Sunday, January 22, 2017

Where Does A Christian Stand?

Wow. What a couple of days in our country! We saw the end of one presidency, the beginning of another, and a day filled with protests around the world. There were also riots, big changes to, and lots of insults hurled on social media.

Where does a Christian stand in these times? I imagine that's a question that has been asked by many Christians of themselves in many times of history and in many places around the world. I see some on the Left accusing all Christians of being short-sighted, mean-hearted, and narrow-minded. I see some on the Right accusing the protesters of betraying their faith. And I've seen many faithful Christians unhappy about being excluded from the Women's March due to not being "pro-life."

Where does a Christian stand?

I know without a doubt that I am to pray for our leaders. The Bible states in 1 Timothy 2:1-2: "I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people-- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness." At this moment in history, the elected leaders of America are distasteful to me, But the kings of New Testament times were actively hostile to the Jews and Christians, and Timothy told people to pray for them. So, I will pray for Donald Trump and Michael Pence. I urge you to do so, as well.

I also know that Jesus expects Christians to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome strangers, clothe the naked, and visit the sick/imprisoned. (Matthew 25:31-46) Therefore, I will continue to work for the oppressed, the poor, the downtrodden. Jesus says to do this. He doesn't ask whether the woman at the well (John 4:4-26) is open to His teaching or is in good standing with her local synagogue; He simply talks to her. She doesn't have to meet some standard before He will reach out to her.

I will not pre-select those who are worthy of my help, my attention, or my compassion. Jesus refers to "the least of these," meaning the most unimportant, the least powerful, those rejected by the establishment. Our family resides on the Jicarilla Apache Nation, one of the many Native Nations in this country who struggle to be heard. My friends here have myriad sorrows, corporately and individually. I will continue to bring the hope of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, to them. I will continue to teach my students with equality, fairness, and excellence.

As for the politics of gender, orientation, marriage, protecting the unborn, my religious beliefs do not affect what should be true in a secular democracy: Each person should be able to make a choice to sin or not to sin. My religion should not be forced upon a secular nation. And as I have said before, I do not want to live in a theocracy because my beliefs will not necessarily align with the leaders' beliefs. I believe we should each be free to worship (or not) as we see fit.

Even though I am clearly a Christian, I do not see that my beliefs (or anyone else's) should be the law of the land. If you or I believe that abortion is a sin, you or I can fight to provide alternatives to abortion, to support families unready to raise a child, and to protect children from abuse. If I (or you) believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, I (or you) can participate in a church that shares that belief. We can educate our children with our own values. We can even choose to influence them more by homeschooling or by having our children attend a private school. If we are not in a position to accomplish that, we can reach out for scholarships or assistance.

Where does a Christian stand in these days?

Against violence. For the unheard.

That's my answer today. I will remain vigilant, watching for abuses. I will remain hopeful, expecting good. I will remain prayerful, praying for wisdom and peace. I will remain active, working for those things in which I believe. I pray you will do the same.