Grieving and Hope After the Election

Many people are grieving for our country today. My Facebook feed, made up mostly of conservative Christians, is like the day after a bomb dropped. Early polls showed 80% of evangelicals voted for Governor Romney, and many are shocked and grieved by the outcome of the election.

I am grieving for the church.

Many people are posting on Facebook that this win signals people want handouts and don’t want to work, signals the death of our country’s ideals and an electorate who doesn’t care enough to be informed, and is a national endorsement of abortion, gay marriage, and weed. Most of these posts that I saw came from people who are Christians, and to those posts I have to give the following response:

I humbly and sadly disagree. I think this split in our culture is about the church. I think it is about the marginalized (the people the church should love and support). The Democrats made a compelling case that they cared about those people. We in the church have not made that same compelling argument. Even on election day, in some of our responses, we demonstrated a lack of care for people, a lack of faith in God’s sovereignty, and a lack of obedience to His commands to not fear. I am going to get into the issues and hopefully present a thoughtful view of these things so that we can understand the “other side” a bit better and respond in love instead of rhetoric – but first of all let me say this – Jesus gives hope to each of these issues. We have hope in Christ.

“The Handouts”: On election day, thousands of people tweeted jokes like “Don’t worry if Dems are leading, Republicans will vote once they get off work.” I also saw comments about the over-half of our country that voted for the Democrats that go something like this – “they want something for nothing so they’ll take our country down in debt.” And it breaks my heart. The rhetoric simply isn’t true, and this attitude is what is alienating us from not only the voting world but from the lost world. Our country has one of the highest levels of childhood poverty of any industrialized nation. Over 18% of our children don’t get enough to eat. And the assumption and the rhetoric states that is the lazy parent’s fault. But the facts, according to the Institute of Child Development, are that 75% of poor children have at least one parent who works. The remaining 25%? Mostly single women who cannot afford quality childcare to be able to work. And some call them welfare queens. But guess what, 1 out of 4 of those women don’t qualify for any federal assistance whatsoever. And the ones who do face restrictions to protect them from living off “government cheese.” There are some lazy Americans, yes, but for the most part, the working poor are just that, working poor, and not lazy Americans. These are desperate hurting Americans trying to make a living wage and failing. For example, over 50% of Walmart employees don’t make enough to live and because of this, qualify for food stamps. But they are working. Not full-time, because Walmart fights to keep employees at 39 hours per week. But hard. They aren’t looking for a handout. They are trying. And we as the church have bought into the rhetoric and ignored the reality. Church, we have to quit buying into this political “us vs. them” rhetoric of the working versus the lazy and instead buy into church’s command to love the least of these. Because our command to love is absolute, even when people take advantage of the system and are lazy. We in the church certainly do help the poor – but in the last 20 years we have helped the poor quietly and shouted the rhetoric loudly. Let’s stop the rhetoric and instead let our quiet consistent support of the poor define us.

“The Gays”: What if, in the early days of AIDS in the 1980s, the church had embraced homosexuals as they struggled in terror to understand this new disease that was wiping them out? What if we had been the ones known for our care for them? What if instead of fighting them on every right and constantly reminding them of their “terrible sin,” we remembered how Jesus treated the tax collectors and sinners and how he got to know them and ate with them, and they followed him because they loved him and knew he loved them? Dr. Stanton Jones, provost at Wheaton College, said at Dallas Theological Seminary that the church has failed in the treatment of homosexuals by treating “them” as our enemy in the culture war, and considering “their” sin as irredeemable while failing to consider our own sin and brokenness. A study by the Barna Group showed that when asked, 91% of non-Christians defined Christianity as anti-homosexual (in fact, this was the first word they used to describe the Christian faith). We have failed. We have defined the grace, love, and death of Jesus Christ to a lost world as “anti-homosexual.” Father, forgive us. Do you think they would still seek protection in a political party if we had been their ally instead of declaring “war” on them? I think that is what this election was about for them. They were aligning themselves with the party who demonstrated care for them.

“The Illegals”: The Hispanic vote overwhelming went Democratic, despite their dominate Catholic pro-life worldview (much more conservatively pro life than even most evangelicals). Why? I think it was more “us versus them” rhetoric. What if we were the ones fighting for immigrant children, brought here because children have nothing to eat in the place where they live, instead of the ones calling them “illegals” and demanding their deportation, many of them to a place where they don’t know the language and have never lived? What if we not only supported but demanded programs like the Dream Act? And I know there is a legal path to immigration, but I also know it is broken and takes sometimes decades and that path is terribly narrow and needs to be fixed. My friends in ministries like International Friends and refugee ministries, you are doing great work – and we need to partner with you more in those ministries as we seek to reach out to and love on our minority population in this country.

“The Stoners”: What if, instead of seeing the weed legislation movements as “slacker stoners” wanting to toke in public, we recognized the reality that our “war on drugs” has not raised the price of drugs or limited access, but instead only succeeded in imprisoning more Americans than any other country in the world? We have a broken legal system that criminalizes the social and medical problem of addiction. In 2010, 1.64 million people were arrested for drug violations, 80% of those were for possession. A friend’s son took his own life before a mandatory minimum sentence would send him away to prison after a repeat possession charge. The cost of that to my friend is unmeasurable. Over 2.3 million people in the United States are imprisoned, over half of those for non-violent drug offenses. This is devastating the African American community (which plays into both the poverty and abortion problems in that community). I’m not saying legalization is the answer – in fact I think it isn’t, but maybe if we looked at the problem with sympathetic hearts and a willingness to work together toward solutions instead of cynical political goggles, we would join together to find a better solution. Big Brothers and Sisters does great work on the mentoring front, which helps prevent this problem, and Prison Fellowship does an excellent job once people are in prison, but there is room for us to minister alongside these groups to help this marginalized group.

“The Babies”: I’ve addressed this many times before (here, here and here), and my views on abortion are clear. Abortion is terrible and we are all paying a terrible price for it. But even if reversing Roe was a possibility, which I truly am not sure it will be  until there is a major worldview change (which comes from the inside), abortions didn’t start with Roe. My family was affected by abortion long before Roe v Wade. Abortions are a consequence of spiritual, family, and economic factors. When marriages are strengthened and divorce rates go down, the number of abortions go down. When women escape poverty, abortion rates go down. When the healthcare and childcare options for women improve, the number of abortions go down. When women are in community with people who care and feel supported and encouraged, abortion rates go down. When women find hope, abortion rates go down. Legislation is not the best answer to the abortion crisis. Jesus and the church is. Our crisis pregnancy centers have done more for life than any legal battle we have ever fought. Well done friends who are part of those powerful ministries. The church is starting to get this right – and we need to continue on that path.

There is a sense that America rejected God in the voting booth yesterday. But I think there is an argument that we as the Church rejected these groups first, either directly or through the party we have closely aligned ourselves to. Church we are not the Republican party. And by the way, we aren’t the Democratic party either. In fact, the parties may be hurting us not only in mindset but also in reputation. I think we need to remember that both political parties, and partisan media sources, have not only financial interest but ultimately derive power from us suspecting each other, fearing each other, and not compromising with each other. And that is the exact opposite of what our faith is about. We cannot let the “us versus them” mindset of the political landscape hijack our message of love for all people and grace by faith in Christ alone. In this political environment, if you disagree (or even compromise or seek to understand) you are the enemy. But Jesus taught us that we not only love our enemies but lay our lives down for them. We can disagree, but we must disagree well because we don’t just represent us, we represent Christ in us.

We also have to be careful with the reputation of our faith. We cannot let extreme personalities like Trump with his “I’m a real Christian” and his honorary doctorate from Liberty, alongside his twitter rants and conspiracy theories about long forms and secret Muslim allegiances, define us. And why do so many I know believe him, but we have a president who has claimed faith in Christ, but people discount that? People seem to be mourning as if all hope is lost and the President’s heart is beyond God’s realm of control. Instead, we should be praying that the Holy Spirit would convict and lead him. The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord, he turns it wherever he will. Prov 21:1. The President’s heart is in the hand of God – so when we pray, we can affect where it turns. That is power we have in Christ! We should be encouraged by it. We truly have no reason to fear.

It feels like we have forgotten that Jesus is our hope. Jesus alone.

My former pastor, Brandon Thomas, tweeted today “Bringing people to Jesus will build our great nation to its best days, no doubt! Life in Christ = love God, love others.” I say Amen. Max Lucado tweeted “Lord, please: Unite us. Strengthen us. Appoint and annoint our president.” I say Amen. I am not saying compromise on any of these things – nor are these pastors. I’m not saying change your vote or party alignment. I’m not saying you have to agree with the Left or the Right. I am saying let’s assume a position of humility in dealing with these really difficult issues and seek to understand each other so that we can reconcile with each other. I’m saying when we are kind, we lead people to Jesus, and we make our country stronger.

Courtesy CathNewsUSA.com

I’m visual – so I keep thinking of nuns (habits and all). Everyone knows what they believe. But how do you see them portrayed, even in liberal Hollywood? Positively. Why? Because they are known for helping people – for humbly working toward the good of the people around them. So they are beloved. We could learn from their example. We need better PR and we need a return to our true hope.

America is not the hope of the world. Neither is a political party. Jesus is. Church, let’s return to him and follow His lead in loving the hurting.

The Backup:

Dr. Russell Moore on a Christian response to the election: http://www.russellmoore.com/2012/11/07/christians-lets-honor-the-president/

Abortion statistics: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr60/nvsr60_07.pdf

Prison Statistics: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/20/americas-invisible-incarcerated-millions

Drug War Statistics: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/04/business/in-rethinking-the-war-on-drugs-start-with-the-numbers.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Childhood Poverty Statistics: http://www.nichd.nih.gov/

Dallas Theological Seminary Article on Homosexuality: http://www.dts.edu/read/5-failures-on-churchs-treatment-sexuality-5-ways-forward-jones-stanton/

Non-Christian Perceptions of Christianity: unchristian by Kinnamon and Lyons

Rich Stearns, CEO of WorldVision, author of The Hole in Our Gospel, wrote this response to the election: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-stearns/goodbye-christian-america-hello-true-christianity_b_2082649.html

Tim Keller on Signs of Political Idolatry: http://kellerquotes.com/the-signs-of-political-idolatry/

Ian Simkins on Politics and the Church: http://isimkins.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/politics/

This post has been shared far beyond anything I ever thought possible. Thank you for sharing. I want to clarify a few things. First of all – pretty much everyone I know, love, and respect is a conservative. I am not saying that every conservative feels this way or has responded this way since the election. Most people I love and many millions more have not. And although I am not in the liberal Christian circles, I’m sure there has been a ton of rhetoric in that camp as well. This post was intended as an encouragement for us, in the church, on both sides, to open our eyes to each other and shut off the rhetoric – to see that the things that unite us (a love for country, a love for God, a love for people, and a desire to achieve the best for our family and people we love) are far greater than the things that divide us (our differing ideas for how we achieve change in our country).  I believe in Christ we have hope and in Christ we are brothers and sisters and that disunity, even because of partisanship, is a tactic of our enemy. Thank you again for reading. 

486 thoughts on “Grieving and Hope After the Election

  1. Really really good, Jen!  Are you getting bombarded today???

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  2. Amen. Thank you you for posting this. I felt like I was missing something as we got closer and closer to the election….you have clarified some of the conflicting feelings I was having about these issues.

    • Thank you Laura for reading and commenting. I felt the same way. Kinda lonely, kinda confused, really prayerful, really sad and hurting but not quite sure why. I get it, and I certainly don’t know the answers – but I think we should be asking the hard questions. I’m now going to come check out your blog because I am an adoption-supporter/stalker of sorts. :)

    • Thank you for writing your post. So very well thought out and said! Let us as sisters and brothers in Christ go out into the world and offer what unites us, The Love Of God, The Gift Of Grace Through Christ Our Lord, and The Gift Of Forgiveness and The GIFT OF SALVATION! We should not waste our time on bickering and condemning one another. Let us go forth in the hope and promise of God empowered by the Holy Spirit to love because we have first been loved.

  3. Beautifully composed. Convicting – not condemning. Thank you for your boldness. Stand and keep standing.

  4. My thoughts are a bit long to post in a comment… please refer to my post regarding the church and her role in this….

  5. Pingback: The Election and the Church | Raising Freethinkers

  6. Hello Jen, this was an awesome blog. You were on point in so many things you said. Regardless of who we as believers supported in this election, our faith, hope and confidence should be in God – not man or a political party. If we believe the Lord is our light and salvation, there is no need to grieve. President Obama was reelected and I believe everything works out for the good of them who love the Lord. We need to pray for our president and other leaders and allow the Lord to use us to make disciples of Christ of all nations. God bless you!

    • Thank you for reading and commenting. I love how you put it – our light and our salvation. So grateful for that.

    • It is unfortunate that the reality of how bad things are and will become cannot seem to survive along with whitewashing facts with a blanket of faith. I too have faith, but also realize there are consequences to choices people make–and to the choice of this election–we will all pay the price in different ways for this loss of values and leadership–we can still believe–but look at the trials of Christians who believed, but the wicked rulers and leaders tormented, abused, and tried to destroy them anyway. I think blaming us for the evil in the country is naive at best–there are evil people, selfish people, prideful people, corrupt people–and we are not responsible for them and their choices–as the Savior said the poor will always be with us—we can’t keep kicking ourselves for that reality if we are still trying to be the best Christians we can be. But I don’t believe being a Christian means lying down and letting these groups ride over us and them blame ourselves. There is corruption and dishonesty at the highest levels of our government–so why are we afraid to acknowledge this? Unfortunately it seems you are buying what the Liberals are selling-White-Anglo/Saxon-Christian guilt. Do you think accepting all this guilt will help this nation?

  7. Thank you. You beautifully wrote what my heart and mind have been carrying around for the past three days.

  8. This is a wonderful post. Thank you!

  9. Thanks so much for this post.
    “When the healthcare and childcare options for women improve, the number of abortions go down. ” I agree, and in the category of healthcare options I would include birth control, which dramatically decreases the number of abortions.

    • Hi Julie – thanks for commenting. I agree with you. I have friends doing missions work in other countries and the women there are so grateful for the gift of birth control. For me and my world – it is so accessible we forget what a gift it is to be able to do family planning. It isn’t that way in many of our poorer areas and I know that is a struggle for many many women.

      • It is absolutely untrue that abortions decrease with the use of birth control. in fact, according to the Guttmacher institute half of all abortions are from failed contraception. Furthermore, contraception has fed our ‘get it now, i have absolutely no self control culture’. in the event that someone is not on the pill often times the 2 people engaging will not wait to get a condom/barrier because they have no self control. NFP is 99.9% effective, 100% free, and 100% green. i don’t understand why people are so against NFP. it is amazing and you are working with God and nature not against nature and God. i would be interested in your opinion on this. thanks.

  10. Thank you. You eased the pain and sadness in my heart and mind. Beautiful post.

  11. Wow. You communicated the Gospel beautifully here! These are words the church needs to hear because they remind us who we really are and what our role needs to really be in this world. Thanks!

  12. Pingback: My Election Thoughts | A Place Deep In My Heart

  13. Pingback: After the Election | Grassstains.net

  14. I am an atheist and a Democrat, so we may not have very much in common, but I just wanted to write and say how much I appreciated and respected your post. I think you really spoke to how the church sometimes gets viewed by outsiders. In the past, I haven’t understood how a church devoted to man who preached respect and love for all people – even those whose beliefs or practices differed from their own – seemed so bent on condemning and legally restricting those who didn’t fit into the ideal view the church held of what a person should be.

    A woman considering an abortion is in a terrible, vulnerable, heartbreaking position – it is not an easy or casual choice. Why is it so important to legally restrict her options? Why not put all our money and resources and efforts into helping her, giving her hope and options and support? Why not do good works to prevent more women from being put in that position? Why not lead by example, and not by persecution? There is so much here that we all – Democrat, Republican, atheist, Christian – agree on. Let’s put our energy into that, and stop so much fighting.

    If two men love each other, isn’t their personal right to choose how to live their life, and to live it without fear or persecution as long as they are doing no harm to others, isn’t that a more precious cause than the abstract definition of what constitutes a marriage? To look two people in the eye and tell them that this word, this institution, “marriage,” means more to you than your belief that they, as people, are equal and upright citizens, that they should be allowed to choose their own path – how can you call yourself a Christian?

    While I may not believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ, I do hold many of the same teachings he espoused as truths for myself. I may not believe in what you preach, but I would stand by you and fight for your right to be able to preach it at the top of your lungs! Why would you not do the same for me? You may not believe that two men can love each other, but surely you believe they have the right to make the choice of who they love, as long as it is mutual and consenting?

    I think that if gathering more followers is important to your cause, you must answers these questions, both for yourselves and for many you are trying to reach. It is easy to talk among friends who agree with you and rail at the other side (many of us on both sides are guilty of that), but it is much more fruitful to have these conversations than it is to isolate yourselves and have no dialog with the other side.

    Thank you for your brave thoughts.

    • I am so grateful you read my post and so honored you posted. I agree with you. We must do better – not just to attract more followers, but to be honorable people (modeling Christ in my case). I love these kind of dialogues and I’m convinced we have more in common than what divides us. Thank you for your brave post. Completely made my day.

    • Wow! I love the response from ‘Anonymous Atheist’. I quit going to church a couple years ago because I absolutely could not stand the hypocrisy I was hearing and seeing. I could not believe that so-called Christians were standing in judgement of so many people and issues. Isn’t “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” one of the gold standards of Christianity? Well, I’m not seeing that in action. Christians need to understand that they do not have the corner on values and morality. The atheists I know are some of the kindest, most loving, caring and generous people I’ve ever encountered. While Christ may be the answer for some, it is not the only way to being a good person. People should do good not out of fear of punishment, but just because it’s the right thing to do!

      • Hi Lori – thank you for posting. I agreed with a good portion of ‘AA’ as well, and I understand why the perception is that we Christians feel like we have the corner on values and morality. And if I’m being honest – it’s because of one of the core beliefs of our faith.

        We believe that only through Christ can someone live a full life, forever.

        Now, we have used that as a fear tactic to try to scare people into belief – and for that I am so sorry. We have used that to judge others as “less righteous,” and i am so sorry. We have used that to construct all kinds of rules that make us feel better, and I’m so sorry.

        The Bible teaches clearly that there are none righteous. But we still think we are – I struggle with thinking I’m more pure than others. And that’s wrong.

        So when I, and other people who love the Lord, keep coming back to Christ, it may come across unloving and judgmental. And I am deeply sorry for that. That is truly not my intent. But I think we continue to bring things back to Christ because we believe He is at the center of it all – and we believe we all need him.So we want to be faithful to tell people that and extend the offer of faith to everyone on the chance that is something they want.

        So does that help you see the other side of it? We’ve so handled it badly, and I probably handled it badly even in this post. But that’s the deal. Thank you for posting. I hope this came across in the spirit it was intended – and that is reconciliation. I am so grateful you visited the blog today. I love the conversation.

    • We believe, say, and do, not because of ourselves, but because these are God’s thoughts, views, and commandments. To do the things you have spoken about, would be to turn our backs on what God, through His Word, has taught and commanded for us to do and not do.

