WHAT IF THEY WANTED TO JOIN YOUR CHURCH?
Here’s a question for clergy who have posted very harsh and negative comments about either major party’s candidate during this election season – If the one who disgusts you the most were to start attending and expressed a desire to join your congregation, would you shower them with the same invective and caustic language you direct to or about them on your various social media accounts?
As I thought yesterday about the events of last evening in Las Vegas, and the ballot I will be casting before too long, the above question kept resonating deep within my soul.
Something we have been emphasizing in the past few years is the idea of being appointed to a mission field and not just people within four walls of a congregation’s building. Can it be said that the invective spewed by clergy towards a particular candidate you cannot stand is truly reflective of the pastoral nature of our work? Now, I’m not saying that any candidate including those within our congregations should not be held accountable for their actions and rhetoric. What I am stating is a plea for any of us who have licensed or ordained pastoral responsibilities (or aspire thereto) to think long and hard about whether or not our own rhetoric on social media reflects the best qualities of the gospel.
In my own career, I have had parishioners at various levels of the political world – from school board all the way to elected state officials – and all of these men and women, even those with whom I may not agree politically were some of the finest and most sincere people with whom I’ll ever have a chance to deal. One of them actually helped crystallize for me the doctrine of the Holy Spirit in a way that transformed my ministry and my Christian journey.
From my personal experience with these elected officials, I can promise you that in no way are they the monsters their political opponents’ ads or columns (for despite what they want you to believe I cannot believe any ‘journalist’ or ‘news outlet’ is without some prejudice that comes out consciously or subconsciously in their work) would lead you to believe.
Want to have an active, spirited conversation about candidates’ qualifications and behavior? That’s one thing. However, may we never forget that no matter how much we may despise their viewpoints or actions or qualifications, they are beloved by their creator, and thus must be loved by those of us who have been entrusted by Christ to be the church until Christ comes again in glory.
Grace and Peace, Lamar