Why we’re leaving in Droves (A Response to the FB group “Christians Discuss Politics)— By Zach Harmon

A few months ago, a few friends said “Hey man, you should join this group”. I got involved, hoping to engage in an informed debate where people presented ideas and sources to discuss views of politics. Instead what I found was a long list of tribalism, anger, blaming and vilifying groups people don’t understand or disagree with.

While I may not always be the most gracious (something I’m working on) I believe what I believe because I’ve studied, read and spent a long time trying to understand politics, life, religion, and faith in ways that are honest and grounded in critical analysis.

The problem here is that’s not the primary thing. Instead we see more emphasis on rightness than love. We see more blaming the other (gay, black, homosexualy, liberal, trans, etc…) instead of asking how people got to an idea.

Instead of being open to sources, numbers and stats are twisted with “I don’t see it” or “I take it that way”. Instead of understanding the message of Christ through the gospels, the group demands orthodoxy, while ascribing to convenient contextualism. Instead of focusing on the outsider (like Jesus) the group demands instead to point and blame who is “in and out” — this is tribalism. Instead of realizing that people may have shifted from their views, by being freed by the message of Jesus… there is this need to claim another belief as heresy, as apostate, as against God and literal biblical interpretation.

When in reality, while many of you seem wholly unaware of the broader world around you and the MANY critiques to faith, belief, the bible, interpretation, philosophy and theology. There is a MUCH bigger set of ideas out there. One that is inclusive, one that understands love as life, one that thinks Jesus calls us to a way that is about meeting our neighbor where they are. One that challenges religious elitism, and holds you to the question of “How then do we live?” That’s how Jesus responds when asked “What must I do to inherit eternal life? He says:

“Love God, love your neighbor.” You do so as you love god, you love god as you love your neighbor, in loving those near you express your love for God. We do so when we love our Muslim neighbor, our gay neighbor, our “outsider” neighbor, our angry and mean neighbor, we do so when we love the painfully annoying hyper churchy neighbor who doesn’t know there is a great big world out there. I love you guys (despite how much I want to punch a few of you) and I hope you realize… There is SO MUCH MORE than this to the way of Jesus.

This is why the churches continue to shrink. That’s why progressives leave here, that’s why those questioning may know your journey better than you realize. Many of us used to be you, thinking we were SO right until we realize (every day) just how blind we were and still are. This is why we must leave, this is why we choose to spend our energy on the people that Jesus did… the blind, the deaf, the broken. People like… us.

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