      I know you can’t understand this about us, but you would if you were to turn your life over to the one who will one day show you, all of us for that matter, in living color…the truth. I would not, at that point want to be on the outside.

      God loves you and will grieve at the loss of you…

  15. READ the book of ROMANS ..enough said..if you are a true believer not even Christian, because everyone nowadays uses that title it would be no need for this blog entry. God has in the White House who he wants there. He is judging this country and every true believer in Jesus Christ knows this.. I will continue to look up and pray for the blessed Rapture. We are to be in this world but not of this world. I pray that God has mercy on this country.

    • I have several kids through Compassion International and I see the hardships they face everyday and my heart aches for them, and mostly because of them I also pray for Jesus’ return. This world is really hard, especially on the extremely poor, and I long for them to get relief and the protection they deserve.

  16. As a liberal with many conservative Christian family members and friends, I have struggled during this election (and the last) when hearing comments that sounded very un-Christian to me.
    Thank you so much for your post, and for addressing these issues with clarity and research. Above someone said ‘these are words the church really needs to hear’, I would add that they are words those outside the church need to hear as well, to feel better knowing that we all still want what is best for our fellow man and for our country. As complex and difficult to solve as our problems are, when we have that common ground, we can accomplish great things. I really enjoyed reading something I wouldn’t have normally run across. Thanks again.

    • Hi Megan,

      It has been a bit loud this election cycle, hasn’t it? I’ve struggled too. I just kept getting sad, and at first I couldn’t pinpoint why. But you are right – much that has been said is not very Christian. I think both parties are filled with people who do want what is best for the country, they just don’t see eye to eye about how to accomplish it, and distance creates suspicion and fear. And unfortunately we have a media and parties that are financially invested in us not compromising and seeing eye to eye and in increasing that fear. So it’s a tangled mess. But you are right – we do have common ground, and we do have hope. I am glad you read the blog and glad you posted. Thanks for taking the time.

  17. Jen, I cannot ‘like’ this post enough. It’s being shared like wildfire on Facebook right now. Thank you for giving an eloquent, grace-filled voice to the Christian left.

    • Thank you for your comment. I tried hard to give a voice to the other side, both Christian and non-Christian… and i’m glad it came across as grace-filled. And I looked at your blog – and will definitely be visiting it again. So much fun stuff! Thank you for commenting.

  18. I think in many ways the Church IS indeed showing love to all the groups mentioned in the article – but that the focus of society and the media tends to overlook that.

    • You absolutely have a valid point. There is a tremendous amount of good the church does. What we may not do enough is distance ourselves loudly from the extremists (Pat Robertson, Trump, people who casually use the word Christian to isolate and exclude). But, point taken. I know many ministries on the ground doing great work and they certainly don’t get the recognition they deserve. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

  19. I saw a link to this piece on Facebook, posted by a dear cousin of mine. And I think you’ve written a reflective piece, which I enjoyed reading and thinking about, so I thank you for that.

    But still there’s something that I can’t quite get to work here, in terms of the basic structure of the piece, so I thought I’d try to put that feeling into words to see if I’ve missed something.

    At one level, it seems like your basic approach is to make a suggestion about why the Republicans didn’t win, anchored in the failure of a certain kind of church to embrace a particular set of people and issues. And I agree with you that many churches aren’t very Christian, if you’ll accept that characterization of your words.

    But on the other hand, there are a lot of churches in the US that seem to take exactly the views you are longing for. For example: There are churches that acknowledge the complexities of poverty; there are churches that realize the Bible doesn’t require the view that homosexuality is sinful; there are churches that support the Dream Act; there are churches that think the retribution of prison isn’t appropriate for non-violent crimes like drug possession; and there certainly are churches that realize legislation is not a sensible strategy to reduce abortions.

    Members of those churches turned out in force yesterday, and their guy won. (Please don’t take this as gloating; I’m not a Democrat.)

    When I think about those churches and the views they take, and when I think about what you’re longing for in your reflective writings here, I lose track of what the problem is. Everything you seem to hope the church would do is being done by a lot of churches, and those values are going to be carried forward by the president.

    Is it possible that you’re going to the wrong church?

    • Curt, I am so grateful that you posted and asked this question. And you are absolutely right – there is a “slant” to what I’ve written. I wrote it for the people I knew, and this post has been shared more than I ever imagined so it has spread far out of my circle (which is exciting, humbling and a little scary). So to clarify – the circle that I am in, is in the South, predominately baptist churches and other really “conservative” evangelical types. Almost everyone I know falls into this world. And they are overwhelmingly Republican – they love their country and they are passionate but they have a decided worldview. And I have actually heard, many times, even by some Pastors, that there is “no room for a Christian in the Democratic party.” Now I don’t agree with that – in fact, I partially wrote this to address that because I think it is a very unhealthy viewpoint. I don’t think our faith can be defined by our politics. And when we start boxing things in – I think it is dangerous. Our faith is it – period.

      I am grateful you are in a church following Jesus in loving on the poor. And I personally am in a church that is learning what freedom in Christ really means and following Jesus. But I think we as men are like the Pharisees – sometimes we’re really good at recognizing the sin in others and not in ourselves. Where I am there is a cultural christianity that isn’t necessarily gospel-based, and I think we are realizing that and slowly moving out of it. We have many things right – but “there is none righteous – not even one” and that certainly applies. Both of our churches – right-leaning and left-leaning – are recipients perfect grace. So does that make sense? Does that give this context?

      And no – I don’t take what you are saying as gloating at all – in fact I completely understand. I truly love and respect our President and understand why a person would vote for him.

      I was trying really hard to keep this from being partisan because I think that’s where we get tangled up. These are deep waters and people are deeply passionate about these things – even party affiliations. So I was trying not to step on too many toes but just ask hard questions.

      I am so grateful for you post and the opportunity to clarify a bit. Have a great week and thank you for reading.

    • I couldn’t agree more. All you have to do is look at the demise of the Roman Empire to see why the Democrats won. You can play the blame game all you want …but in the end, it’s the moral demise of this nation that will be our ruin. Christians are doing their duty. But they are being vastly outnumbered by those who want to live and breathe in moral relativism.

      • I don’t think the moral demise of a nation and moral relativism and a vote for the Democratic party are synonymous. The Republican party is not the party of righteousness. There are righteous ideas on both sides. We lose the battle for the lost when we fail to engage them in a loving way where they want to hear about our Savior. And I’d rather have a strong church in a collapsing nation than a strong nation with a weak church.

      • I politely disagree, Sylvie. If Christians were truly doing their duty as you suggest, this country (and the world) would be vastly different – as Jen suggests. As Jen points out, Jesus at NO time condemned anyone EXCEPT the religious leaders of the day. Instead, He loved everyone unconditionally – as they were, not as He wanted them to be. He made no efforts to change anyone’s beliefs or behaviors through brute force or rule of law – which He easily could have done. Instead, He led by example and used education and compassion as His tools, but never forgot the importance of free will. Why? Because (as I understand it at least) being compliant is not the same as being faithful – a point He regularly made when holding up the gentiles as examples for Jews.

        He also regularly pointed out both that no human is without sin and that no human can ever know God’s plan in full. As such, who are we to condemn one another under any circumstances? As we are all fond of saying, God DOES work in mysterious ways. Sometimes the only way God can reach us is through allowing us to make unfortunate choices. After all, it was through prostitution that God reached Mary Magdalene. Had Jesus simply followed the law and allowed her to be stoned, do you think she would have been saved? I, for one, doubt it. I think the same principle applies to abortion, drug use, etc. Regardless of how horrible we may find people’s behaviors to be, our job is NOT to judge them, condemn their behaviors, or even try to change them. Our job (or duty as you call it) is to love and support them unconditionally and allow God to work through our love and compassion.

        Clearly we are not doing that. As Jen points out If we Christians were truly doing our duty, we would not need ‘hand outs’ because we would already be willingly supporting one another. We would be willing to set aside our needs and desires to help those around us (remember the rich man, the camel, and the needle?) Instead, we Christians tend to pat ourselves on the back for being ‘righteous’. We make a spectacle of donating relatively small amounts of time or money to help the needy, but then spend ridiculous amounts of money pampering ourselves with luxuries.

        If we were doing our duty, we would not need to overturn Roe v. Wade because the conditions that lead to most abortions would simply not exist. Further we would not condemn women who seek an abortion or doctors who perform them, instead we would continue to love them unconditionally and would leave judgement to God knowing that only He is worthy to do so.

        If we were doing our duty, we would not have such a vociferous divide over religion in this country that has necessitated the more and more rigid enforcement of our Constitutional separation of church and state. Instead we would remember that faith is not a team sport, but rather a personal relationship with God that should never be a point of competition. (e.g., “I’m clearly a better Christian than you because I pray in public”). Instead, we would focus on God’s individual plan for us – knowing that no two people have the same path the follow.

        I can go on and on… but I’m hoping this is sufficient to make my point. Christians are NOT doing their duty. One only need look at the hate-filled rhetoric and overtly selfish and greedy behaviors of ostensibly Christian people like Fred Phelps, Pat Robertson, etc.

        • Eric – I don’t know how I missed your wonderful comment before today (well I do – it’s been insane). But friend – thank you. Very gracious, accurate, true comment. When we look at tithing statistics, and even worse, the church’s spending of the tithe they do receive, we see in stark terms that we are off base. Here’s data (and it is from 2007 so for those who want to say that the “imprecatory” taxation of Christians under Obama have reduced tithing), you will see this spelled out. Of COURSE the government is having to step in. Here’s the info. Thanks for your kind comment. I am praying for the deepest and truest revival, in the church, that we have ever known. http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/18-congregations/41-new-study-shows-trends-in-tithing-and-donating

      • While we’re on the subject of moral relativism, worshiping Mammon as the Republican Party does is easily as much of a problem as any issue with the Democrats.

        • Haha. “Sorry but” just may have dropped some truth! I certainly struggle with the worship of mammon and I think in our country, it is an easy thing to fall into and just get stuck in forever without even knowing it.

          And i laughed at your (what I think is probably fake) email address. Classic. Thanks for commenting.

      • Mammon (excessive materialism) is a problem Americans have in general, regardless of political affiliation. And not just Americans, many countries have people that live with many luxuries. I do not think that politics has anything to do with it.

  20. WOW! Really well written and convicting! I have sent this to several of my Pastor friends and asked them to read your post this weekend.

    Thanks for articulating so well what many of us think. We are not Red or Blue… there is a third way! Kind of sounds like Jesus :)

  21. Well written article, so true. It has helped me deal with the election results. I am praying even harder for God to guide the elected officials.

    • Awesome Gary! Those poor men and women need our prayer – they have quite a mess to clean up! I too am praying – I am asking the Lord to give them wisdom and humble spirits. I am hopeful!

  22. What a powerful, heartfelt post. Thank you for putting into words what I have felt in my heart for months. As I read, it was as if you had taken the words from my heart and made sense of them. I am sharing and I hope that many will see through their bitterness and open their eyes … and hearts to what our country needs. I am including two quotes that have guided my life. Both seem to be fitting of our current time and I hope they strike a chord with you… they have meant much to me.

    “A man is called selfish not for pursuing his own good, but for neglecting his neighbor’s.” Richard Whately (1 February 1787 – 8 October 1863) an English rhetorician, logician, economist, and theologian

    “Open your eyes and look for some man or some work for the sake of man that takes a little time, a little friendliness, a little human toil… see if there is not someplace that you may invest your humanity.” Dr. Albert Schweitzer

    • I love both of those quotes. Thank you for sharing and for commenting. And I think bitterness is a good word – there is a ton of that, isn’t there. I kept thinking it was anger, just simmering under the surface. But bitterness may be a better description. And that is just not good for our souls. I am praying that people would be freed from feeling the weight of trying to defend God through legislation or political action. We honor him with our lives – we don’t have to bear the weight of fighting his battles. Thanks for your comment.

  23. I posted something of a similar nature on my blog today: http://www.broken-bride.com . This election is a call to the church to change…to engage in costly discipleship.

  24. I thought I just commented but maybe not (since I didn’t see it show up here). Here’s what I said. I posted something similar on my blog today. This election is a call to the church to do something different, to practice “costly discipleship.” http://www.broken-bride.com/less-feathers-and-more-twine/

  25. Jen, I know a lot of churches and para church organizations that try to care for the needy and love others. You are overlooking this.

    In our country, we have two options politically: Democrat of Republican. If you voted Republican, that does not mean you are not compassionate for the needy. Our country has a major, major debt and we desperately need to reform our welfare system, as well as other benefits/entitlements. Being responsible finacially will mean we have to say “no” to some things, but it would be for our country’s financial health. Furthermore, the Democratic party has literally adopted a pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage stance in their party platform. Both of these contradict what I believe and it makes it hard to align myself with this party.

    What do you mean by standing with the gay community as an ally rather than declaring war on them? Who has declared war on them? Is it war on them if you do not believe in gay marriage? Are we not allowed to try to pass legislation that is pro-family, pro-traditional marriage or is this considered not loving? I go to what would be considered a very conservative, Bible-believing, evangelical church and I never hear anyone declaring war on gays. From the pulpit, when the topic has come up (ie when preaching through Romans), it seems there is always an effort to teach that we love people, respect others, but this is what Scripture teaches as well as what it teaches about a number of sins that we all struggle with. I have seen friends who have posted on facebook that Christians should be to blame for gay teen suicides. I feel Christians’ words and intentions get twisted very easily in this arena. I guess I feel like we are getting to the point where we cannot speak the truth at all without severe criticism. (BTW, I do not want to get into a Biblical exposition of homosexuality.)

    Just some thoughts. Thanks for your article.

    • I won’t get into the Biblical exposition – don’t worry. Far greater minds than mine have to dig into that one. But I think the culture war, for decades, especially against homosexuals, is absolutely a perception that most of the world holds. And when it comes to reputation, perception is reality. I know most of us don’t see it. But it is the perception of the world we are sent to reach, so I think we have to try to see it.

      On the bottom of my post I linked to a Dallas Theological Seminary session dealing with the culture war that gets into some good facts about the history of how the church has handled homosexuality if you have time to look into that. And that is from a VERY conservative theologically sound source. Also, Christian blogger Rachel Held Evans wrote something about this a few months ago that I found compelling, although she is not as conservative as the DTS source (http://rachelheldevans.com/win-culture-war-lose-generation-amendment-one-north-carolina).

      I think we have to follow Jesus’ lead on things like this – and he did not establish an earthly kingdom or try to use the government to change people. We Christians do that so often. Instead he held the hands of the hurting and ate with them and got to know them. The fact is, the more we get to know the lost world, the more we love them, and the more we impact them.

      On the legislation front, I guess I’d ask when is enough enough? And as the church as a whole and when it comes to our reputation, are we benefited when that is what we are known for? And more importantly, is the name of Christ honored? A few years ago when California was considering a proposition around homosexual marriage, I read about the fundraising going on all over the country to fight the proposed legislation. Organizations with Christian backing rolled into action. And it struck me as odd. I couldn’t help but put myself in the shoes of people living in that area. What if they don’t have churches on every corner like they do in the south where I live? What if, literally, the only contact they have had with a Christian in the past year was through the money Christians were sending to try to influence a vote on marriage rights? What does that tell them about Christians, or Jesus?

      I don’t know the answer. I know legislation is important – without it there is anarchy. I just don’t think that should be the primary weapon we use to fight against evil in our world, when we know that the Spirit of the Lord is more powerful. And the Spirit of the Lord is freedom, not bondage. It is love, not shame. And can those values be communicated through a worldly institution like government?

      Anyway – those are my thoughts. Hope it clarifies. Thanks for your comment.

      • Like many others, I got here through a Facebook link. As an atheist, fiercely pro-choice, San Francisco liberal with happily married gay friends, I couldn’t agree more. Er… maybe that’s not the kind of endorsement you want :) but you are right that my main impression of right-wing Christians is when they are in the news being hateful and fighting for anti-gay laws or calling women sluts for speaking up about birth control. They are very loud about these insults and very quiet about any acts of charity and love they may be performing. There’s also a strong anti-science strain to evangelism (creationism, climate change denial, etc.) which, frankly, terrifies me for the future of our country.

        I’m also glad to hear you say legislation should not be the primary “weapon”. In the US, I don’t see Jews, Muslims, Hindus, or any other religion trying to use the legal system to force me to follow their church’s rules against my will, only Christians. So of course I feel threatened and defensive!

        On the other hand, I give money to Heifer International, which does overseas development work, and receive their newsletter every month. It is so refreshing to read about a Christian group that does not say one word about how XYZ type of people are evil, sinful, going to hell, etc., and instead spends its energies actually helping the poor with no religious strings attached. It gives me a vastly better impression of Christianity.

        Honestly, it’s very unlikely I’m going to change my mind on religion or hot-button social issues, but if evangelicals would be less vicious in the public sphere I certainly might change my mind about the church being all about hate. Though I understand that many folks may not care about my opinion, which is your right.

        • Hummingbear I am so glad you posted – thank you! I love Heifer International. They and WorldVision (along with many others) do SUCH a good job of staying above the fray and doing good work around the world. I do care about your opinion, and am thankful you were so honest. I am hopeful that we as people who proclaim Christ can act a little more like him in the future. Geez.

          Not to convert you – but to encourage you – my church, which is tiny, is not about hate. My pastor preaches that we are to be a friend to all, love all, and give of ourselves to all. He himself spent the day yesterday with a family in our community whose son had attempted to take his own life – not to convert them but to comfort them. So it’s not all bad out here in Christianity – although we’ve certainly not done a good enough job of being about the right things for the right reason.

          Thank you for commenting and reading with an open heart and mind. I absolutely don’t take that for granted.

