal and worthy of our everything. protect, honor, and defend your political human freedoms but, as citizens of heaven, realize that their true power isnt in what they themselves offer, but in the fact that they afford us unrestricted earthly access to worship jesus and proclaim his kingdom without punishment or fear.

we cant argue or complain or legislate people into agreeing with us. but we can, and must, love them into christ's arms. politics can make enemies out of us all. this is an opportunity to put that badass revolutionary spirit on display and LOVE our enemies. liking and high-fiving everyone who agrees with us is easy and never changed anyone's heart.  

sometimes i wonder if living in a government system that gets so easily confused with a religion is a blessing or a curse. because america's system is sort of, kind of close to jesus's message, it often gets confused with it. the last thing i want for you is to get conned into some watered-down jesus-lite culture that comes up short politically AND spiritually. 

our best bet is to know him. his voice, his word, his life, his love. cling to that and fight against anything that tries to make it something less than revolutionary, perfect, and humble.

love,

your once-anti-american, reformed cynic of a jesus-loving mom who gets it wrong more often than not, but that's okay because it's not about getting it right.




they say it better than me:

-on political idolatry

-7 things christians need to remember about politics

17 comments:

  1. A to the freakin' MEN. Thanks for this.

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  2. I don't usually comment on blog post, mainly bc I barely have time to read them much less comment on them, but this deserves a comment! You literally said everything I've been feeling over the past few days. So many of friends comments on the election have made me want to unfriend them. Instead I have been praying for them. It's sad to see my brothers and sisters in Christ have so much hatred for someone who means well and isn't purposely trying to hurt anyone. How about turn that hateful energy into prayer! It will accomplish much more! Do AMEN

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  3. Have mercy, that was beautiful!

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  4. As someone who is very disappointed with the election results (though not threatening to move to a different country!), this is a good reminder to me as a Christian to put my faith in God rather than the trappings of this world, including this country that we love, or any particular candidate. Thank you for sharing it. I would like to offer one point of difference, however--I DO think as Christians that we SHOULD fight for this country in the name of God. Not to take it over and make it some kind of theocracy. But just in recognition of the fact that America, imperfect as she is, sends more missionaries and aid out to the needy of this world than any other country on earth. America does have a Christian heritage, which is the main reason for that. If we do not fight for our religious freedom here, if we do not fight for America to uphold the values that have been a beacon of light and freedom to others around the world, we will lose a way to reach many people with the love of Christ. I think that is worth fighting for.

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  5. Thanks for mustering the time and boldness to write this, and particularly for what you posted on Facebook. I have stood fast by my personal "no-politics-on-social-media" policy, but it has been HARD to do that with some of the total and complete craziness flying around Facebook this week. And it breaks my heart because most of the craziest stuff I saw was, as you said, coming from the mouths of Jesus-followers. My views happen to be somewhat different from the Christian mainstream and the things I heard people saying made me feel incredibly not-safe to EVER share my true feelings. I can only imagine what someone who doesn't even know Jesus would feel. Some of the things said representing "Christian morals" make me sick to my stomach with how opposed they are to the ACTUAL message and kingdom of Jesus. So anyway...thanks for being courageous enough to talk about it in a public forum, as I've not yet gotten to that point. You may become one of the few Southerners who actually gets to hear my real political views, which as of yet have been on top secret lockdown. :D

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  6. yes. thank you. I posted your "fervent prayer" post on my fb page (with total credit to you!) b/c you speak my mind better than I do. thank you.

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  7. i just love you. i especially love how you cover waxing and voting- back to back!!! love your honest, courageous heart. you and jesse have always set such a beautiful example of christ's love in real life & in bloggy world. thank you for being the voice of love... christ's love. i'm on a fb long-term fast because i just couldn't handle ANY of the negativity during this rough season in our lives... i cannot imagine what it's been like this week :( love your family. favorite line "love with abandon when it makes no sense" YES! love wins!!!

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  8. i just love you. i especially love how you cover waxing and voting- back to back!!! love your honest, courageous heart. you and jesse have always set such a beautiful example of christ's love in real life & in bloggy world. thank you for being the voice of love... christ's love. i'm on a fb long-term fast because i just couldn't handle ANY of the negativity during this rough season in our lives... i cannot imagine what it's been like this week :( love your family. favorite line "love with abandon when it makes no sense" YES! love wins!!!

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  9. keight, i just found your blog via StumbleUpon for a lovely scarf tutorial. then i realized we are sisters in Christ... so i started reading. I love the way you write about your heart and feelings... and I just want to thank you for your well thought out discussion regarding American politics and our faith. It's heartening to see that there are other Christians who realize that freaking out right now isn't going to get us anywhere; and that our political situation doesn't change that Christ is on His throne no matter what! But also that our anger doesn't show the love of Christ. Thanks for being here; i'll be reading ;)

    ~ Sharah

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  10. Hi Keight,
    I have been lurking on your blog for about a year now and have never commented. I do not have a religion and my feelings about God are complicated. However, your blog makes me think about the side that I never think about. As a person who is the liberalist of the liberal I often think about Christians as being backward (I believe this is because of my Aunts and Uncles and the people on TV..... to be fair they're probably backward and it's not fair to lump so many people into 1 group) but your blog makes me rethink that every time I read it. You are someone that I can relate to and you are really messing up some of my biases (thanks.... ;) ). I look forward to reading your blog for a long time to come.

    <3 Jillian

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  11. I kind of second what Jillian said. My feelings about God are complicated, and I am absolutely repelled by some of the attitudes I see from Christians. You really represent your God well.

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  12. Well said. Thank you, Keight.

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  13. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing. Passing a long some of this wisdom to our highschool youth group kids tonight! Love and miss you- Mo

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  14. Thank you for taking the time to write this to your children (and us), Keight...it is magnificent and so TRUE. I completely agree that both sides get parts of it wrong (although we might disagree on which parts:)), we're in total agreement on the value of God's Kingdom taking precedence in our hearts over this or any other country's politics. Thanks too for calling believers to live out our high calling, which definitely takes getting hold of God's amazing grace made possible by Jesus' gift, and stepping aside (humbling ourselves) to let Him operate in us by the power of His Holy Spirit. To my grandchildren: My prayer for you is you will love the Lord will all of your heart, mind, soul and strength, and you'll love your neighbor as yourself. I love you so much, my darlings, and trust you will always allow Jesus to be your Savior, friend, and guide.

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  15. Thank you for taking the time to write this to your children (and us), Keight...it is magnificent and so TRUE. I completely agree that both sides get parts of it wrong (although we might disagree on which parts:)), we're in total agreement on the value of God's Kingdom taking precedence in our hearts over this or any other country's politics. Thanks too for calling believers to live out our high calling, which definitely takes getting hold of God's amazing grace made possible by Jesus' gift, and stepping aside (humbling ourselves) to let Him operate in us by the power of His Holy Spirit. To my grandchildren: My prayer for you is you will love the Lord will all of your heart, mind, soul and strength, and you'll love your neighbor as yourself. I love you so much, my darlings, and trust you will always allow Jesus to be your Savior, friend, and guide.

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  16. BEAUTIFUL! Wow! You are changing the world girl! Love it! Love you!

    Mere

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  17. you are the shit. read this again tonight to be reminded of how shitty.

    Happy Thanksgiving friend.

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