I got one of those stupid e-mail forwards a few weeks ago about the Islamic day of prayer that happened in D.C. recently. Basically it was a bunch of Christians complaining about the fact that the White House prayer service was canceled, yet a bunch of terrorists (according to them) can crowd the Capital (capital?) and pray together/blow it up.
Of course, this came from some of my Fundaconservachristian relatives. I use that term because, trust me, for my relatives, the three root words there are inexplicably tied to one another. I'm not usually one to get involved in discussions of politics with relatives because it often results in shouting matches/skipped Christmases, but my stupidity got the better of me.
I wrote a politely worded (read pretentious) e-mail about how the people who run are government are not Christians, generally speaking, and thus we can't expect them to act like Christians. I also waxed eloquent about my belief that while no one can avoid voting in line with their morality, and everyone tries to legislate it, a nation's government should work hard at being as impartial as possible in regard to religion. As much as I hate to say it, and I mean that, I had to agree with the militant atheists. A day of Christian prayer at the White House essentially amounted to a federal endorsement of religion. How long until that leads to a theocracy? Then some people get pissed, and throw your tea off of a boat, and it's a whole mess. I might have been a little argumentative (read sarcastic) in mentioning something about the Statue of Liberty and how she says nothing about agreeing with all the white people.
Anyway, despite my obvious attempt at being good-natured, or perhaps in spite of it, this did not result in a logical, polite debate on the nature of politics and their relationship to religion. Instead, what I got was an e-mail in which one of my relatives told me that she doubted my salvation. Her reasoning was roughly thus:
!. Those who have put their faith in Christ are indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
@. One of the Holy Spirit's jobs is to convict us of sin and incorrect spiritual decisions.
#. Since the Holy Spirit didn't convict me that voting for Obama was the wrong decision (not simply a bad decision mind you), I surely must not be saved.
Now, anyone who's taken even elementary rhetoric or debate will understand why that argument fails to even approach logic. Nevertheless, I attempted to logically explain (second mistake) that spiritual disagreements do not void salvation. I cited the disagreement of Paul and Barnabas that led them to part ways on their missionary trip, and how that in no way could cause us to doubt the spiritual state of either. When I received a reply telling me that I was basically everything that was wrong with this country, sadly, I gave up. I know. I'm a quitter.
The whole episode left me wondering what's going to happen at Christmas when I'll have to give her a hug and a kiss and wonder if she really thinks I'm going to burn in Hell. Oh, besides that? What has convinced so many Christians that gay marriage and abortion are the only moral issues in politics? What happened to Jesus' teachings on charity, or teaching children? How many of this country's sorry excuses for policy can be traced back to something Jesus said that we are supposed to live out as Christians?
Maybe I'm a cynic, but I think we can learn a lot from Christ. Funny, right? Christ knew that the hearts of people, men and women, were more important than revolution. We've forgotten that as Christians. We're content to stew in our churches about how this country is going to hell in handbasket. We march in picket lines and feel like we're doing the work of Christ, while ignoring that little commandment that tells us go and "make disciples."
I just have to ask: Do we really believe that changing policy will win souls? And if not, then what are we doing?