    • Molly, I totally agree. Especially this statement: “I guess I feel like we are getting to the point where we cannot speak the truth at all without severe criticism. “

      • Hi kappaluppa. I think we can absolutely speak the truth, but with love. And I’m not sure about your circle, but in mine I’ve seen a ton of stuff that is unloving because if politics this election cycle. If you aren’t seeing that and hearing it, that’s wonderful. But I was, my heart was breaking, so I wrote this. Going back to the Barna study I noted. Nonchristians don’t perceive us as loving, they perceive us as “anti-homosexual.” So our truth is getting expressed, in a terribly unloving way. I hope I’m communicating clearly. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • To Molly, when you ask “Who has declared war on them [the LGBT]?” you have to understand that many have literally attacked this community. Fred Phelps in Kansas (where I am from) preaches regularly that “God hates fags” (apologies for the harsh language but those are his words not mine.) He and his family picket funerals of American soldiers killed in Iraq, and they infamously picketed the funeral of Mathew Shepard (http://www.nndb.com/people/705/000052549/). I am not IN ANY WAY suggesting that you are connected to these terrible acts, but this is what people mean when they refer to the “war” on the gay community. It isn’t really a misperception, or words and intentions that get twisted. Many outspoken people are actually saying very hateful things. There are countless examples. I feel what Jen was getting at in her original post is how unfortunate it is that these outspoken extremists are defining the tone for all of Christianity.
      You should speak the truth as you see it, and I think you definitely have a right to believe that homosexuality is a sin in the eyes of God. I think what is difficult sometimes to accept is that the LGBT community has heard this message and they do not agree. They do not accept or believe that their lifestyle is wrong. We all do our best to be good people, to seek guidance from wise and meaningful sources. Non-Christians and Christians alike thrive in a supportive community, in supportive families. We do all of this in hopes of becoming people that make good choices. And we have to trust each other to make those personal choices. In the end we cannot make decisions for other people, we can only be supportive parts of different communities. So for those in support of LGBT rights, it is hard to understand why a Christian would not just use their beliefs as a way of making their own personal decisions; it is difficult to understand why people wish to legislate against letting others live their lives differently.
      I assume it must come down to a discomfort toward the other lifestyle. But we understand that there are different religions out there, that people pray to different Gods and follow different teachings, and we have come to be comfortable with that. We understand that people have the right to practice what they believe. Could this issue of homosexuality not be the same? I understand why it might be hard to hear when you feel strongly that being gay is a sin, but those that are gay do have families. They have very loving families. And they need your support. They need you to allow them to be part of strong communities that foster healthy people who grow into wise individuals. Legislation is not pro-family when it is only “pro” one specific kind of family; it does not address the reality that there are other kinds of families out there. And much like abortion, when you make these types of families illegal, they do not go away. They feel isolated and unloved.
      I don’t mean to sound combative, I hope that isn’t how this comes across. I am very respectful of your opinion. I would like to better understand where people with opposite views from mine are coming from. I mostly wanted to respond to you specifically in order to point out those voices of the anti-gay movement that are using the concept of Christianity in very negative ways, so that you might understand that those of us on the other side (those in support of gay marriage) are not condemning you for your religious beliefs or freedoms – we are simply condemning this message of hate. (and asserting that other people have the right to hold different beliefs).
      I think what you are hearing on facebook regarding teen suicides is based on severe bullying. Bullying has become a huge problem, in no way by fault of the Christian Church, but a problem none the less. We have to be very careful that when we teach our children certain beliefs that we also teach them tolerance.
      Thanks again to Jen for writing in such as way as to engage a large population of people sharing views, however different, in a respectful way. Jen it is by your example that this feed has remained (abnormal to the internets!) productive and constructive. So impressive. An analogy to your entire post!

      • Oh Megan – Westboro Baptist Church has done immeasurable damage to the church. I SO agree. I go to a loving wonderful Baptist church (nothing remotely like what they espouse) and we have actually considered changing our name because of all the hate they have presented to the world. I agree that the perception is real and has some pretty significant backing. Yes we face a hostile media – but we give them PLENTY of ammo.

        Isolating and unloving contributes to our societal problem. Absolutely. In my world – the “Christianese” one – I often call it the tactic of our enemy. If he can get us isolated, and get us feeling unloved, he has us. We are ineffective. And when we use these tactics – we aren’t following Christ.

        Thank you for your perspective, and thank you for your comment at the end. I agree that this has been remarkably respectful. I have “moderated” a few things – mostly people saying I am not a Christian and blasting all of you who came here to share – but it has been 98% positive. So thank you all.

      • They do not believe because they cannot believe. Romans 1:18 thru 32 provides the explaination.

        • I think I like Krishna’s approach better, Teresa:

          I, the Eternal Inhabitant, am equal in all existences, none is dear to Me, none hated; yet those who turn to Me with love and devotion, they are in Me and I also in them.
          (Bhagavad Gita Chapter 9, Verse 29)

          • Dear Derek Chin,
            I’m glad you have taken a stand…cause I always say, stand for something or you will fall for anything!

            Now that you have made this decision, would you be willing to stake your life and eternal soul that Krishna’s way is the right path for eternal happiness? Wait now, we are talking ETERNAL, that includes after you die.

  26. Jen,

    I found this article through a friend, and I’m so glad I did. I wholeheartedly agree with others that I can’t ‘like’ this article enough.

    This came at an excellent time. As a christian and very much liberal, I have been on the defense for a few weeks, as I desperately wanted Obama reelected for the advancement of our country. But within all of my passion, anger crept in – and of course that is a dangerous place to be.

    I shared this on my facebook, and many other friends shared it as well. So, I just wanted you to know that many have read it and been encouraged – thank you so very much for writing this.

    You have reignited my excitement for loving Christ, blogging, and learning more. I feel very encouraged and empowered.

    I love, love, love this post. I want to go into all of the specifics that I love, but that will become very lengthy – so I will just leave these general remarks.

    Again, thank you.

    Charlesia

    • Charlesia,

      Thank you for reading it, sharing it, and commenting. It was easy to read the posts and get mad, wasn’t it? I’m pretty middle so I found myself getting frustrated with both sides! It was ugly and I was being ugly, frankly. But then the Lord calmed me down and I realized that we were all buying into a battle that probably isn’t one we should even be fighting in that way – especially those of us who believe in the same God. So out of those thoughts came this – and I’m so honored and grateful that it reignited your excitement for loving Christ, blogging, and learning more. That makes me happy. What a great tool this blogging platform is to be able to encourage each other. I love the Lord for stuff like that. Thank you for your comment. I don’t know where you live but I feel like you’re a person I could go have coffee with, so if you’re ever in the Keller, TX area, give me a shout! Have a great week.

      • Jen,

        I’m from Kansas City, Missouri but go to Kansas State – but if I’m ever in Keller, TX – I’ll let you know.

        You have definitely gained a faithful follower of your blog – look forward to future posts.

        Enjoy the weekend.

        Charlesia

  27. It makes me sad that we are viewed as the evil. I agree we should all help and try to understand each other more, but I think this article overlooks the fact that people on the other end aren’t all homophobic rich guys who want women to wear heels and pearls and clean all day.

    I believe that the campaign on both ends was cut throat, and full of deception.

    As a woman who is caucasion/Hispanic, Christian and educated because I worked to put myself through college, I believe that any women in this country is stronger than she believes and lucky to call herself an American where we really do have the opportunity to be great .I do not feel that we are struggling more in society as the Democrat platform suggested. I feel that the campain painted a picture of us as victims when we are anything but. I do not necessarily feel that either side cared more than the other, one just knew what would get votes.

    I feel that I love all types of people and that though my biblical teaching tell me what sins are, that I too am a sinner and am not here to judge the lifestyle choices of others.

    This election was made out to be about human rights, we forgot about the bigger picture. How are we going to continue to help anyone when we can no longer protect ourselves or sustain our basic needs? This administration might be capable of showing concern for causes, but also attacks many things that contribute to our countries ability to help others. (Industry, businesses, Free enterprise, not over taxing those who contribute to the programs that help those in need ..)
    If we continue to have more and more people dependant upon the help of others, there may not be anyone left to help. That’s scary. So while I agree with the fact that evangelical type Christians are losing focus on the human cause (which I agree is heart breaking), I also believe that they are tired, and worried that the money for these “good deeds” on the other end has to come from somewhere. 15 trillion dollars is so much money… And that’s just 4 years. Lies about terrorist attacks aren’t small potatoes either. So while some might find a safe haven, others of us are scared to death. Doctors are reconsidering their professions because they are being made out to be bad guys for wanting a paycheck for doing their job.

    I don’t know what else to say. I just don’t believe the picture the media has painted of the losing side is quite correct. I didn’t vote the way I did to take away the rights of Americans. I voted for the other guys I. hopes that we could dig ourselves out of a hole and get back on our feet. I’m scared to see the shape of things in 4 more years, and I hope to God I am wrong. I will continue to seek the answers in God, help others when I can and hope the America where people have all the opportunity they could want will continue to exist. I will continue to pray we can all meet in the middle.

    • Hi Jackie –

      Pretty much everyone I love and respect is Republican, so I know that they aren’t homophobic rich guys wanting women to wear heels (although my husband does want me to wear heels more often). I absolutely am not saying that – and if that is what you perceived, I apologize. I was just trying to get one side (the side I am surrounded by) to see another view of the other side (the side that isn’t as present in the churches and communities around where I live in Dallas). Does that make sense? I was directly addressing the things I was seeing on FB from the Christian right.

      There are certainly misconceptions on both sides. Absolutely. There are as many misconceptions about Republicans as there are about Democrats. We have a divisive media, and truly, divisive parties, that have financial interest in us suspecting each other, fearing each other, and not compromising with each other. And what I was trying to do in this blog was get us to see that for what it is – a completely worldly, and not at all Godly, viewpoint.

      I agree there are major problems in our world. We need God to give our leaders wisdom and humility on both sides to fix the huge problems we have. I believe both Democrats and Republicans in our country genuinely want the best for our country – they just have fundamentally different viewpoints for how to get there.

      But I wasn’t addressing republicans to make them feel bad. I was simply addressing the church. We are not fully fulfilling our purpose to love people and shine the light of Christ to the world. And that is our purpose – to bring Him glory. It is why we were made. And if our partisanship makes us angry or bitter or hateful toward an entire segment of people – we are letting our partisanship overwhelm our calling and our purpose. We are off track.

      So no – you aren’t evil if you vote Republican. You aren’t evil if you vote Democrat. But if being Republican or Democrat defines us – we’re probably off track. We as Christ followers are supposed to primarily give allegiance to His kingdom.

      Make more sense? And just a personal note. Your post sounds worried and concerned – and I want to encourage you. Our hope is in the Lord and even if the worst case scenarios for our country do happen (which I am praying they will not), anything that gets to you has to go through God, and He has a purpose in all things. The Bible tells us hundreds of times to not fear. So I hope that the Lord will speak comfort to you and peace to your heart. He is absolutely in control and there is no reason to fear.

      Thanks for commenting – hope I cleared up what I missed before. Jen

  28. I do agree with you on much of your beliefs in helping others. I hope my first response doesn’t seem an attack (:

  29. maybe we could also see that God is always in control, the christian was elected

    • Absolutely. I agree. God is absolutely in control. And so many question his Christianity, but for me personally, it hasn’t been an issue. I believe him when he says he believes. It gives me great hope. So thanks for your comment.

      • I’m not sure God is in ‘full’ or ‘absolute” control. We have ‘free will’ and God/Universe/Divine Power offers us the tools and the ingredients to live our lives. It sets the stage and it’s up to use to chose a path through this journey in life and it’s up to us to listen. Sometimes we can’t forget, we are our own agent.

        • You know I completely respect your views on this, which are different from mine. It gives me comfort to believe He’s in control – but I understand how for others that would be freaky or too intrusive. I do believe we have choice – and we do need to choose wise paths, and we will face consequences where we don’t. I just believe there is a big grace bubble of God’s comfort and protection that surrounds us. Which doesn’t make much sense when I type it. :) But here’s what I want you to know – I don’t hate you for believing different. I’m thankful you posted your viewpoint. And if I, or the church that I love, have ever expressed anything but love to you, I am sorry. We believe in a God of grace and love, even when we don’t preach him so perfectly.

          • Hello again, thanks for your reply. I really appreciate your opinion, as we are entitle to. Freaky, yes indeed! I’m grateful for the unconventional/freaky school of thought, such as Galileo who was shun by the Church for his invention of the telescope and studies in astronomy, which gave way to humankind’s curiously to enter space. And Newton’s law of gravity. Plato, Aristotle, for their philosophical school of thought, and let’s not forget the Roman’s advancement in engineering. These are figures with unconventional and freaky ideas. There’s no one religion, life’s far more complicated than that. This is what makes us all unique. God created us unique. The Divinity is far more pure and eons away from our capacity of understanding. And we human beings are not capable in knowing all the answers – it’s called tolerance, and having more than one educated opinion. The more one person is open, the more questions one has. And that’s something I find comfort in. Oh, trust me, I believe in God and I believe in the Universe, no offense here. WE all need to learn to be open to more than one perspective. If not, how can one grow and develop, and live its full potential? Life’s about chance, and I assure from my studies of the Old and New Testament, there was substantial amount of chance and development in the scriptures, from the time of Adam and Eve, Nora’s Ark, and by the New Testament, which brings about teaching of Redemption which was taught by the Jesus movement. There isn’t one way of doing things, and there isn’t one way of thought.

  30. This is excellent. Thank you for voicing many of the same things I’ve had in my own heart concerning the way people within the Body of Christ have acted. I appreciate your words and will share this post with others; seems that many friends of mine on FB are in despair because of an election! I pray many our Lord would continue shining his light through us, so that others would be lead to his feet. God bless you, sister!

    • “That others would be lead to his feet.” LOVE that. that’s actually one of my favorite visuals of Christ. Just laying myself, my junk and my tiredness down at His feet, and receiving comfort. Thanks for posting and sharing.

  31. Pingback: Grieving and Hope After the Election « The 27:17 Project

  32. ~ very poignant article…white, American, evangelicals need to realize that many faithful, Biblical Christ-followers–especially non-white evangelicals–voted for Obama because they see the justice issues (such as leaving children in poverty to die a slow death) is just as immoral as abortion, and, be it true or not, they believe the Democratic party better addresses these issues. (And trusting in the Democratic party to do so is no different than those who actually believe the Republican party better addresses “Christian” issues). It is time for the Church to start being the true People of God, to get out of bed with either political party, and start living as a counter-cultural, grace-filled, Spirit-led, alternative and alluring community of compassion, freedom, and joy in Christ.

    • “Start living as a counter-cultural, grace-filled, Spirit-led, alternative and alluring community of compassion, freedom, and joy in Christ.” -So good. It is easy to just go along with the cultural thing that surrounds us, and so hard to live counter-culturally. But our Savior did – and I’m grateful for his example.

  33. I loved this. You really articulated what I’ve been thinking. John 15:18 says, ““If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.” If people reject Christianity, it should be because they are rejecting Christ, not because Christians reject them.

    • Thanks for the verse – it’s a great reminder that not everyone will accept Christ – but everyone should have a chance to. And I also forget this verse – there are people who will hate us, no matter how grace filled we are, just because of Christ. Right now I don’t think I’m Christlike enough and I still give people reason to hate me, just because I’m Jen. :)

  34. This has been helpful to read, thanks. I live in Iowa and attend a liberal, socially engaged church, and I had a very difficult time understanding how any Christians could vote for Romney who so clearly (from this vantage point) sided with wealth and privilege. Reading your post was a good reminder of the sincerity of belief and desire for what’s right that can still lie at the heart of people who believe very different things than I do. Beyond politics, it is an understatement to say that it would be nice if the Church at large could get its stuff together. I have to preface all my faith conversations with non-practitioners with an “I’m not one of those people who hate gays and think you’re going to hell” statements. Love is not the first word that comes to mind when people hear the word Christian, and within my circle of liberal friends, that, more than ANYTHING else is why they are uninterested in us and think we’re all a bunch of crazies.

    • I have that problem too, A.S. I kind of live in two worlds – I’m an event producer so I travel from my safe little Christian bubble into the more secular world, and the perception of Christians outside of my bubble does have me apologizing more often than it thrills me. I am with you – I am hopeful for the church. I have high expectations of her. We have this amazing grace-filled humble God – we have all we need to show the world something incredible. But that doesn’t always happen. So I pray for the church and try hard to present a grace-filled alternative as I travel around.

  35. Someone shared this post with me. I am so very glad – because this is exactly how I feel. I grew up in a family of a republicans, but I feel like I can’t be one anymore. I can’t be a democrat either. But you know, as Christians, why are we aligning ourselves with a political party? Why can’t we just be Christians? Vote on the issues, not the party? Why the hatred? You explain it so much more eloquently than I ever could.

    PS…I then followed the links to your other posts. Again – it explains how I feel. You are not alone in your thoughts! I feel like if we met in person, we could be good friends.

    • Thank you Kara! I bet we would too. I don’t really fit into either camp, either. And it’s hard – it can feel a little lonely. All of the shares on this blog (pretty crazy, actually) makes me feel a little less alone. Apparently there are many many of us who are a little sad and puzzled by recent events. So I am thankful for that. Hopefully we can present a reasonable alternative. I keep thinking of Jesus – he didn’t really join any group or endorse any system – and there were plenty in his day. He just served and loved and gave himself. So I’m trying to follow that.

  36. This has also alienated us from each other.

    • I’m so sorry you feel that way. It was not my intent, and I apologize.

      • Only if you allow it to alienate. I see no reason for anyone to feel alienated by what Jen has shared here in her blog. Hard words to read and digest, but thankful she said them with grace and a loving attitude with respect for both “sides”…

        Thank you again Jen…

        • Thank you. In truth, I was growing weary of responding. It has been a long beautiful week of engaging in hard conversations that require prayerful engagement. And I keep stepping away to work and rest, and the Lord has sent several of you who feel as I do to come alongside me and continue the conversation, encouraging others to look up and to have hope, to be kind and to unify. You are one of those answers to prayers – a gift from God to me. Thank you. You bring rest to my weary heart.

  37. Wow, I am blown away. THIS is what it means to be a Christian, not what we have been hearing and seeing in the election rhetoric.

    Thank you for putting it into words.

    Peace and Love :-)

  38. This is incredibly eloquent. Thank you for writing it. It speaks of love and understanding rather than judgment and division. Our nation is in desperate need of this stance. Run for office.

    • Oh my goodness, me running for office is terrifying. :)

      I do love that for you, this spoke of love and understanding. That was my goal. And I do pray for our nation in this. I want so badly for our leaders to work together. I thought Governor Christie and President Obama’s partnership after Sandy was a great hopeful sign of things to come. I hope others on both sides follow their lead. The division and partisanship is EXHAUSTING and really is costing our country.

  39. I often wonder what the world would be like if the titular head of the largest Christian church stopped with the “us versus them” rhetoric and decided that the forgiveness and compassion for one another so clearly exhorted by Jesus was directed to helping the poor (including the use of birth control), embracing gays, and demanding global human rights for all men, women, and children. The church would instantly become relevant again, and they could concentrate on the truly important works of the Church instead of the culture wars.

    • I agree with you that the culture war took so much of the church’s energy, and in my opinion defined us so completely (at least to the outside world), and the cost has been unbelievable. I think I read that 8 million people under 30 left the church per year in the past few years (those numbers are from memory and may be wrong). The next generation is compassionate – they want to help the poor and do it with humility. And unfortunately, they aren’t finding a home in many of our churches. Now there are some that are INCREDIBLE. I think of the Austin Stone and churches of that model, that are embracing this kind of commitment.

      I also agree that the church is, as a whole, not as relevant as it once was, and I think the culture wars are what cost us that relevancy. There are studies I’ve read that show that when churches gain political power, they lose actual influence over people’s lives, and when they lose political power, life change happens. The church in China is an example. The church there is literally in hiding, but is exploding. There is much for us in church leadership to consider about what we want to be and how we want to reflect Christ.

      Thanks for your comment.

  40. This is so well thought-out and well expressed – and thought-provoking. There are times when what I see in Christian gatherings would make me NOT want to be a Christian, if I wasn’t one already. Where is the love? Where is the joy? Where is the faith in unconditional grace? I have found a lot of encouragement in Beth Moore’s way of expressing her passion for God and her fellow-man; she has the fire and love, together with a beautiful commitment to the Word. Thanks be to God for teachers like her who help keep our hope afloat! And thank you for this post.

    • I love Beth too. Her spirit is humble and joyful – she communicates with every look, word, and touch her love for people. Oh if we could just be known for that. That is Jesus in her, shining through. Great visual – thank you.

