Politics in the Church??!

Ready? The old phrase is that you don’t talk about politics or religion and then everything will be fine! Only it won’t so that’s really not true. The point of course, is civil discourse so don’t talk of things that might cause disagreement. Obviously civility has taken a hike in the past several years.

But many of you won’t be ready to face this:

White folks who regularly rebuke others saying “Stick to the Gospel and quit talking politics, it just divides people!” are themselves A. often (not always of course) if they were truly honest, really saying “If you had voted like I did I wouldn’t mind so much.” B. The majority of the black churches in the United States have a long history of political organizing specifically due to Jim Crow laws back in the day, the new Jim Crow of incarceration, etc., needs for city and county response re. neighborhood infrastructure and other needs not being met via local politicians (by FAR white).

So what are we saying about our black brother and sister CHRISTIANS in CHURCHES who often sponsor politically leaning and organizational neighborhood meetings, function as polling places and such?

“Preach the Gospel and enjoy your “place” in the back of the bus”?

We talk of grace but those folks didn’t earn it like we did?

Ignorance, denial of racism perhaps? Yes. Sometimes that’s exactly what’s going on but most whites wouldn’t admit we talk against minority people, “the other” in just that way when we call folks out on the basis of “Gospel and spirituality”.

The fact is, love costs and it may well cost the white majority politically -which means plenty of white Christians in the U.S.A. are about as angry and/or afraid as they can be.

So you want followers of Jesus to quit talking about politics? I don’t think that’s the gut truth. I think being the majority, the dominant power, the very thing we cling so hard to and are so rarely willing to share or even relinquish re. both church leadership and political dominance are idols like all idols, that need to go.

I think loving our neighbor rather than running the show, especially if they are among “the least of these”, is a cross that many of us have avoided far too long.

Yes, let’s talk religion and politics, and in the words of Bob Dylan, “Let us not talk falsely now, the hour’s getting late.”

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

2 thoughts on “Politics in the Church??!

  1. I live out in DuPage county. I am white. I am conservative, a safe leaning in the county I live in. I go to a “successful” church in Naperville that is fortunate enough to have attracted various races and cultures that mix well with the affluent white people who attend the church. It was a shock to me when a black friend, a former music pastor at my church who is also sang at my wedding many years ago, asserted that there is white privilege and even racism in DuPage. Say it isn’t so! I disputed his claim, told him he was being overly sensitive. There is no such thing as white privilege any more, I told him. Just look at my church, look at my neighborhood, I said.

    But I was in denial. It’s still true, even if it’s going way, it’s still true.

    So what do we do?

    1. Thank you for replying to the post and your thoughtful and honest response to your friend and the issues of white-ness. I am convinced we can do, truly DO much to bridge the gaps, and “bridges” can and must be built over and against denial, excuses or even blaming white folks as such -and indeed historically and now by silence or zero effort on our part, we have to face OUR responsibility for what -is- racism, systemic as such in OUR day. Here’s a direct answer short list, but it will cost us: Pray for ears to hear and eyes to see as if WE were people of color. Get up close as possible to poc and ask questions with humility -and just listen to their stories. Recognize (as you have) folks aren’t simply looking for patronizing handouts but genuine empathy and indeed, respect. Prove over time you can be a trustworthy friend and respectful person by continuing to befriend, listen and advocate for your friends and strangers who are people of color. When the situations happen you can stand as an advocate in the face of racial inequity, do it, speak up, take the hit as needed. Accept the pain of rejection “from your own people” who are perhaps ignorant, sometimes willfully defensively so, sometimes honestly clueless for only seeing through their white, naturally benefiting experience. When possible, hand people of color the best seat, choose to sit in the back yourself (on any level available, literally), open doors for people out of love and respect because sometimes in some situations you have the power they do not. Hand others the keys and let ’em drive! Hope this helps and you can connect the metaphors 🙂 We have work to do! Grace… share it! -Glenn

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