Heaven on earth. It was referenced in the sermon we heard this past weekend and I just could not get it out of my mind. As we enter the over-heated political season, where religion plays a key role (go ahead, try denying that), I have to wonder: how often do we really think about God’s vision for his creation? Call me naive, but I’m pretty sure that the best signal we have as to God’s plan for this creation of his was his Son. You know, the peace-loving, sinner befriending, “if you have two, give one away”, hippie dude. The one with the long hair (in the pictures we saw in Sunday school anyway). That guy. He was our model. So when I see fellow Christians standing up for gun ownership and discrimination against fellow humans for any reason, I have to wonder: what Jesus stories did you hear in Sunday school? Clearly we heard different stories. It pains me to see Christianity held up and represented by those who would have us all armed and ready to kill, those who would have us deny the rights and privileges of others just because they do something that we think is icky (go ahead, check your Bible, Jesus never spoke about homosexuality), who would have us let the wealthiest keep the two (million) coats they have and not make an attempt to spread wealth more equitably. As a liberal Christian is hurts my soul every time I see obvious slander, blatant lies being leveled at leaders who are doing things that display at the very least a sense of equality and justice. I cringe when I see and hear stories of “religious” leaders condemning government actions that seek to make life easier for those who have a much harder time than most of us. The new healthcare laws have made a significant difference that I have already witnessed for some of my students who will now have a better chance of breastfeeding their babies longer because they can get the supplies and help they need. Sure, nothing is perfect, but I sometimes feel like people who identify themselves as being conservatives slam things like this just for the mere satisfaction of putting down the liberals, not because they actually know the costs and benefits of these laws.
Oh yes, I’m going to go there with guns too. I know that this is a heated one. “But it is our constitutional right!”. Sure, whatever. Back then when there were no automatic/semiautomatic weapons and it was a militia being armed to protect the union, not individuals going on ignorant killing sprees. You’ve got to be kidding me. These guns are made to kill people. Have your hunting rifles, I’m fine with that. I would never choose to use one, but that is my personal choice. The facts are there, in countries like England where firearms are banned, yes, some crazy people still get ahold of them and they had a total of 43 deaths in a year. Compared with our tens of thousands. This one is a no-brainer. And am I wrong here, how many ‘crazy left-wing liberals’ have been responsible for mass-murders? Just sayin’. I know, that sounds like I’m saying that conservative people are violent. No, not all, but there is something in that conservative hype that breeds violence. All it takes is a lack of knowledge and you end up with someone killing the most innocent and peace-loving people in their own place of worship.
I do not think that politicians or people who call themselves conservative are bad/evil/mean/etc. I tend to agree with Anne Frank - that all people are good at heart. It is the actions, the words that are spoken, the choices made that reflect the idea of what a person’s priorities are, who or what is important to them and how decisions will be made that give an idea as to whether they are working toward something that resembles heaven on earth.
So my quandary then is this - how is it that the right, the conservatives, get to ‘claim’ God for their side?
And why do we have to come to this? The lies, the meanness of it all. If we are Christ-followers, shouldn’t we be loving our brothers and sisters* and doing what we can to provide for their safety and their needs? Isn’t there a beautiful logic in that?
Yes, politics is an ugly business and there is nothing worse than mixing politics and family or friends when people disagree. I both love and hate the political season. I love that we get a choice and we get to be involved. I like being involved. So I will post political stuff. I try to discriminate and be tasteful. I know that I have many family and friends who stand on the other side. I will never stop trying to persuade people to join me on the liberal side. Sometimes I feel like the zebra in Madagascar, trying to bring people to my side, the fun side, the side where we have cute little umbrellas in our drinks. It is a challenge, a competition, a game, but in the end, it affects our lives and the lives of all Americans, so we should really look deep within, and if ours is a life modeled after Christ, we should ask ourselves, "what would Jesus do?” What would heaven on earth look like?
*and by loving, I don’t mean paying lip service and turning around and working to make sure they don’t share the same rights, privileges and quality of life as the rest of us.