  41. Jen, THANK YOU. I am a staunch liberal and also a Christian who works in national politics. I came to this post from a facebook friend’s link. As I’m sure you can guess, we disagree on certain policies, but I absolutely DO NOT disagree with you on how we care about and treat people. I especially love, “I am saying let’s assume a position of humility in dealing with these really difficult issues.” I could not agree with you more. Thanks so much for going out on a limb and speaking from your heart in this post. I really hope so many people (regardless of political or religious affiliation) read your words and take them to heart.

    • Rachel,

      I love it. You so don’t have to agree with me. Truly, half the time I don’t agree with myself. All these issues are SO hard and the fact that there are complex people behind each of these concepts makes it harder. And working in national politics – wow – thank you. I truly do pray for you. That you would have wisdom and would be able to somehow bridge the gap that divides. Thanks for commenting and your encouragement.

      • And thank you for your encouragement! You’re SO RIGHT. We don’t have to agree with each other (in fact, more and more we don’t), but we have got to learn to listen to each other, respect each other as simply other humans, and respect ideas. Being humble with each other can help so much with this. That’s why I love what you said about humility. If we can be humble with each other, courageous with love and honesty and truth, and empathetic with each other–even when we think we don’t understand, THEN–and only then–we can move this country forward together. It’s a lot harder, but a lot more rewarding than what we’re doing right now. Okay, I’m off my soapbox. Thanks, Jen. Keep doing what you do!

  42. The single best post-election analysis I’ve read. I agree with 90% of your positions and the things I disagree with– we can reconcile. You give me hope. Thank you.

  43. I am a liberal athiest who voted for Obama, and I think this was a beautifully well-written and respectful post. Thank you for posting something that serves to unify rather than divide. I truly believe that as a country we don’t have to all agree on issues or share the same beliefs and morals, but we do need to work together to respect each other and human life. Your blog takes the first step in that direction, so thank you!

    • Kristan, thank you for your comment. I absolutely agree that we need to work together to respect each other and human life. Once we do that – we will be so much better off than we are right now. I am hopeful for our nation, that we would stop firing at each other and start talking to each other. Thank you again for reading and commenting. I’m so grateful.

  44. Thank you for having the courage to speak the truth.
    Amen.

  45. Jen, I always appreciate your posts. And I do agree with what you wrote and that the church needs to be more about the business of the church as well as putting our hope in Jesus rather than politics. I also agree that the church often does speak the truth of scripture without love and grace. But I still think there is the other side of truth- which is that when you do push back on people, even full of love and grace their perception may be that you are unloving. For example, working with two gay men who would RAIL against anyone who dared not fully champion their choices. And felt perfectly justified to make hateful (BULLYING) remarks toward Christians even though one sat there in the office showing them nothing but respect. Or my co-worker who made the comment that “Christians are terrorist” bringing up all the bad things Christians have done in history while ignoring the fact that Christians also adopt orphaned children, bring clean water into third world countries, act as father figures for abused neighborhood kids, or run all over town trying to find food, clothes and shelter for asylum seekers and refugees. I guess my point is, if you don’t also acknowledge this side of truth you create a rather romantic view of a leftist perspective which isn’t that much different that a sarcastic one from the right. And I personally struggle with when we cross the line from showing the love and graciousness of Jesus to enabling and backing down from a Biblical perspective so that people will perceive you as “loving.” If we are encouraging sin (which we know is destruction) in people’s lives we are in no way being loving…even if we are perceived to be. The Bible also says we will be hated so we are going to have to accept that to some degree. “Some degree” meaning even when we are fully loving not as a justification for being unloving.

    • I think you are right that the rhetoric and the damage is on both sides. I certainly didn’t mean to paint a romantic picture of the left or of the right. I mostly wrote this to address my circle – which is primarily right. I simply didn’t see as much rhetoric from the other side to address it. Not because it wasn’t there – but because it isn’t surrounding me. So I agree with you.

      As for encouraging sin, I know I probably err on the side of grace. And that’s intentional – because I feel like the “truth” side has been well represented. But I am aware that both are necessary. And I can see how you would characterize that as ultimately unloving – that’s certainly a valid perspective. I have decided to bring people to Jesus. To draw them the way I was drawn, in need of grace and mercy, peace and love. And when they come to Jesus, and begin to love Him, He’s responsible for changing them if need to be changed. I am being changed hopefully every day. Does that make sense? It may not be right – I confess that. I do it praying that the Lord would know my heart and my intention, and would cover over my sin with his grace. But I am aware that I, as a person, am harder on those who know Christ than I am on those who do not. I have higher expectations for people who I believe have the Spirit of Christ in them and represent him to the world. Not to be mean, but just to challenge. And that was primarily who I was addressing in this post. :)

      Thanks for reading and commenting. Good thoughts given with grace.

      • I get that. I am the opposite. I find myself in very leftist circles where people boast of their open-mindedness and tolerance for all (which quite frankly doesn’t really exist). They just feel they are justified b/c they are on the “correct” side of all the issues. And, like you, I too err on the side of grace but am often convicted b/c I don’t want to be pulling a “bait and switch” on people. Jesus himself was loving but never refrained from calling sin sin. He told them “go and sin no more”. So I should do the same and I fail in the hopes that people will see me as “loving” But am I? Or am I just a poser?

      • One last point, if we do not tell people the truth about sin how do they know they are in need of forgiveness for that sin? I get that most people know they are sinful to some degree but then there are plenty of people who not only refuse to call sin sin but even claim their sin is God approved b/c it’s done in love. At some point we do have to make the uncomfortable move of saying, “no, that is sin and God still loves you.” To think that we as Christians will never have to say those words b/s Jesus will say it to them is perhaps just a way to keep ourselves in the good graces of others rather than risk otherwise. Repentance of sin is just as much part of the Gospel message as love. One is required to accept the other. And I say this fully guilty of the exact same thing.

      • It isn’t your job to tell people they are sinful, it is your job to love them. It is the Spirit of Christ that will move them towards a relationship with God. Try loving people because they are created by God…not in an attempt to “save” them. You will free yourself in the process.

        • I totally agree. I trust the Spirit to draw people (and convict them) as He wills when He wills, whether I am in the picture or not. My job is to love and try to squash my human instinct to be an ass. :) Thanks for your comment.

      • Jen, I think you’re opportunity here is brilliant. And I so appreciate your spirit of grace. I don’t think I agree that we can completely shy from referring to sin as such or always remaining silent. But please don’t think I mean we should take a pointer out and go through the sin of others. That isn’t what I am saying. I can remember when others lovingly called me out. As well as when people foolishly did so out of self-righteousness. But even though the former was uncomfortable, it was also used to open my eyes and bring beneficial change that turned me from sin. And I am grateful for the honesty that was no doubt hard for the person who delivered it. Again, I go back to that being the example Jesus gave us so I cannot reconcile the idea that I will never have to say, “yes, that is sin.” As much as I’d rather not. Again, I am SO thankful for the spirits of honest discussion you’ve started!

        • Hi friends – sorry I’m having a tough time keeping up. :) I think there is a time to help people get free from sin – but I think that is within the context of a close, personal, loving relationship – where we walk together through the tough journey of overcoming sin. Because that is a tough task. So I agree it happens, I just think there needs to be more relationship before it does and it isn’t how we approach someone at first. Make sense?

      • Absolutely! And I agree with that 100%.

  46. Former registered Republican here. Had George W’s sign in my yard years back. I get how passionate people sometimes feel. I’m not saying this as a person that has never engaged the political system. I have chosen to remove myself now for lots of reasons I don’t need to go into now.

    I mainly wanted to say: Great thoughts Jen and we’re with you. We have a very very hard time listening to our “Christian” family and friends say they feel hopeless and claiming the world as we know it is over – they are both angry and hopeless over the election result. The drama is ridiculous and I’m embarrassed for them!
    Fine. Your guy didn’t win. Be sad, be disappointed.
    But this ‘end of the world’ nonsense makes you look like a fool. Having spent seven years in a place of total and complete REAL desperation – real injustices – real lack of freedom to live a decent life — this response is just gross to me.

    • I am such a stalker. I love you people. I am telling you – if we have to walk/swim to get there, someday Justin and I will come hang out with you and your husband and see the incredible people you serve. Agreed and amen. You know exactly who I wrote this post to because you have seen what I have seen.

    • I think it is important to remember that it is not the end of the world. They are witnessing what many perceive to be the end of America as they have known it. Don’t be embarrassed for them, help them through it, as Jen is doing.

      We all know that people are having a difficult time surviving. How many live paycheck to paycheck? We are on the bitterness end of this. Many have lost homes, jobs, everything.

      We have to stop the anger and get back to the love. It is all we have. And it is the most precious gift we have been given. Maybe the Lord is reminding us that this is all we need, that we haven’t lost anything, that abundance is within each of us.

      God is still on the throne and he will remain there for all who have faith.

  47. I do agree with a lot of what you say, but when Jesus befriended the sinners, he also led them to the right path and instructed to “go and sin no more”. Many people leave that part out. Homosexuality is a sin, and I do love them, but they need to go and sin no more if they wish to gain access to heaven.

    • Hi Kevin. Thank you for your comment. I agree – Jesus told them to go and sin no more. So I personally, have decided to leave it up to Jesus to tell people to do that. I fully believe in the Holy Spirit’s ability to reveal truth and convict sin where necessary. I know when I came to Christ – nobody pointed out to me that I needed to not lie or steal or whatever – but over time the Lord revealed the depth of my sin (and still does). So that’s how I choose to do it, which I acknowledge may not be perfect. I just ask the Lord to fill in the gaps and cover my actions with His mercy so I don’t misrepresent him. But I acknowledge that I err on the side of grace in the grace+truth equation. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • Keep in mind Kevin that those Jesus told to “go and sin no more” chose to follow him. We have to accept that not all Americans are Christian, Especially with regards to politics, Christians must accept that different people have different belief systems. It is a strength of our American society,our commitment to giving everyone this freedom. It isn’t simply calling a sin a sin, it is opening your heart to understand that one mans sin is NOT always another mans sin, And it is having the humility to say, “I will not insist that I am right and you are wrong, I live my life by my religion, and I will allow you to your beliefs as well”. If someone does not believe in the bible, you cannot convince them something is a sin based on the bible. Yet we can find so much common ground. How is it that atheists and Christians alike agree murder is wrong? Is the moral fiber embedded in the hearts of so many types of people regardless of religion not proof of the grace of God? It should teach us that there are things bigger than us, things we cannot quite understand. And the best course of action is not to judge, but to embrace accept and love.

  48. I really appreciated the thoughtful, reflective writing… thank you! The one part that concerned me is the section on “The Gays.” – “…the church has failed in the treatment of homosexuals by treating “them” as our enemy in the culture war, and considering “their” sin as irredeemable while failing to consider our own sin and brokenness. ” – this whole section still is calling me a sinner, still separates me from you, and still ousts me from the church. (you have made my central expression of romantic love into a broken “thing” that “the Church” can “fix” – this is just not fair, really, and it’s also very damaging – not healing – not helpful…) Being gay is not an irredeemable sin – because there is NO sin in it. It is simply how I love in a romantic sense. When you call how someone loves a “SIN” (I think of love the sinner hate the sin) – you really separate them from who they are, not in reality, but in your own mind. (you’re actually loving a notion of a shell of that person, not the person’s essence or wholeness…) I am not a disjointed, separated-from-self being. I am an integrated, healthy human and I love myself, and I love how I love… unless “the Church” can see this as beautiful, valid, and holy, I cannot come back to it, I cannot worship with you, and I won’t ever vote against myself. I am not saying that the concept of sin is wrong in itself – (because things like greed, gluttony, lying, etc, do exist and it is helpful to conquer them with a group of like-minded people holding you in love and accountability) I am not saying I don’t have areas of brokenness and don’t need redemption in other aspects of who I am, but it isn’t my gay-hood. Being with another woman in mutual love and respect is beautiful, fulfilling, and loving, and not a sin… perhaps the opposite, it’s a healing and amazingly spiritual experience. I really do thank you for this post and for the opportunity to respond – I pretty much agree with most of everything you wrote and it’s obvious you do seek for God in all things…. I had to challenge this paragraph though, since it directly concerns me. Again, blessings and thanks!

    • I would say, that please keep in mind that Christians to not (or should not even though they do) look to their own set of standard for what to call sin or not. But rather allow themselves to be led by what a holy Creator calls sin as revealed in Scripture (which Christians uphold as being divinely inspired).

      • Hi, Paige, I couldn’t respond to the last comment on the comment itself, as there was no “reply” button there for some reason – so I am up here – :) Thanks for the nice response – I appreciate it – and this all seems to be about remembering what we all have in common- our humanity – :) And speaking of FB I did share what Jen has written on FB… hopefully it will get out there! After all, we are the ones to divide and draw lines in the sand, (borders to nations/dogma in religion) and make people who disagree with our point of view into not only inhuman beings, but monsters we can hate and throw stones at…what Jen wrote encourages the stone to fall to the ground rather than at someone – the fists release into the sign of peace/handshake – Even though it is written to a christian audience, it calls to the humanity in all of us, christian or not, gay or straight (and all the rainbow colors therein) – that people can recognize their common ground…rather than hate each other for differences… sooo I am blabbing a lot – It’s just that the blog is inspiring and the responses to it, etc, are so also… Peace!! :)

        • Thanks Renee! Please know that this is a struggle for Christians. My allegiance must first be to Jesus before myself, the world, the gay community etc. But I find myself struggling with how to uphold Biblical Scripture and not have LGBT think I hate them. Or am persecuting them. Or think I am less of a sinner. Because as you stated you cannot separate yourself from your orientation. But I do want to understand you. And I apologize for all the believers who have approached you with “the Bible says this or that” and didn’t approach you with love and grace as a person who is just like them. We’re messed up and fallible too. Thanks for showing us grace.

      • hi again, Paige – grace is beautiful… makes all involved beautiful -I’ll share this in the interest of spreading understanding of the pain caused by christian teachings… imagine being gay and christian (catholic in my case- so I loved the nun analogy too ;) ) and christian to the point that you are willing to die for it… and then arises, the “terrible sin” – and to get it “out” of you, you’d actually kill yourself. To escape the shame of what you hear from the Church that you are, you’d be willing to take your life. And there is no end to the inner torture, because you feel that from what you are told, you are a broken and low piece of sin, you are someone damaged, who needs help and fixing, and you can’t stop being attracted to members of your own sex, even though you believe in Jesus and salvation.. So, out of love for God and hate for yourself, you agree to remain celibate and single, and pray to God to “heal” you… because you have internalized the beliefs thrown your way… your father says he’ll disown you if you are gay… (at least I wasn’t kicked out I suppose, like many are) Your friends know, but even their support doesn’t stop the pain nor the struggle, because you aren’t at peace with yourself, you loathe yourself… you fall in love and you hate your own love, you want to die, you want to not be the way you are/who you are, because *you* are wrong, because “the bible says so” – and other christians also don’t hesitate to tell you that you can’t be “in grace” and gay… that you can’t truly be saved because if you were, you wouldn’t be gay… so you feel cut off from God, alone, and without a self you can be proud of and love…. this is just a small part of it, and for me, it lasted for fifteen years… until I had to leave the church to find love for myself and sanity – so please understand… I’ve come to peace with myself now, and with God and I want to tell my fellow christians that being gay is no sin, that God is fine with it – YO God and I are good, we’re tight! And truly, “All Shall Be Well” :) and is well :) So maybe you can have some idea – but I’ll leave it at that… no worries, we all walk our paths and we all go through crappy stuff too – peace! (I am not looking for anyone’s pity here – I’m fine – as I said I shared in the interest of spreading understanding)

        • It does spread understanding – so thank you. I can absolutely see how that would be so isolating and scary. I’m so grateful you didn’t take your life – I thank God you are here and you are sharing. I have very Godly friends who have struggled to come to terms and peace with a son who is gay, and I have watched them for years with admiration of how they have handled it. They are the most loving parents I’ve ever known to him and his partner. But I know that is the exception and not the rule. So please know as a representative of the church, we are trying to learn. We have a long way to go I think on both sides to cross the divide and heal the hurts. But I am grateful we are starting (baby steps). Thank you Renee. I am so grateful you visited my blog today.

        • Thank you for sharing. What you are describing is not only an LGBT struggle. It’s a human struggle (although I do understand there are added elements here specific to LGBT). But what you struggle with is what all Christians struggle with- the fact that our nature is in contradiction to a holy God. As an aside, If anyone told you that you cannot be reconciled to God through Christ because you are gay, that is a LIE. To get back to Jen’s point (i think), rejection and turning people away is not the answer. Embracing them and pointing them to Jesus with grace, love an acceptance is. And I do know people who are gay, but do not seek homosexual relationship because of their faith. And it’s tough. They in no way believe they will be “cured.” They simply choose to surrender. And they have the added element of being rejected by (some) of the church and also by (some) of the gay community. It can be a very lonely place. I hope we can walk along beside you and them and rejoice when you rejoice and grieve when you grieve and I pray that here you will find the love and grace of Jesus. Thanks for taking the time to respond to me and share your life! It means a lot.

      • Jen thanks for the blog, of course, and both of you thanks for your thoughts – and compassion – To all, the best! Peace, and blessings

    • Renee I am so thankful you wrote me. And you are right. I struggle with this so much. The Bible, which I do believe, teaches that homosexuality is a sin (alongside divorce, lying, judgment, etc.) And I don’t understand it, but I do submit to it. I understand how that belief makes you feel less – and I am sorry. I want you to know I value you. I have friends who are in loving same-sex relationships that are beautiful, and I understand that what I believe treats it like it is wrong underneath. And I have friends who are unmarried but live together happily, and what I believe treats that like it is wrong underneath as well. It’s hard to reconcile even in my own mind. Although I don’t understand exactly how you feel, I’ll also express commonality with you in saying the Bible says some things about women that sometimes make me feel less. The person of Christ is SO attractive, but some aspects of our faith are harder to accept.

      So I struggle. I pray and I ask for wisdom and insight, on this and everything else. And I try to be loving. I try not to condemn. I try to understand, and I really do trust the Lord’s heart toward all of us – you and me and everyone else – is good and is loving. None of us are righteous – and we all need Jesus. So I follow Jesus – and really believe he brings hope and healing and not condemnation.

      But I do understand how even what I wrote can be hurtful, and I’m sorry. I understand that what I believe can be hurtful, and I’m sorry. I understand how it would be hard to fellowship with or worship with people who believe you are in a sinful relationship, and I’m sorry. I’ll tell you, though, if you worshiped with us, I wouldn’t look on you as a person in need of being fixed (any more than anyone else in the room). I’d hurt for your hurts and walk with you as together we try to walk through this life, toward Christ, with honor and grace.

      Your graceful response – even after being hurt – is precious to me. I don’t know how to reconcile this – but I know that I love and value all people and I don’t want to damage or hurt or harm anyone. And although I am not at a place where I can discount what the Bible says, I try to demonstrate the great love that the Bible teaches and the sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf because he loved us right where we are, because I think that’s the part we need most of all. Thank you again for writing.

