Friday, January 29, 2010

friendliness, or lack thereof

I think (and is my totally biased opinion) that one of the reasons Barak Obama was so popular with younger and older people is because of his positive attitude during the campaign. His promise of hope and cooperation had a refreshing and resonating ideal that everyone wants to dream is possible. And now comes reality.
Given that Obama was one of the more liberal members of the Senate prior to the Presidency, it's not a big surprise that his policies and viewpoints are in direct disagreement with so many moderate Democrats and Republicans. His staunch and steadfast adherence to his principles (yes, even liberals can staunchly stand by immoral policies) in the past shouldn't cause anyone to be surprised that his current motto could easily be: Agree with me and friends we'll be.
Obama's unwillingness to meet half-way, his irritation at being questioned, and his arrogance in deriding others who disagree with him has eroded his very campaign promise of stopping politics as usual.
When all is said and done, many Americans shrug and say that's how politicians operate.
Sadly, I think this is how mankind operates.
When I go online and read news articles, the comments that follow shock me at the vitriolity and lack of common courtesy for opposing viewpoints. I seldom read the newspaper's editorial letters or comments on news forums or blogs for this very reason.
What disturbs me even more is that the church is not immune to such pettiness.
Believers should be passionate and zealous about their faiths and beliefs. We should adhere to I Peter 3:15 and be ready to give an answer for the hope within us. But it concerns me when I hear believers laugh or belittle other siblings in Christ who differ on doctrinal issues. It reminds of the parable in John 10 where Christ said, "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." I know Christ was talking to the Pharisees here, and many think he was alluding to the future Gentile believers, but when we arrogantly laugh at something that doesn't make sense to our frame of reference, are we not being Pharisees?
I often found it interesting in China that a group of believers who have not been taught doctrinal persuasions would be divided after studying certain Biblical passages. They were never told about terms such as charismatic, pentecostal, calvinism or apostasy, and yet while all praying for understanding they would argue and debate passages divided along those lines.
During the late 1700's, believers in Holland, England, and other countries would become so volatile over doctrinal differences that they would strive to ban the disagreeing brethren from holding any political office, living within a town, or fellowshipping with other believers. Things became so bad in Holland at one point that believers were burned at stake (by other believers). After questions were raised about the validity of such extreme persecution of non-believers (the victims were praying and praising God to the death), the believers in charge ordered the opposing believers' tongues to be cut out before they were brought to the stake and burned - all over doctrinal differences.
I'm just as opinionated as the next person. I can be extremely agitated when trying to help someone understand why they need to think like I do. (How's that for arrogance?) I sometimes gasp inside at the chasms between those of opposing political or religious views. And yet I shudder when I read historical stories and listen to myself and those around me. How many steps away are we from being as believers in Holland or the Nazis in Germany or even Muslims? I like to think that I could never ever be that extreme. And yet every comment deridingly made on an opposing viewpoint is simply one step closer to such arrogant danger. I'm not saying we can't disagree or debate things, but that there's a big difference between disagreement and derision.
So my dear readers, should you read (or hear in person) anything that comes across as such derision, please let me know. I fully desire to give an answer for the hope that is within me. But I want that answer to point to the Hope and its source and not away from Him.

1 comment:

gypsy@Hebrews11:13 said...

Very good post, Monica!! I have a hard time with this issue also- but not so much on the political front. More, that Christians won't let others be free to walk before the Lord in different ways. Hence my quote on FB the other day- In the essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty: in ALL things, love.