      • Oh and 1 more little thing – I actually don’t like the term “The Gays” and kind of wrote that sarcastically because that was the language I was seeing. But not sure if that translates all over as well as I wanted to. So just to be clear – I don’t typically walk around calling people “the gays” like it’s a Seinfeld sketch. :)

      • LOL – Jen, the last was funny there :) thank you again – I posted just to give my perspective and I want to reiterate that I believe your sincerity… I do feel that what you have written is a HEALING response to the nation – I believe what you have written will go a loooong way toward this – it just takes one person to “reach across the aisle” but another needs also to reach back… and so starts the dialog – I only posted my comment on the paragraph I did as another start of such …. I believe what you have begun here is a process of reconciliation – and trying to at least understand – maybe not agree – but understand – so thank you again – and it isn’t so much that your words were “damaging” but they show some misunderstanding – – – and indeed, if you aren’t lgbtqi, then how can you understand? even with me or others explaining -we can’t live another’s life, but we can still just love and accept them..- god bless you and thank you for gracing us with these thoughts…

        • Unfortunately Renee, this isn’t Facebook and there is no “like” button for me to click. Your response was very moving. Thank you for reaching back and keeping the conversation going. Maybe there is hope for us all if we can spread this around.

  49. I just want to say how heartened I am to read your awesome post. I’m not American and don’t live in America but have watched the last elections there with intense interest, since what America does effects the entire world. As a Christian it has also disheartened me when I read the facebook comments and twitter posts by Americans who are so unchristian towards President Obama, calling him Satan and other rude names. I think people forget that Jesus lived in a society that was actually under a cruel dicatatorship, which was far removed from American democracy, yet even in that situation he did not advocate for his followers to spend their energies to change the politics of their society. Instead he told them how to live. If Christians (all over world) quit trying to judge everyone and got on with the job of being Christ there would a lot less people wanting to get abortions, smoke dope and all the other issues that seem to upset people so much. For that reason I do indeed gain hope from reading your words. Thank-you.

    • You are right – Jesus lived in an environment that makes the current freedoms in the USA look like a carnival. And yet he changed people counter culturally. Bottom line – we just can’t do wrong, even 2000+ years later, following our Savior. Thanks for your comment!

  50. Jen , this made me cry. The only point that I think you glanced/missed on was marijuana. It has been used throughout history as a medicine, and has been recognized as such by at least 17 states – despite the federal Gov’t classifying it as a schedule I narcotic, like Heroin. Many people suffering from nerve pain get relief from it like no other medication can provide. So it is not solely about addiction, and marijuana related use crimes, especially in three strikes you are out states, make up a big percentage of those incarcerated for drug crimes. So I will be praying that the Lord changes the minds of those in power who seek to block research and access to marijuana as a medicine, and allow a rational, scientific, and spiritual approach to its use as medicine under controlled circumstances. What a well-written, beautiful piece. It is us to us Christians to uplift everyone, and I think you accomplished that.

    • I actually SO agree with you. And although I didn’t say it (because it wasn’t the perception that I was speaking against), I do believe in medical marijuana. I lost a dear friend to cancer a few years ago, and have another friend who struggles with neuropathy. Both would absolutely be served by medical marijuana, but it isn’t available in Texas or Olkahoma – and I think that is sad. We have again politicized what is a medical issue – and that’s wrong. Thank you Joyce for mentioning that.

  51. Thank you, thank you…I can’t say it enough! Such a relief amid the tirades and the bemoaning and the waxing eloquent of 95% of my online community in the days following this election! I’m so very grateful to hear reason at a time like this. Thanks!

  52. Thanks so much for this article! I actually left the Methodist church for these very reasons. You have so beautifully written the way that I have felt about the actions of the Christian Church. I thank you and many blessings for you.

    • I get it – I am all tangled up in the church and I adore her, but churches can hurt us like nothing else and when that happens, it is HARD to go back. My own parents left for years and have only in recent years trusted their hearts to a church family again.

      As an encouragement – there are some really cool branches of the Methodist church now (Free Methodists in particular) that are RIGHT on about these things. They are biblical, but they’re also crazy loving. Not sure if you are anywhere near Austin, but Austin New Church is LEGIT. So I had to put that little plug in there. :)

      I am thankful this encouraged you. We are far apart, the right and left in this country, but we don’t have to be – because of Christ. Thanks for commenting.

  53. Hello Jen, All,

    I am truly impressed by this piece you have composed; it brings hope to my heart for the future of Christianity. I left the church many years ago. My 16-year old self could not reconcile the hypocrisy I experienced on Sundays: the sermon condemning gossip, followed by the fellowship hall coffee and cookies, where folks would spend an hour spreading rumors about fellow church members.

    That began my separation from the church, and so many examples since then have solidified my decision to continue to worship in my own ways, independent from any organized religion. I live in a very conservative, rural area, and there are no churches here that are willing to embrace people who are not evangelicals. I’m not one, and I will never be, so I go it alone. I am very sad about this at times, for I do not believe that Jesus or any of his followers wanted this to become the face of Christianity; nonetheless, in many regions in this country, evangelical forms of collective worship are the only option. And where I live, the evangelicals are very rigid about denying multiple perspectives within their congregations. It is nice to be able to voice these things in an open discussion, so I thank you for this opportunity.

    I’ve read the above comments in response to your post, Jen, and to address the concerns about how those of us who are more left-leaning could develop such an unfavorable perception of the Christian Republicans, I’d like to point to the statements made by politicians who claim to be Christian who simultaneously believe that a child produced by rape is a “gift from God” or who fight legislation that would guarantee equal pay for women, or who claim to want smaller government in some arenas, but not when it comes to big government legislating personal freedom over women’s bodies.

    The former Republican Vice Presidential nominee, Paul Ryan, is among this group of men. We Democrats know this, and we are frightened that such men could come into greater positions of power.

    When I hear or see comments coming from the Christian-right Republican “side,” about the budget or about the welfare state or about this myth that people who receive public assistance are lazy, or deliberately poor, and who just have more babies so their welfare check is larger, my heart breaks. Every time I hear these comments, and I do hear them regularly, the verse that is foremost in my heart is from the book of Matthew (25): “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

    As a rape victim, I cannot adequately address through words the depth of damage that rape causes to a woman’s body, spirit, and heart; only another rape victim can understand that. And, when I hear the comments made by male, Christian, Republican men distinguishing between “legitimate” rape and “illegitimate” rape in addition to the totally false claim that women have some mysterious mechanism to shut down a pregnancy following a rape…Well, these are the things that those of us on the left hear from the Christian right, and not only are these perspectives insulting and untruthful, they are also unkind and not in keeping with Jesus Christ’s teachings. They’re not even remotely close to how Jesus instructed us to live: in love and with compassion.

    When it comes to gay rights, is it righteous for mankind to judge, or are we to leave that to God? There are numerous passages in the Bible that make it clear that God is to be the judge, not his children. It is very difficult to reconcile these biblical mandates with what many (though, clearly, not all) Christians and politicians who disagree with homosexuality have done to marginalize people who were born gay. I have seen many people suffer as a result of some churches attempting to “cure” people of this perceived “disease.”

    I can think of many more examples, but I have no desire to hurt or anger anyone with a barrage of specific illustrations. Nonetheless, when we start exploring the specifics of this cross-over with the Christian churches, politics, and the divisiveness among us regarding social issues, we might benefit from taking a long, hard look at the predominant and most visible discourse coming from the Republican Christians about these issues. For we do not hear much from Christian politicians about love and compassion and how those things intersect with our legislative process. One could say that Social Security is about as close as we may come, healthcare for all is another. Yes, there are fiscal obstacles that we must overcome, and this is quite worrisome. How we can have the best of both worlds is in dispute, and how we talk about the solution is where we run into trouble.

    It is not only the social issues, but 1st Amendment issues pertaining to the prohibition against establishing a national religion. There has been a significant push of late to make this nation a Christian nation, and the debate about the separation of church and state continues to be a heated one.

    These issues are complex, and there are very diverse perspectives among the citizens of this country; we are having a difficult time reconciling them. Our relationships are adversely affected; families, friends, colleagues: we are divided, and we are suffering for it.

    The call for a return to love is the right place to start. I agree wholeheartedly. I’d also like to add that as a liberal who voted for the Democrats in this election, I did so because, in part, felt I must in order to uphold my beliefs about what Christ has taught us about taking care of one another.

    Protecting life by protesting abortion is within any citizen’s right, but not at the cost of penalizing and dehumanizing the mother. Rugged individualism is all well and good, if one has the means to survive. Marriage between one man and one woman is just fine, if one is heterosexual. Legislating morality and religious doctrine, however, is in direct conflict with what the founders intended, and that is part of what we Democrats are saying when we vote.

    I truly hope that the Republicans will remake their party; please work to re-establish what it means to be a conservative. I also hope that the Christians in this nation will reassess and embrace, once again, the teachings of Jesus Christ. I also hope that we liberal Democrats will open our hearts and minds and remember that those Christian Republicans that are in the spotlight do not represent the entirety of the Republican or the Christian views here in the U.S.A.

    • I also am a victim of a form of sexual assault, and I agree with you, to hear politicians (on both sides, really) so casually making statements about rape was actually physically jarring for me to experience. It occurred to me how little they understand the pain of what they were so casually discussing. I am not as left-leaning as you (I’m a confused moderate who sweats each election because no party really meets all my needs), but I do think loving each other and listening to each other is a big start, and most of the comments on this post have given me great hope. Thanks for commenting!

      • Thank you for the opportunity! I completely respect that you and I don’t share the same perspectives on everything. That’s part of what makes this country, and our lives, so great! You’ve done an exceptional job discussing these very serious issues with a lightness and goodness of spirit. I deeply appreciate it. And, I sweat each election because no party really meets all my needs, either. lol. Despite any differences, reading this today has given me great hope, as well. So thank you, again.

  54. Such a colossal lie. I will pray you truly find what God’s love for you is and what it others.

    • I love it when people pray for me. :)

      • In my experience, people who are Pharisees never realize they are Pharisees. You are so gracious when attacked. Thank you for such a good write up. Hopefully, it will generate a new awareness, a lot of conversation, and some changes in the way people think.

        • Oh it is so true Phillip. I myself have had pharisaical seasons, and I remember them in sadness. I SO thought I was right – and righteous, and I may have been, but I wasn’t loving. Thank you for commenting. it is a great point and we need to be watchful of being like people Jesus called “White washed tombs”

  55. Thanks Jen. This is the most sensible and heartfelt post that I have seen from a Christian, post-election. I agree with large chunks of how you have assessed the key issues and people groups, and appreciate how you backed up your stats w/ references at the bottom. I loved your analogy regarding how nuns are stereotyped. May God grant us all the ability to start a movement that would change the stereotype of “CHRISTIAN” to something worthy of our Lord Jesus! Keep writing…I am now a subscriber this blog and I look forward to more of your insights!

    • This fires me up – “May God grant us all the ability to start a movement that would change the stereotype of “CHRISTIAN” to something worthy of our Lord Jesus!” Amen amen amen. So good and so true and so worth praying for.

  56. Beautiful! As a liberal Christian, I too often feel a great divide from, and animosity from and toward, conservatives who are just as much my brothers and sisters in Christ. This addresses pretty much every issue I have with them, but in a less accusatory tone than I could have possibly had.

    • Yea the divide works both ways, doesn’t it? And it’s hard to overcome. But I think admitting it is there and trying to address it, giving each other grace, is the way to healing. Thanks for posting.

  57. This is great comment thread. Thanks to you all for conversation without rancor, praise without judgment, and Christ without charlatans.

  58. Thank you. Really helped me to sort things out.

  59. Jen,
    I agree with your article. Well done. Should we vote, yes. But I think that if people study Christ time here on earth, you found him concerned with the hearts of people, knowing that it would be through their truly knowing the love of God and living in relationship with Him that would bring about true life and culture change. In fact, when asked about taxation he said, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar and what is God’s unto God”. He spent his time teaching and living out God’s truth, love and mercy, not battling the government. Was there ungodliness, debauchery, cruelty? Yes. But Christ spent his time dealing with the root, not the fruit of sin. He spent his time loving and drawing people to himself as he lived and spoke truth. He tells us to follow him.

    After the elections were finished and he saw the actions and reactions of his followers, do you think he was glorified or ashamed?

  60. What a beautiful piece! It reminds me of the countless times in the gospels when people would come to Jesus with an “us vs. them” question which he would completely turn it on its head. I truly believe that if Christ were to pop in for a brief in-the-flesh visit and teaching session, he would echo many of your thoughts here. I think if we asked him for clarification on many of these modern issues the Bible doesn’t directly address, he’d turn our questions around too and orient them toward a worldview that knows neither right nor left, rich nor poor, sinner nor saint, but only love, mercy, joy, and peace.

    • Such a beautiful, truth-filled comment! Thank you. I do love that He did that. He refused to be sucked into our human power/control games. Thank you for commenting – I feel like I want you to edit this for me and interject where you want because you get it. Such a good God we serve.

  61. A sweet voice of hope in Jesus. I love this. Thank you.

  62. Thank you so much Jen. I came to this post through a FB share, and I’m so grateful I did. What you’ve written, along with this discussion thread, has given me so much peace. I am not Christian, and perhaps a bit of why I’m not is my perception of the judging and marginalization that seems so rife in many organisations.

    As an American living overseas for the last 13 years, it deeply concerns me the damage that much of the election rhetoric has had on the perception of our country, a country that is filled with loving, compassionate people, but that comes across culturally as self-righteous and all-knowing. It made me laugh when other’s stated they had to apologise for/justify or explain their Christianity — it’s unfortuante but not uncommon that I have to do something similar when people find out I’m American.

    My encounters with deeply conservative friends and family on FB was also concerning – the underlying assumption that if we disagree then I must be an ignorant, brain washed, unwashed hippy needing to be guided with my hand-held was disturbing and disappointing. Where is the love? Right here – in your post and other’s comments. Thank you.

    I also, in particular, appreciate your comments regarding support and care for those in the most desparate need. Having travelled to several developing countries I have witnessed the power of education, access to healthcare and birth control and feeling safe and part of a community. In this way – love and compassion and a helping hand – lies the true capacity for change and healing.

    Again Jen, cheers :) You’re brilliant.

    • You know my heart began to grow when I realized the power of education and intervention in children (especially in developing countries). Sometimes to get out of our American bubble is SO good for our souls. I think that was why Jesus wanted us to be friends with “the least of these.” They may derive some benefit, but we are CHANGED. It’s powerful. Thanks for reading and commenting. And cheers back (I never get to say that!).

  63. Jen, I just wanted to thank you. In an election where so many have felt the need to declare themselves as either vehemently black or spotlessly white, you have the courage to be gloriously, beautifully grey. To see that the truth is often messy and complicated, and that it is not political parties that are righteous, but people. This is a wonderful post, and you do your faith honor in it.

    So, from a non-religious liberal who sometimes votes for Republicans, soon to marry a wonderful Christian woman who voted Obama in 2008 and again this year, thank you. Thank you for being thoughtful and expressing yourself well. Thank you for taking the time and consideration to actually think about what’s important, rather than simply following along. Thank you for building up, rather than tearing down.

    You give me hope for the church, and for the country.

    • Oh thank you Rich -and congratulations! Being “grey” gets a bad rap, but on politics, I am grey (or purple). Thank you for saying I do my faith honor. That is truly my goal. I am grateful for your encouragement and your post.

  64. I am part of a Christian denomination that has taken much criticism in recent years for supposedly bending to the will of society and failing in our Christian mission for doing so. I suspect from reading this post that you and I would disagree on specific pinpoints, but I what I love to see and wish more of us could celebrate is the commonality of our beliefs regarding the greater mission: We are to carry Christ’s Love into the world and to be as Christ to our neighbors.

    Your comments on abortion particularly strike home for me. I say that I am reluctantly pro-choice. I hate the idea of abortion but I feel that safe, medical abortion must be an option in our world today knowing that throughout history women have died in the attempt to end pregnancies or because of health complications of pregnancy. BUT more than anything else I wish all sides of the issue would band together to reduce the number of women seeking abortion, including not only what you mention but also *honest* sex education and access to contraception, because no matter how much you preach “no”, raging hormones still take over at times.

    There are religious leaders and some local religious groups who choose to focus on their commonalities rather than their differences and who work together to promote God’s kingdom here on earth. May more and more of us find ways of doing this and resist the evil attempts to use human pride in our religion to separate us from the will of God, to be his servants in the world.

    • We are to carry Christ’s love into the world, you are absolutely right. And it is a hard job, especially when our human sin and pride gets in the way.

      Oh I so get that on the abortion issue. I am decidedly pro-life, but my heart also bleeds for women. My family has been touched by abortion, both before and after Roe. And I am grateful that women have some protection under Roe, safe doctors, the ability to say yes or no, that they did not have when abortions occurred in back rooms. I just wish there was a way the protections could happen while still reducing the number of babies aborted. Abortions are a part of our world’s history (a tragic part) and many things play into it, and we need to work together to help prevent all of the risk factors.

  65. This may be the best commentary I’ve read since the election. You conveyed my views in ways I could never verbalize. I shared this on FB and my diverse groups of friends have made positive comments…..hard core conservatives and extreme liberals and many inbetween. Maybe you are on to something that could unite us!!!!!

  66. The author of the above post apparently means well, but generalizes matters to an extreme – and in the process gives small notice to, or omits the great credit due to millions who are believers, and also may be right-leaning and/or Independent, Republican, or Libertarian – who HAVE cared and DO care for and support those in needs of various kinds, but who also believe that sin and/or lawlessness must not be glossed over, regardless of what it is: moral sins or violations of our laws; in our OWN lives or those of others. (To be sure, the Lord Jesus spent little time overemphasizing an individual person’s sin, BUT he also admonished them to “go and sin no more,” whatever sin it was: moral sin or lawlessness). It saddens me when people give statistics (with which one can prove almost any point) and largely ignore countless tremendous actions and deeds – from history and the present. As history reveals, hospitals & schools were begun by the Church. Many of these hospitals/educational institutions are in danger of closing – – Christians, Catholics in particular, conservatives of OTHER religions & small businesses are a huge target of this administration (the HHS mandate, the individual mandates, new IRS penalties, etc.) – our First Amendment is being ignored/denied. Some of us would rather die than compromise our faith, and/or lose our freedom. This is but one danger coming from the current administration. Another: the inevitable effects of outrageous debt & deficit spending (the current administration has amassed more debt than our first 41 presidents combined) being a feature that will affect and punish *everyone,* regardless of ideology or party. If those who currently govern us, in every elected office of Congress and above, were in a private corporation instead of the Federal Government, many of them would be in great legal peril if not imprisoned for what they have done to the financial condition of this land. If we ran our families as they do the country, we would be living in the streets, or even in jail for taking and mismanaging other people’s money. To ignore the present dangers imperils us further. There may well be exceptions, and only God knows each heart, but my impression is that most of us did not vote out of “hate,” but for Biblical virtues, extolled in scripture. Some of us voted to at least begin to turn the trend of our nation, but we LOST. We will pay the price. I hope the writer will forgive us who oppose the awful, dangerous, risky things in our land, and will “allow” us to lie on the ground and bleed awhile (after this past Tuesday) before we get up and keep doing our best to save our families, fellow-citizens and country from dangers within and without.

    • I totally admit I used certain facts to address certain misconceptions – I wrote it in response to what I was seeing in my specific audience. These concerns may not apply to you. I am not saying don’t vote your conscious, or engage in the political arena. Please do – we need passionate people involved.

      I was just seeing fear and despair in people who I love who have faith in Christ, and that hurt my heart because we in Christ have no reason to be afraid. i was also seeing some wild generalization pointed towards the “other side,” and I was addressing those generalizations with a hope that the people I love would thoughtfully consider what may be the motivations behind some of the groups that overwhelming voted the opposite way because they see the world differently.

      I’ll admit, I don’t understand lying on the ground and bleeding over an election. I am just not invested in an election to that level. But I’ll “allow” you to do whatever you need to do. I am not in any position of authority over you.

      But the church, the bride of Christ, she is not lying on the ground bleeding because a democrat won the office of president. Jesus defeated death and sin on the cross, and we have victory because of that. So I was telling the members of the church to get up, brush ourselves off, and look up to the Lord because HE is where our hope lies.

      Thanks for the comment and I hope you can feel hope about our country. I certainly do.

  67. I have respected you since the day I met you…when i was like 13, or so :) You are such a graceful, intelligent, compassionate, true daughter of our King. I so much appreciate you articulating my thoughts for me in your blog and could not agree with you more. Church, we need to step up. Father, forgive us for failing miserably and thank You for your Grace. May we truly experience it so we can show it to others. Thanks for posting, Jen!

  68. I actually don’t agree with this.

    • You totally don’t have to. Thanks for reading and commenting though. I really addressed it to an audience that I know and love originally, and it went a little nutty and got shared all over, so it may not apply to your situation like it does to mine.

  69. This country was founded on freedom of religion and separation of church and state. Live your life according to your values and beliefs but people need to stop trying to foist their beliefs and wants on the rest of the country.

    • I agree. I try to see behind some of the motivation, and I think it is fear. I think for some people the “brave new world” is truly frightening to them. And I think they revert to walls to box themselves in (and sometimes others out). But I wrote this to Christians and I believe for us, fear has no place in our lives. We serve a God who tells us not to fear. So… that’s some circular reasoning for you and I apologize – I’m a bit tired. But thank you for reading and commenting.

  70. I will simply say this: As Christians we believe that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. That while we were enemies of God, he reached out to us to bring us into his family. That while we were lost, he sought us and loved us and redeemed us.

    And yet Christians are known for their hate. We hate gays and we hate those who have abortions and we hate those who are simply not like us. The church in America still is not reconciled to race–the most segregated hour in America is church on Sunday morning.

    We can do better. We can make it a goal to love people to the same level that God does, which is absolutely and unreservedly and without conditions. We can look at what God really calls us to do, which is to live a life of compassion, and we can give up the obsession we have with the way people love or live.

    There is a world going to hell around us. Our response has to be more than simply agreeing with their destination and helping them on their way.

    • Oh I so agree with you on the segregation on Sunday mornings. I have prayed about this for years, begging the Lord to bring unity, and with it, diversity into our churches. Genuine live IS key – and that’s deep messy love that requires giving of ourselves. Thank you for your comment. I’m ready for a new day with new mercies.

  71. And one more thing–we must question a faith that can operate only when an election goes our way. We don’t need a Republican president in order to live a faithful life as a follower of Jesus.

    We have an eternal king who holds the heart of the president in his hand. We have a faith that based on an eternal ever-living God. We believe that by faith the world was created. How small is our faith if an election causes us to think that the world is beyond redemption.

    Buck up. Get a bigger vision of the God you serve and love.

  72. Jen, it is amazing how God sends similar signals to His prophets. I wrote about this exact topic on my blog today 11/8/2012. Thanks for the affirmation of His message.

  73. Thank you for saying what I’ve tried to say all week long — prayer is our best defense, offense and the only way to turn this country around. It’s not about politics, it’s about loving our fellow man, warts and all…

    • I love your comment. Prayer is our defense, offense, and hope. And we do need to love – warts and all (and there are a freaking ton of warts, aren’t there?). :) Thanks for commenting. Have a great weekend.

  74. I worry that our leaders, being primarily men, cannot really publicly express that they love everyone. That is just not very manly. They need to show that they are strong and can give the back of their hand to someone…a greedy rich man or a lazy poor man. And I am sure empathy is not one of my strong points. A very positive sign was the election of so many capable women to real leadership posts. Maybe they can find the words to publicly repeat Christ’s words to love everyone unconditionally.
    Richard

    • Richard that is an interesting observation. And I’m not sure, but I’d love to know the percentage of women in races who won. Wouldn’t it be weird if women just communicate empathy better? It may be a gender thing a bit (which in the church led by 90% men, that’s interesting). But to counter that, I have a pastor who expresses love in really bold, humble ways. He’s not afraid to cry, but he’s strong. So there is a way – it’s just hard because it’s kind of new to be vulnerable. But good thoughts. I personally am drawn to women leaders.

  75. I am the gay person the church turned against in the 1980s. When I read your post it was the first time in a long time I really felt that Christianianity could be what I remembered from my youth, before people knew that I was gay. If people that identify themselves as Christian acted more like this person has so eloquently described, we could all see our common beliefs and goals. I have remained distant from organized religion because 30 years ago my born again sister played some caustic tapes of how I would die a sinner. The day before I came out to my sister we laughed and loved life . I thought that it was against God to tell lies and from this experience I learned that some Christian people really want me to lie. My sister and I have repaired our relationship, but my relationship with the organized church remains fractured.
    I was compelled to write today because what you said in your blog gives me hope, both for the church, for myself, and for the healing that must occur in our nation. I wish that I could have spoken to you when I was 22. It may have helped me in a time of great isolation. Thanks for your courage.

    • Listeningnow – thank you for commenting. I am honored you would take the time to read something written from an obviously Christian viewpoint. Thank you for being open to that. And thank you for writing. I am so sorry for the hurt and the isolation. I am grateful you were able to repair things with your sister, but I’m sure there was a ton of pain. I will be the first to admit that even now, we in the church struggle with how to truly love our LGBT friends. We certainly don’t do it perfectly, but I hope we are getting better at it. We serve a Savior who takes all of us with our messes and our sins and give us His righteousness. And we are trying to learn how to extend those same arms of grace to all people. So I’m so grateful this gave you hope. I agree – we need healing in our nation. That is what I am praying for. Thank you for your courage.

    • To Listeningnow–

      This is a weak response, now, after so long, but I’m sorry you got treated that way. There’s no way to remove the pain and sting, and there’s no way to remove the shame of the church in doing what they did to you.

      It’s crazy how the church got so focused on the issue of sex, especially since we can’t really, and don’t really, talk about sex in any way that makes sense to me.

      I do hope you will find some people who represent Christ to you in a real and resurrected way. I believe he’s still there and still available, a friend to us both.

  76. Wonderfully written entry, Jen! I was raised in the Southern Baptist church and like Rebecca above, I started to detach myself from organized religion around age 18 when I couldn’t reconcile the teachings of Jesus with the intolerant rhetoric that was constantly spewing from the pulpit. I decided to continue loving Jesus in my heart but I am embarrassed and hurt by the rampant hypocrisy of the Christian community. Leading up to the elections, I got several e-mails and read blog posts by religious family and friends that overflowed with hate a vitriol about the president and the Democratic party that made very uncomfortable (I am an Independent). The Christian right is putting a very ugly face on this religion. It seems like too many of us get swept up by voices that claim to represent us like Rush, Pat Robertson, and Glenn Beck who really just bigots in sheep’s clothing. What kind of society are we without genuine love and compassion? Whatever happened to WWJD? We’re really just put on this earth to love God and love our fellow man. Why is that so hard? While I am very pessimistic about the direction evangelicals are taking both the GOP and Christianity, I am uplifted by most of the comments on this page. Thanks, Jen, for expressing what I have had difficulty articulating on these issues.

    • I got some interesting emails in the past few years, too. And they almost always served to do exactly the opposite of what the sender hoped. :)

      I will tell you – there is a movement even in the evangelical world that is encouraging to me (and I’ve been in this world a long long time). There are many churches who are changing the paradigm and refocusing on truly biblical ideas, loving people, families teaching truth to children, caring for the poor and the oppressed, and giving of themselves to make the world a better place. Now we still have some seriously vocal people in leadership positions who espouse what I consider to be an unloving and even arrogant tone toward the world at times. We still can get power-hungry. We are not there completely yet, and we probably won’t be for a while. You turn a ship in degrees. But there is hope.

      I am glad you are encouraged and uplifted. I am too. This has been a fun dialogue across aisles/beliefs/ideas.

  77. Wow. Thank you for this, Jen. Like many others, I saw this post via Facebook. I can’t tell you how much this article resonated with me. I am a Christian, but I’m often sad and frustrated with the way others who claim to be Christians behave. We are supposed to be the “light of the world and the salt of the earth” — we’re supposed to follow Jesus’ example, share God’s love, and make people’s lives better.

    Jesus said “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” No one in this world is perfect, and Jesus told us not to judge each other. We all struggle with pain, heartbreak, and hardships. If Christians would stop judging, ranting, and condemning, and focus instead on reaching out to people in need, really getting to know them, and helping them, no strings attached, I truly think the world would change.

    God Bless!

    • I agree with you Rebekah – I think the world would change. I have friends on the ground in Haiti. They minister to people there – meeting needs, delivering babies, caring for the sick and hurting. There are no strings attached. They are clear in what they believe – but they don’t force it. And they are changing people’s lives. People are coming to Christ in droves, family legacies are changing. It is simple but we’ve made it really really hard. Thanks for your comment.

      • That’s so true. We’re making it too hard. God’s love is greater (and simpler) than anything our human brains can comprehend. Only He can heal the hurt and pain of our human souls.

        It always makes me cry when I think that, in all of my filth and anger and unworthiness, Jesus died for ME. He loved me that much to give Himself for me. Nothing I could ever do could earn that. To him, I am his little lost lamb who has finally come home. And He is there for anyone that cries to him for salvation. If He can die for us but we can’t share that love that He gave to us so freely, we are not acting like His children.

        Thanks again for this. I hope it inspires us to get back to what matters. Sharing the eternal healing of our risen Lord. In Him we have our hope!

  78. This is so on point- thank you so much for posting this. I recently came to Jesus, after meeting a man who exemplified Christ’s love to me. Now, I was raised Christian, baptized Christian, and I left the church early in my life because the answers and support were insufficient for what I was experiencing. I was bitter and angry, and I have been repulsed over the years by the rhetoric, judgment, ignorant faith, and the Christian “optimism” that blinds people from facing what is really happening. Jesus wasn’t about that- in fact, he spoke out against the hypocrisy that so many Christians exhibit today. I did vote democrat, and I did so because I do choose to love my neighbor, and I don’t choose to cast stones. Voting that way felt the most aligned with my Christian values.

    • I am so glad you came back to Jesus. Many of us – myself included, walked away at one point from the church. But there is hope there, when we find the right fit of a place that truly lives out what the Bible says.

      Jesus certainly did speak out about hypocrisy. I often shudder to think of his treatment of the Pharisees – he was so much harder on them than anyone else. He seemed to have a connection with the people who were powerless. They could be broken, blind, ill, living a life of total sin – And Jesus went to them. He did not leave them there. He changed them. But he was drawn to them. But those who were clean on the outside, but filled with pride telling people how to live? Jesus called them whitewashed tombs. I think all of us in the church need to be cautious and heed that warning, (and read Matthew 25 a few hundred times).

      Thanks for your comment. Have a great weekend.

  79. When I read this, I literally sobbed. I read parts of it to my husband, because it was if you had read our minds from recent weeks and recorded our thoughts. You have done a beautiful thing here and I feel sure that God is smiling.

    • Oh Jo Ann – thank you so much for your comment. I am honored that it blessed you. I really have been blown away by the comments – it seems that God is doing some healing and reconciling here – and that blows me away. He is good to us.

  80. Jen, this is wonderful. Personally, I believe there is one more path to God, but I am certain that following Christ is one of them. Christ and his mother Mary are dear to me and guide me every day. My wife and I worked as volunteers for President Obama’s campaign. On Tuesday night we had just finished the last phone bank and watch the returns with our volunteer colleagues. When the election was called we went crazy with joy. We had all worked so hard to help. We had believed so deeply. But in the midst of that joy, I was struck with the thought of our counterparts who had given so much time, effort and passion to help elect Governor Romney. My heart went out to them. When I got home, I put this post up on Facebook:

    “From an Obama Volunteer: I want to say thank you to all the volunteers who worked on the Romney campaign. I respect your work and your dedication. I know how hard you pushed to spread a message you believe in. As I cheered with my colleagues last night, I thought of you and my heart went out to you.

    Yours was not my message, but I will fight every day for your right to share it. The President said it beautifully last night. These arguments we have are the evidence of our liberty.

    Let us continue to argue and to work together to do great things in our Country. Our work as volunteers shows how much we love our nation and our willingness to work for what we believe. I offer my hand in partnership.”

    My wife and I have been talking about what that “partnership” looks like. I know we share more than what divides us. We just have to be brave enough to listen to one another. I am so glad I got to listen to you. I wish you many blessings on your family’s journey to adopt. Thank you again for writing this.

    • Hi Ben. Congratulations on a battle hard-won! I bet you guys are exhausted. I saw the President’s speech to his staff and although I could tell he was tired, I could tell he was exhilarated. I am praying so much for him in the days ahead as he leads us.

      Many of my friends worked on the Romney campaign, I saw one of them last night. And although she was tired, she was ready to dust herself off and start the good fight again. You guys in politics amaze me. I am grateful for your service to our country. Your money is where your mouth is, and I admire that. It’s easy to be a pundit or be cynical – it’s hard to get in there and do the work to backup what you believe.

      I loved when you said “I offer my hand in partnership.” I think that is a great picture of what I am praying we will do. For people who believe how I believe, we want people to come to know and love Christ, because we believe in Him there is hope. But why would people want to know or love him if we aren’t reaching out a hand but instead are firing from a long-range missile? So I am grateful that you read my post, that you understood my heart to reach out in kindness, and for your kind response in return.

  81. Great article. I agree that we need to embrace everyone, regardless of their choices in life and regardless if we agree with them or not. However, I feel we have a responsibility the share how God views the choice to be gay then not be judgemental if they choose that lifestyle. I say this because I’ve had discussions with gay people that believe the Bible does not prohibit their choice and they insisted that the Bible even has evidence that David and Jonathan had a homosexual relationship. After a long discussion they were actually upset that I didn’t condone their lifestyle. I simply explained that my view is that I do not condone the choice to be gay but i also do not condemn those who choose to be because judging their choices is not my place. So how do you approach this way of thinking? I have no issues with anyone being gay but I think it goes a step too far when gays insist that Christians accept their choices.

    • Hi Dave. I completely understand your point and have discussed it before with my friends and mentors. And I’ll tell you – I’m of the relational model when it comes to sharing what I believe (and I’m not claiming that is the right model for everyone – it is just what I have chosen and I ask the Lord to cover over where I’m deficient). So for me, that looks like loving people first, getting to know them, getting to know their heart and their struggle, letting them know mine. Often this takes years. I want to be with them when they hurt. Love them where they are. Then, once we are in meaningful community, we will naturally get to the discussions of what we struggle with and what we believe. We together work out our salvation in fear and trembling. I confess my stuff – my need for help. And that starts being reciprocal. I try to never go into a relationship with the goal being to change a person – because I think that is a phony relationship and I just don’t see that as my job. I believe when I demonstrate love and live a life that honors Christ, His Spirit will work on the people around me to draw them to himself, convict them of sin if they need it, and deal with it. So that’s my model in all of my relationships – not just my relationships with people who have same-sex attraction. Now there are people who are more direct in their approach, and some of those people see my approach as unloving. But that isn’t my intent. I always am clear with my friends about what I believe. But this is just my method for relationships, and I hope it makes sense. Thanks for your comment and I’ll fully acknowledge that this is tough stuff and deep water, particular with same-sex attraction. Because what the Bible says and how these people feel is often fundamentally at odds and we are a bit caught in the middle between a standard and a living breathing person. And we need to be really wise and prayerful when we are in that place. But I think realizing that is hard for our friends who are in this world, and it feels like rejection, so we need to be really kind and gentle and loving in all of our dealings with them – I think that helps. What someone else on here said – we may not be able to fully agree – ever – but we need to be able to reconcile what we cannot agree on.

      Not even sure if that made sense – but that’s my viewpoint.

    • Hi Dave – As a gay man, I read your post with interest and the one statement that kept showing up is “choice”. I can tell you with 100% certainty that being gay is not now, nor is it ever a choice. Secondly, it is not a “lifestyle”, it is a LIFE. We are who we are, plain and simple. We are simply asking for the same rights as anyone else in this country. Should you choose to follow your Christian values and not accept us, that certainly is your right, however you do not have the right to curtail my rights as an American. Jen – thank you for a heartfelt and well written piece. I could go on and on about my background, but it is pretty much no different than anyone else in my position. What I WILL tell you is I definitely will be sharing this on my FB timeline as it is a message that needs to be shared. Thank you for opening this wonderful dialogue!

  82. Spot on Thanks!!!

  83. I came across this post on FB,and I decided to read it,and I’m eternally grateful I did. I am not american,but like so many people around the world, I followed the elections. Like so many people, I could see and sense the great divide in parties,beliefs and core values. And I could see how much Christians have misrepresented Christ,and it broke my heart as I’m sure it breaks Jesus’. I wasn’t going to comment initially because I didn’t feel like I was in any position to,as I’m not American.
    But I decided against it when I read the various posts, and I’ll just like to say that, what you’ve done here is very gracious, very loving and very Christ-like. Jesus would be proud of you,and I am, too. It helped even me to realise that I still have a long way to go in the dispensing of my Christian duty to my neighbor. May God help us all to love, love,and love some more. That is the only way to bridge the gap.
    God bless you,and yours.

    • Oh thank you Omawuri. Such a beautiful encouraging response. I have been surprised at how many people outside of the US have posted and have recognized what I am talking about. Apparently our division and our fear is easy to spot – even from far away. Thank you for saying you are proud of me, and that Jesus would be. I truly did want to, with this post, and with my life, give Him honor. So for you to see that really encourages me. Thank you for posting.

  84. Dear Jen….As a Jewish man, and a progressive to boot, I was totally blown away by your post, by your eloquent and heartfelt writing. I was born and raised in Texas, and many of my dear friends growing up were and are Southern Baptists. I read with tears in my eyes, of your love and commitment to the values of Jesus Christ, and I assure you that His are the values we share. I don’t know enough about the New Testament to do chapter and verse, but I do know that loving each other, and seeking to understand each other is pretty high on the list. Why, I keep asking myself, are we so far apart? Why is it that, in my attempts (and I promise that I am just talking about myself here), to understand other points of view, I find it so easy to explain where I am coming from, but people from the “other side” couldn’t explain themselves. I finally reached a conclusion that surprised me, and that wasn’t based on lack of information. I think that people are VERY conflicted when their “gyroscopes,” their moral senses, get all caught up in opposition to what they think “others” should and shouldn’t be doing. It’s confusing because people really believe that it is “simple.” And that is when they forget G-d. Some people tell me that “fear is the opposite of faith” but you know, I just don’t buy that, because it is a crazy, complicated world out there. It’s too big, even for really smart people like me (kidding). So what I am asked to do, I think, is to walk forward WITH FAITH, WITH COMMUNITY, despite my fear, despite my confusion….and that’s what I heard you say. So what I really think happened, is that many people cast votes out of fear instead of in faith….looking at the simplest answers for complicated problems, looking to some outside place, instead of looking to Jesus, or G-d. I am SO GLAD you are there. Thank you….Randy

    • Hi Randy – thank you so much for reading and commenting. I loved when you talked about walking with faith and community – that is so important – I think it grows us and reduces our fear (or at least silences the voices of it). Thank you so much for your gracious response.

    • Oh and by the way – I live outside of Dallas, started going to a Southern Baptist church in high school, and am now married to a worship pastor in a Southern Baptist church. So it sounds like you know pretty much what my world looks like.

      And I also agree – this world is complicated. These issues are really hard ones to navigate – on both sides. The easy thing is to assume and build caricatures of the other side. The harder thing is to listen, to understand, and to work together. So I’m with you – I’m tired of the simple. I’m ready for the complicated and the messy. I’m ready for understanding and working together and confessing that we don’t always have it all together or have it all figured out.

      I personally think the messy is the holy. I think that is where God is.

      Thanks so much for posting.

  85. Jen, I lost faith in the church many, many years ago when my uncle committed suicide and the church tried to tell me that he was not going to Heaven. I was angry with God, but I never stopped believing in God. Today, I am not a regular churchgoer because I see so much corruption, hate, and fear-mongering in too many churches. To me, God is about love and acceptance and helping people: not about teaching us whom we should hate and fear and lobby against.

    While I don’t think Christianity rules our government, because we are a nation of religious freedoms to choose any religion we prefer, I think the tone of your post is spot on. Why aren’t we working together instead of whining about it? Why aren’t we looking for solutions instead of divisive actions? More people would be well served by reading your post.

    • Kristin I am so sorry for your loss, and so sorry that people in the church took that opportunity not to love you but to push you away. There are so many of us who just struggle with wanting to put earthly concrete boundaries on what Jesus did. This person is in (their sin isn’t too bad). This one? Oh, he’s out. I think we quietly judge our lives away much like the Pharisees did in Jesus’ day. I so often remember the thief on the cross next to Jesus. He recognized who Jesus was, he asked Jesus to remember Him, and Jesus said “Today you will be with me in paradise.” We turn to him. He’ll clean us up. He’ll cover over our sins. He’ll cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He’ll walk with us.

      Thank you for your comment and your courage in posting. Have a great weekend.

  86. Thank you for your thoughts! I know it is hard not to feel like the world has ended when there are so many changes as we have experienced in the last twenty years, and especially in the last two presidential elections.

    I am on the other side of the fence. The reactions many of your readers are experiencing are the same ones I felt after President Bush’s election and reelection. As a gay man and an Episcopal priest, I have spent the lead-up to this election trying to be cautious and kind in my words. I too have faced the problem of convincing people the Church is not a political party; in my case, though, most of my friends and many of my parishioners are liberal Democrats. The Church is supposed to stand outside of earthly kingdoms so we can be the ones who call them to account when they do not care for the poor, when they do not respect the dignity of every human being, and so we can call them and the world to peace.

    Now, I am tasked with not buying into what I can only describe as gloating about the election, and with finding a way of caring for a number of staunchly Republican parishioners who were emotionally crushed by the results. We began this work by holding a Eucharist (Communion Service) on Election night at 5:30 PM where we emphasized our oneness in Christ. As priests we wore purple stoles (Get it? Not red, nor blue, but purple.) We prayed, and shared the bread and the wine, reminding us of our true allegience. It was a very healing service long before we all went home to begin watching election results.

    I suspect part of the secret lies in how we disagree as people. When one group or another is demonized by their opponents, no wonder we can’t hear each other’s true heartfelt concerns. I have been guilty of this. Only when we see Christ in each other’s faces can we heal this broken world.

    Again, thank you Jen for your inspiring thoughts.

    • Rick – thank you for your post and your response. I read about churches doing the election day communion and thought that was SO powerful and SUCH a great start. I love that! I love that we come together, regardless of our political leaning, and we honor the one who made us. Thank you for leading that for your church. And I loved this sentence: “Only when we see Christ in each other’s faces can we heal this broken world.” AMEN. Thank you for your post and for your service to people. May God richly bless your church and your ministry.

  87. I had a friend share this with me. In my opinion, the evangelical church is in the midst of an exorcism right now. Those who belong to Christ are waking up to the ugliness that we’re surrounded by. Those who belong to the “bomb-thrower” (diabolos = ballo “to throw” + dia “amidst”) are having their true colors revealed. I wrote something comparing our present circumstances to Jesus’ exorcism of the legion of demons from the Gerasene demoniac in Mark 5. As the pigs race in fury for the cliff, God’s people will be set free from our chains and stop ranting and raving in the tombs. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/morgan-guyton/pigs-to-the-lake-the-evangelical-exorcism_b_1982351.html

    • Ok so don’t laugh, but I so cringed when I saw exorcism in your post. I’ve had a few seriously fundamental people come on here and not only call me the blind lost girl leading the blind lost people straight to hell, but also start to attack some of the kind and brave people who have posted. I actually had to SPAM one guy – which I never do. But I just can’t allow those kind of attacks on my blog. So, cringing a bit, I checked your link.

      And seriously – brilliant. So well done. Oh how I have been through those demons. Those stages of Pharisaical behavior. I remember the Christian rock rebellion. I laughed about your Rush phase. I remember when I felt the need to delineate the source of AIDS before we’d consider the care for it. I have so much I need to be forgiven for. But I’m so grateful for all I’ve been freed from. So much of what you wrote does apply to where we have been, and where I agree with you that I hope we are going. Everything about our response for years has felt off – and I couldn’t put my finger on it. So I wrote this out of that place and I see what you have written echoes the same idea.

      I am deep in Southern Baptist life (being the wife of a worship leader in a small Baptist church), and I am feeling such great hope about the future of the evangelical church. My church is full of people discovering freedom and life in Christ. I feel we are shedding the layers of religion and power-grabbing and falseness and hypocrisy and we are learning that we are all broken people in need of a Savior. I am moderate, and I join together in my little church with very conservative people and we love each other. We don’t always agree – but we reconcile.

      Thank you for posting, and for writing your article. I pray it reaches many thousands of people (I love the HuffPo Religious section – such a great resource for the church).

  88. This was great to read. It makes me feel so much more comfortable with calling myself a Christian. Sadly, I don’t tell many people about my faith because I don’t want to be associated with the Republican party’s hate stance.

    • I just realized that my first comment was poorly worded. To clarify: I do not think that Republicans or the people who vote for them are hateful. Just that in our culture “the Christian Right” is sometimes associated with hate toward people who are poor, gay, or immigrants.

    • DUDE. So good. Thank you for posting. Here’s where I cheered: I too was “Sad about the loss of truth in all this, sad about the billions of dollars spent on all these elections” (SERIOUSLY – so much money and energy wasted). I too, although I respect Governor Romney and his family, was concerned about the “redefinition” of Mormonism. I’m not versed enough on Mormonism to judge what it is or isn’t. But let me tell you, I have been in the church for 20 years, and ONE thing has been taught about that religion for the entire time. But in the past year, that has been walked back in the most unbelievable way. And I kept thinking “Wait – if we’ll reverse on this – what else can we reverse on? Because I have a list of verses about the treatment of women that I’d love to see given this treatment.” :) It reeked of hypocrisy and I was so absolutely shocked by it. It broke my heart. And then finally, “In many ways, this was an election between Caesar and Caesar. Every election is. And regardless of who wins the election, the Church has to represent Jesus, and Jesus is the ALTERNATIVE to Caesar.” You are absolutely spot on. We who are in Christ are outside of these human constructs. That’s important, so we don’t go down in flames when the human constructs inevitably do.

      Truly brilliant. Thanks for posting.

  89. Jen, I have read this and re-read this several times. I totally “get” this post. It spoke to me and was so healing. I think the church in many ways has become overwhelmed and at some points become very complacent. The point is we serve Jesus, we are His disciples, we need to make following Him our lifestyle. If we love as Jesus loves, served as Jesus serves the term “Christian” wouldn’t be so exclusive but inclusive. I pray for you, I imagine only a small portion have actually commented but many have read your post. I sincerely pray that this post goes in a positive way beyond anything you ever could have anticipated. I FIRMLY believe God has spoken through you and has used you to reach many. It is a beautifully written letter to the church in middle-America.

    • Thank you Katie. Your response truly touched my heart and encouraged me. I think you are right – we have become overwhelmed. I think the task seems too big, the world seems too scary, the lack of control is unsettling. But I have hope because I think it reveals us.

      I know I can truck along, thinking I trust the Lord, think I’m all good, until something tough happens. We lose a job. I have a miscarriage. I have a friend betray us. Then, in that place of brokenness, I often realize I had kind of wandered away from the Lord a long time ago and things weren’t actually so rosy to begin with. And in that place of brokenness, I turn back to him. And even though my situation isn’t resolved, I’m better. I have peace and joy and strength and I can feel Him leading me.

      I think that is where we are as a church. We were unsettled. Our hope felt lost. But I hope we can realize that if our hope was lost over an election, our hope was in the wrong thing to begin with. We can return to Him. We can honor Him by returning Him to the place in our lives he deserves – the dead center.

      And Jesus doesn’t smack us around when we return to him. He receives us with open arms. I’m so grateful for that. I’m so hopeful for the church. I’m so hopeful for our country.

  90. Lovely work, Jen. I’m a liberal atheist, but I’m in love with the idea that we might disagree on our religious ideas and still sit down to talk sensibly about serious issues our country faces. I’ve shared your post on Facebook; I hope that my conservative friends will read it with open hearts and minds. Of course, the key word there is HOPE. Much love to you and your family.

  91. This is going viral in Christian Left circles. As Christians who believe the Democratic platform is more aligned with our views as to the poor and marginalized I have become bitter towards the Christians that formed Mitt Romney’s base. Being told repeatedly from pulpits that you are going to go to hell for your vote has away of alienating people. Your post gave me a little hope. From my vantage point…. the behavior of the right seems unchristian… Jesus said nothing about homosexuality or abortion but had lots to say about love and about our treatment of the poor. It seems to me that only gay marriage and abortion matter and that the real immorality of Paul Ryan’s budget was not even addressed except by the brave Nuns on the bus. I have come to dislike “Christians” and even took the label off my facebook because I did not want to be associated with what I see as hatred. For 30 years people in the church have told me I cant be a Christian and a democrat…. so my family left the church and joined groups like Soul Force and Believe Out Loud so we could practice our faith the way we believed. If others in our church thought as you did this divide need not have occurred. The church has not only lost the marginalized they have lost those who believe strongly in social justice, those who believe that the economic policies of the Republicans favor only the wealthy. Republicans continue to cling to the job creator non-sense despite the evidence that since Reagan we have enormously increased inequality but done little else with trickle down economics. I’ve struggled to understand how people I formerly respected could post horrible lies about our President interspersed with posts about Jesus. How they could proclaim that a Mormon candidate who repeatedly reversed himself, and an Ayn Rand follower (Rand’s writings have been used in the Satanic Church) could be considered the “Christian” candidates…. You expressed so beautifully what I have felt for sometime. I hope some in the church will heed your wise words. Let the healing begin…

    • I do truly hope the healing will begin. The Christian right and the Christian left are all a part of something SO much bigger – the Bride of Christ. We are brothers and sisters. I pray we can stop hating each other. There are values on both sides that align with our faith, and rhetoric on both sides that have no place in it. There are sincere hearts on both sides, longing for a better country.

      I am in a world of Christian conservatives, and I’ll tell you – they are truly humble precious people who don’t hate you. There is a vocal small percentage on both sides who ruin things for the rest of us. And there are two VERY different narratives being shared, so there is a ton of untruth, half truth, and caricature flying about. And it takes real wisdom, humility, and discretion to sort through it and work it out and find truth (not just the truth that fits our particular leaning).

      I am praying for the healing to begin. I think listening to each other, learning from each other, and being kind to each other is a great start. I personally am praying for our country’s leadership. I am praying for the president and the speaker. I am praying for brave hearts and strong voices crying out for unity and for the good of the American people.

      But most of all – I am praying for the church. Jesus, heal your bride.

  92. We have a president that has professed his faith in Jesus Christ? He has openly mocked the bible. I think the basic premise of your post is true- Christians are not getting it done. But the underlying feeling I get after reading this is that Democrat Christians are farther along in this struggle than Republican Christians and that is completely untrue. I totally disagree that a strong church is more important to fight for than a weak nation. It is because of this great nation- built on the ideals that Democrats challenge every day- that made it possible for you to grow up in a free to be Christian nation. Have you spent any time in a country where freedom of religion is not the norm? If we allow our nation to be weakened by legalized drugs and the complete eradication of the sacred unity of marriage then the church is absolutely in peril. Because the weaker our nation becomes and the more we lose the ideals that made us America- the less opportunity we will have to continue to practice our faith. Completely changing the way we view fundamental beliefs like what marriage is and abortion is wrong and drugs are bad is a slippery slope. Once you start sliding down it believing we can just love our way through challenging those fundamental beliefs- you cannot stop. Jesus did love everyone. But he balanced that love with a fundamental belief system and a moral code. We are all to blame for not loving enough. And if that was the objective of your post- I agree. But just because Democrats want to reach out and help others does not mean they are more loving. When Jesus taught the man to fish he was loving him exponentially greater than we can know because he was giving him the tools to eat forever. I’m a republican just like Jesus who believes that helping people is about teaching them not handing out to them. And I stand firm that holding true to the sanctity of marriage and the holiness of life is far more about loving others than it is dividing. I’m not against gay people because I’m pro-biblical marriage and I’m not against women because I’m Pro-life. And I believe we can be Christians who love others and still hold up these sacred values. Religion is undeniably wound up in the politics of this country- not just for the topics you present but because our nation was created to be a place of religious freedom which means that every law passed and every amendment is inextricably tied to this struggle for religious freedom. If the nation we created to provide religious freedom becomes so weak it is almost unrecognizable due to redefining these basic values, I believe it absolutely weakens the church.

    • Amanda – That democratic Christians are further along in this struggle than Republican Christians may be your underlying feeling reading this post – but that was not my message. At all. And in nations completely without freedom (China, Cuba), the church is exploding. The message of Jesus does not need a protected, friendly, free environment to thrive. Jesus himself lived under incredibly hostile circumstances.

      I’d recommend you read a post from Rich Stearns, CEO of WorldVision, to Christians that he wrote the day after the election. It is powerful and precious and this man gets what our faith is about and why this election is reason for hope, not fear.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-stearns/goodbye-christian-america-hello-true-christianity_b_2082649.html

      Thank you for posting. Sorry you misunderstood me so fully.

  93. Dear Jen, your writing reflects a clear, fine mind, and a huge, light heart.
    ‘Isn’t it true, Buddha, that community is 50% of the spiritual path?’ ‘Wrong, Ananda, community is 100% of the spiritual path’ I join in here to honor and celebrate your remarkably balanced vision, which contributes to the ongoing healing of our world and spirits, regardless of creed or party (or ego). Grateful blessings. No need to reply; rest! Wishing you [all] Peace and Joy.

  94. I’m not much of a Christian but I agree whole heartedly with what this article says.

  95. You know, I love this post. I think you are exactly right. I was just thinking about this the other night, and it seems to me that what the church has tried to do is to hold people to an impossible standard that we ourselves don’t hold to, nor could we even live up to it. And it’s not God’s standard, it’s our own standard. What I mean by this is that we tell people things like “Don’t be homosexual, that’s wrong”, “Don’t abort babies, that’s murder and it’s wrong.” “Don’t cuss, don’t drink, and don’t smoke. Those things are bad for you and their wrong.” “Don’t have sex outside of marriage, ’cause that’s wrong too.” “Don’t get divorced, ’cause God doesn’t like that.” “Go to church on Sunday, ’cause a good Christian person should do that.” And those few dos and don’ts are basically in a nutshell the standard we ask the world to live by.
    But here’s the problem I see with this: They are not saved. They haven’t surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. And therefore, they do not have the Holy Spirit dwelling within them. They may or may not even believe that He exists. So why should they hold themselves to His standard? We have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside us and empowering us to overcome sin, and we still can’t even live up to the standard that He set for us. So how can we expect them to do it?
    Besides which, the standard we hold them to is not God’s standard at all. It’s our own boiled down, made up version of it. God’s standard is not a list of dos and don’ts. God’s standard is absolute perfection. God’s standard is a heart that is changed, not just cleaned up outward actions and words. God’s standard can be summed up in two commandments: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,” and, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus said that in these two commandments, all the law and the prophets were summed up. Everything in the old and new testament can be boiled down to these two things. But we as the church try to boil it down like the Pharisees did to a list of rules and then we hold the world to that standard while not even applying it to ourselves. If you talk to most evangelical denominations, they will tell you that salvation comes by grace through faith alone, and not by works of the law. But then they turn around and sit in judgement of the world for not adhering to the standards of the law, which God spent thousands of years proving through the Israelite people could not be done. If it could be done, there would have been no need for a Savior.
    And in order to love God, and love our neighbors as ourselves, it requires a heart change. It requires the grace of God working in us by the power of the Holy Spirit to change the natural bent of our hearts from evil to good. It requires us to make a choice that we are not going to see ourselves as better than them, the we are going to humble ourselves and love regardless of what they’ve done or who they are. It requires that we lay down our own selfish desires and ask God to put His desires in us. That is hard. That is very very hard. And that is why we not only don’t hold ourselves to our own made up standard, but we also don’t live up to the standard God set for us either. We console ourselves by going to church every Sunday and being people who aren’t that bad. And we take comfort in the fact that our Salvation is by grace and not by our works. And we fail over and over and over again to live up to the standard God set for us. And we fail to do so because judging is easier than loving. Criticizing is easier than helping. Following a set of dos and don’ts is easier than letting God lead us in the way He wants us to go by the direction of the Holy Spirit. It’s easy for us to follow a set of rules and then look down on others who don’t follow them and feel better about ourselves. It’s not easy to look in the mirror and see our own hearts as they truly are: broken, blackened from sin, and in desperate need of cleaning and repair by the Holy Spirit.
    If we took a look in the mirror once in a while, we’d see that we’re just like them, that we are just as broken. The only difference is that we’ve met the one who can fix us and received His forgiveness and love. All He’s asked in return is that we show the same love and forgiveness to others, and introduce them to the One from whom that love comes. We have got to stop getting so caught up in the politics and the culture wars and start loving people and meeting them where they are. I mean, do you honestly believe that the Republican party really cares about the cause of Christ at all? Do you think the Democratic party does? Let’s wake up and realize that it’s not about politics, it’s about Jesus. It’s all about Jesus, and it always has been. This world is passing away, and one days soon, Jesus is going to return to this world He created, this time not as a baby in a manger, but as a conquering King, come to claim His bride and destroy all His enemies, and rule over all Creation forever and ever. Do you think on that day, it will really matter whether Obama or Romney won the election? Do you think it will really matter whether we were able to outlaw gay marriage or abortion? What’s going to matter is did we obey Him, and did we lead as many as would come to Christ?

    • Michael – so good – I wanted to cheer. This: “God’s standard is absolute perfection. God’s standard is a heart that is changed, not just cleaned up outward actions and words. God’s standard can be summed up in two commandments: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,” and, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus said that in these two commandments, all the law and the prophets were summed up.”

      AMEN. We cannot hold a world who does not know God to his standard. And we SHOULD hold Christians to a higher standard. Many have thought I’m coming down hard on Christians here. And truthfully – I am! I have high expectations of the bride of Christ. We represent HIM! We need to be better. Me included.

      Thank you for your comment. “What’s going to matter is did we obey Him, and did we lead as many as would come to Christ?” Absolutely. Thank you so much. Shine on.

  96. I was directed here from Facebook, from a very well known pastor’s page in California. I think his views on the results of the election shocked me enough that I considered writing him and his teachings off in the future. But God is doing a healing through your post and the new posts coming from Christian leaders online.

    I’m fortunate that I attend a racially and economically diverse church that has members that love each other despite our political differences. Matter of fact, our pastor has said that this weekend we as a church body will be praying for both the Democratic AND Republican party candidates and their families and for Congress as a whole that God will direct them in the months and years to come. I’m going to share this blog post on FB and see what the response from my friends will be. Praying it will be positive! God Bless You!

    • Jerri I LOVE that prayer time. Such a healing thing to do. Our leaders need prayer – both sides. Thank you for your kind words and I am praying that the Lord would use even something so small as a blog post to draw people to Himself.

  97. As a Christian in Minnesota who voted democrat, these thoughts you expressed I appreciate, I affirm. What you pointed out is precisely why I voted the way I did on the issues and offices. I think we all forget that we are All children of God… Everyone! Some simply don’t quite know it yet, that’s all. Nobody has the market cornered on any ultimate truth about how God reveals God to any individual person of faith, and I suspect that those who believe that their revelation is meant to be imposed on another might want to reconsider the source of that revelation. It is likely to be found in fear. God does not call us to dominate others, rather to live in the communion of the Holy with one another… Being in humble service to each other, with love in our hearts for each other. If we could all just pause and before we speak, ask ourselves, is what I am about to say or do negating another or charitably loving another, much of what we complain of would disappear.

    • Although we don’t agree on everything, I agree with you that we either act as agents of reconciliation or discord. Although our beliefs can be miles apart, when we pause, listen, and treat the other side with kindness, they listen to us instead of running from us. Such a great start. And I also agree on fear, Jesus told us not to fear, so when we’re listening to fear and reacting because of it, it’s not coming from Jesus. Thanks for your comment. Have a great weekend.

  98. I just want to say thank you. I’m not a Christian (and actually align myself with atheist/agnostic) but your words have given me hope that perhaps I misjudged Christians. I’m a white, middle-class WV resident, I lost hope in the church years ago because of the hypocrisy and judgement. It’s wonderful to see that I was wrong about some of you. Well done!

    • Hi Thankful! I’m thankful too. I’m on my phone and may have already responded, but thank you for your kindness and for reading. I think we do have reason to hope and I hope you see more lovely things out of the church in the years to come. Have a great weekend!

  99. I would say Jesus is exploding in countries like China where freedom of religion does not exist- not necessarily the church. Is there any other country that so freely welcomes all religions? Not like America. All I’m saying is America will have a tougher time being the free place it was created to be the farther and farther we get from some of the most basic truths. Sooner or later (and looking at the legalization of marijuana and gay marriage, sooner is more likely) it will not be okay in this country to say anything promoting what you believe if it infringes on someone else. I think it was in Connecticut that a school was sued for having a father daughter dance- by a family that had two lesbian mothers. So now that school can only have parent – child generic activities. All I’m saying is that as soon as you decide to open that door- you cannot close it – and justifying opening the door by saying you are just trying to love people says nothing to those who will be hurt by opening that door. There’s an economic phenomenon that shows how creating jobs in one area actually gets rid of jobs in another. So if I take something that was produced using steel and decide to make it using plastic- I could add jobs to the plastic company- but because I’m no longer using steel now I’ve hurt the steel company. When we say we are going to love people by creating laws like the ones Obama and many democrats have allowed we create an illusion of moving forward- loving everyone- fair and equal rights- but the bigger picture shows that policies that completely change the public perception of what is right and wrong are detrimental. And that detriment in the end is not really showing any love.

    • Hi Amanda. I can tell you are passionate about your political beliefs, and you don’t know me, but if you could see my face you’d know how truthful I’m being. I don’t want to change one of them. I’d love it if you voted the same way you did this election every time. I take no issue with the conservative movement. I’m 80% conservative myself. Truly. I did not write this to be the voice of the left or right wing. I don’t think either choice was fully righteous or fully evil and truly I can understand a vote for either party. I am a rare breed – a true moderate. I did slant this more to assess what I was reading from my particular right wing evangelical circle. I know there are just as many misconceptions and caricatures on the other side. It is all really hard to discern in this pundit filled sound bite driven culture. The only thing I was trying to do, I promise, was give “my side” (the side around me) an alternate view of the motivations of the “other side” so that we could disagree with them, but still love them and respect them. I completely respect your point of view, and you may be right, this election may have consequences I cannot foresee. But I feel like the Christians (on both sides) can’t use politics, of any stripe, to justify what can be perceived by another as hate. Because we don’t just represent our party. Ultimately, we represent our God. And that is a heavy thing to me.

      So I hope I’ve helped explain. I truly am not the advocate for the Christian left, or right. I’m the advocate for the loving Christian.

  100. After reading this post, I can say that while I may agree with some of these points, there are many points that I don’t agree with, I will not be commenting on either. I decided to post for one reason alone, that is to say if we as Christians really believe that God is in control there should be no analyzing, pointing fingers, or feebly try to fix the problems, we are now, way past that. I instead, will stand on the fact that I do believe that God has been, is, and always will be in control of everything, and I will pray, as we move forward that He has mercy on us all…

    • He is. You and I may not share much common ground, or we may share more than you would guess, but I truly believe God is in control, is working out His plan, and we who are in Christ have nothing to fear. Thank you for your respectful comment although you do not share my exact view of things.

  101. THANKS.

    I grew up in Christianity, in East Texas. At some point in all that church-attending, I remember being very happy because Jesus’ truth was said to be a gospel of love and kindness. (I needed a lot of both, because I was always a picked-on child.)

    And people seemed to be serious about that too! Quite a radical thing for people to be striving to be–kind and loving on a daily basis.

    Where did it go? I have nothing to do with Christianity now because I don’t care to accept a religion that seems to have become nothing but harped-on detailed moral rules and Right -Wing politics.

    Maybe the old gospel of love is in the churches still, just not in the politics of many Christians.

    • So many on here the past few days have shared your same story. And I am just so sorry. Thank you for reading a clearly religious post and commenting. I’m honored.

      I think the Gospel of love is in many many true Christians. And I hope you have seem that, if nothing else, in my post. Jesus loved, so we love. We are human though and we get tired and scared and freak out a bit, and we can misrepresent Him. But I have hope, because at the core our message is we have a Savior that overcomes our weakness. So I hope and pray that conversations like these, although they are uncomfortable at times, would show all people what our God is truly about. None of us are worthy. There is not a single shiny happy (or angry) Christian posting on here, myself included, who has deserved the grace of God. Not one. But God gives his grace anyway, through this crazy counterculture guy named Jesus.

      We in the church get it wrong often. But I’m prayerful and hopeful that better days are ahead. Thank you again.

  102. One side stands by their morals…the other side tries to twist their ideals into something moral and call it good. This entire piece sounds like guilt.

    • If this post sounds like guilt, then you’re probably reading the wrong blogger. Because what I’ve said here about my faith and what I’ve said in the other 170+ posts on this site are remarkably consistent. I believe in Jesus. And if any other allegiance in my world, including my politics, makes me misrepresent Him, then it needs to go. That is the truth I stand on. Thanks for your comment.

  103. I am an agnostic, and identify with the Democratic party. This is one of the most thoughtful articles I’ve read on the election all week. Thank you for highlighting that we all need to work together toward solutions.

  104. Jen,

    I am so thankful to have been led to this discussion through Facebook. God works in such amazing ways and gives us whatever we need; even a discussion about what His church really must strive to become.

    Thank you so much for voicing this truth with such skill. I am a Christian first and a Democrat second and have struggled with the hatefulness that has flown around this election process. Your words are healing and can bring us together to serve a broken world in Christ’s name.

    Thank you!

  105. WOW!!! Way to create dialogue! I didn’t actually read the views – I guess I thought yours was enough – Thank you, well said, indeed.

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  108. I read this on Rachel Tripp’s page. I know her from my old home church. I wanted to thank you for putting in words what has long been in my heart. I also appreciate your back up statistics. Made it easy to share confidently. Keep it up!

  109. This is one of the most profound pieces I’ve ever read. So much so, that I posted it as my Facebook status and have implored all of my many friends to read it. I don’t know who you are, but your words have touched my soul…. and I’m not even Christian.

  110. Nice to see someone living actual Christian principles. Sadly, a plurality, if not a majority, of “Christians” have long since abandoned the teachings of Christ.

    While I won’t ever be a member of the faith, it is encouraging to see that there are still people of the faith with whom I can be a fellow-traveler.

    Kudos.

    • Hi Nathan. Thanks for reading. I’m sorry for any hurt us who bear the name of Christ have done to you. I do consider myself to be a fellow-traveler, alongside of all of you. And I really am not the only one. A great number of Christians are humble beautiful people who truly love people. Now there are some seriously hateful people and awful things said and done in the name of Christ. You are right about that. But please know, from someone immersed in the Christian bubble (really immersed in a way that would probably make you laugh), that I have more hope than despair about the future of the church and the direction we are heading. We’ve not arrived (and never will), but many of us are at least on the right track. Thank you again for reading and commenting. I’m honored.

  111. Just wondered what you thought about government funding of partial birth and live birth abortions. A baby is pulled from its mother’s womb and its brains are sucked out by a “physician.” Or something went wrong, and it’s outside the womb and has to be murdered right there on the table. And in how many cases is this done because of “inconvenience.” Obama has voted in favor of this wholesale slaughter of millions of innocent children (please tell me he did not support live birth abortions), not to mention physical and emotional damage to women (advertised as “women’s reproductive services”). We should vote for this person to be our leader? We should not protest or be upset? Are we woman-haters because we dare to raise our hands and say, this is wrong. Do you really understand what an abortion is? Who is appalled by this barbaric practice carried out by so called doctors? Who weeps for the innocent and defenseless? Do you think Jesus and your Bible have nothing to say about the hardness of hearts who could devalue and destroy human life like this? So Dems conclude that Republicans are heartless? Not all of us are rich, Wall Street brokers. The abortion issue is only the tip of the iceberg of reasons why many Christians voted against the Democratic Party. Don’t be too quick to congratulate yourself on your superior understanding of Christianity. Do you really know how many churches are reaching out in love to broken women, troubled gays, and immigrants? Will you read about it in the media? You indict “the church” with great facility. Your reasoning is skewed. There is deception out there. Be careful.

    • I hate abortion – as I have stated both in this blog and more bluntly, here. http://lethoperise.com/2012/10/24/what-it-feels-like-for-me-to-be-a-christian-woman-in-2012/

      And yes – I understand what an abortion is. My immediate family has been forever scarred by an abortion. I have offered both on this blog and in my life to personally sacrifice to enable any woman to parent. I will move women into my house if they will make another choice. I will adopt their child if they want me to. My money is where my mouth is when it comes to my stance against abortion.

      I grieve for the babies lost. I grieve for the women scarred.

      I nowhere in this post told you, or anyone else, how to vote. I hope you continue to vote your convictions on abortion and everything else.

      But understanding and working on the root causes of abortion is important. We can’t expect women to choose life and then give them no support to do so. So I hope you are also considering adoption since you are so passionate about this issue. There are over 150 million children in the world who desperately need a home.

      The message of my blog was to ask people who are Christians to humbly consider the other side, so that they can understand where the other side are coming from and treat them with lovingkindness and not spew rhetoric and caricature their beliefs (as I was seeing all over social media). And sir, if I may say so kindly, isn’t it more powerful to fight abortion at the state level for the circumstances you describe? Here is a PDF with updated laws, state by state, and it appears that at the state level is where the power is for legislative change on this issue (particularly viability). http://www.guttmacher.org/statecenter/spibs/spib_OAL.pdf

      But heart change? No law can do that. Jesus can. And we gotta do better about leading people to him (myself included).

      **As a confession – I have edited this response several times because I found myself getting defensive and attacking back in response. If you read it before I calmed down, or if my blog emailed you an earlier, unloving response, please forgive me.

      • There is greed and corruption on Wall Street and in government. Neither is inherently virtuous. I do see both sides, and I also see deceit. Lots of power and greed on Wall Street. But then, let’s look at the truth about the abortion industry. Big money. Let’s look at the truth about big, inefficient, expensive government. It’s a power game, and its victims are many. I have counseled post-abortive women, homosexuals trying to escape the lifestyle, and yes, illegal immigrants. I know hundreds of Christians and ministries that are trying to do the same. They have Jesus’ heart for a broken world. I’ve seen Him heal them, restore them in ways that big government never could. I just hope big government will leave us alone so we can. I’m sorry my post was upsetting to you. The whole thing is upsetting, and were it not for my faith in the Lord, I would be just plain cynical.

      • Hi Mark & Red, I for some reason can’t respond to some of you directly (a quirk of my blog) – so here’s a generic response.

        First of all, Mark, I am grateful that you minister to post abortive women. As you may have read, my mom is a post abortive woman and I have watched her wrestle with guilt and blame for over 40 years, some of it coming from hurtful things said in the church. So thank you for that. There is certainly money in that world, big money for some, and it isn’t without corruption. It is a power game, I agree.

        Red Mann & Mark – I believe there are some “scare tactics” on the pro-life side that try to show how bad abortion is by using extreme examples, and scare tactics on the pro-choice side that try to make it seem like Republicans hate women, and it is hard to sort through the rhetoric and the truth. Even Nic Kristof, who I adore and trust as a reporter, has said some things when it comes to abortions that I don’t think are technically accurate (like the truth is, and because of a miscarriage I can tell you, the vaginal ultrasound is necessary up to 10-12 weeks to see where the fetus is so they can find out if it has been passed and there is no way around it because an abdominal ultrasound won’t show it. But it was used as a sound-bite as another “rape” being forced on women which technically isn’t true. From my understanding is has actually always been used to make sure all fetal tissue is gone so women won’t get ill from it.

        Tonight, on the internet, I was trying to research how much federal and state money go to fund abortions, and I saw data that points to none and data that points to a significant amount. And both seemed like credible data. I was researching PBA and trying to distinguish the truth, and found evidence of federal law banning it, upheld by the Supreme Court in 2007, and evidence that isn’t the case on other sites and that it is mostly regulated at a state level.

        So frankly, I haven’t been able to sort through the rhetoric to discover the truth on this issue. One of you may be fully correct, and both of you may be partially. I will continue to search because I believe it is important to be informed with truth.

        But if I can ask, as we continue this discussion, can we even disagree, in unity? In an attempt to understand, not further divide. Neither of you are pro-abortion, and you both are concerned about women. Can we remember that as we together talk about solutions? Because I really don’t want my page to erupt into this debate. It’s the same reason I don’t hold signs up at rallies – I understand the heart behind it, and don’t hate people who do it. But I also know that for women, there is a visceral reaction to this stuff, especially if they have experienced it. And I want this to be a healing place and not a place where missiles are thrown. Thanks for your comments. God bless you both.

        • Jen, even though we are 180 out on the belief thing, I think you’re quite a wonderful person with the patience of your proverbial Job. It’s just that I have grown so tired of the hatefulness from a significant sector of American that I want to strike out against it whenever I see it. But I respect you and what you are trying to do so I’ll cool the rhetoric and let you use your softer touch.

          • You are awesome – and I don’t feel like you used rhetoric at all. Thank you for your kindness, thank you for engaging, and thank you for your points. They were all very valid.

            The hatefulness is SO tiring, isn’t it? Sometimes I have to turn off the noise. I regularly go through “fasts” where I disengage from it altogether. Social media, traditional media, all of it. It is just so loud and all slanted and really can make us hard and mean if we let it.

            When you talk about Job, it makes me laugh. Oh how I have wrestled with that story. But one thing I have to tell you. Job said, at the end, that “my ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” Patience is HARD, waiting on answers is hard, enduring to the end is hard, but my hope is that if we continue in it, we will see each other and see God at the end. Thanks again!

    • Mark, the government isn’t funding any abortions, it’s agaisnt the law. Partial birth abortions are rarely used and are used by the anti-choicers to stir up emotions. While you may believe abortions are against your God’s law, many others don’t believe it. Again the point is you cannot ask the government to legislate to support your beliefs above anyone else’s. Obama, like me, is not “pro-abortion”, we think it is up to those directly involved to make the decision, not some religious or political leader. I am generally against abortion unless there is a realy good reason for it, but I, like you, cannot tell others what they should do. If you truely believe in your faith, then you know, that according to your Bible, it is up to God to judge and punish, not man.

      • “Rarely used?” Red Mann, you’ve bought into the propaganda. But even if the murder of one viable baby is condoned by law or by anyone as “pro-choice,” it’s still pre-meditated murder, and the baby dies, having its brains sucked out. So a woman choose to have her baby murdered? Have you ever watched “The Silent Scream?” It’s on YouTube.

        • Mark, This is where the disconnect for me is on our side (and I’m pro-life). We say we believe life begins at conception, but we are still more enraged by degrees when the baby is older. If we truly believed life begins at conception, there should be equal fight in us to stop it at all stages. But we need to be honest and admit that there just simply isn’t. There isn’t outrage against chemical birth control (all pills, IUDs, rings, etc), which changes the uterine lining so that the embryo doesn’t attach. I don’t ever hear that. I myself have had to be honest and look in the mirror and say that if we are right on conception, I have to stand before God and confess that for years I have used chemical birth control despite my belief. God grant me mercy. There isn’t outrage against embryo disposal after in vitro. I for one have never heard it. Oh wait, is it because we all know a woman who has battled through infertility and that would be so cruel to heap on her on top of everything else? We all know a precious child conceived through in vitro and that child is perfect and clearly completely a gift from God. We have chosen these arbitrary places to draw the line: RU486 (which in my understanding is exactly the same medication as chemical birth control only in stronger form), beginning of the heart beat at 5 months 4 days, first trimester at 12 weeks, 2nd trimester at 24 weeks (also considered viability in most cases), 3rd trimester for life of mom or baby. And then there are the cases of rape or incest (granted a tiny percentage) and we tend to view them differently. I’ve seen arguments for all. But if we truly believe life begins at conception, all of these are equal. And to draw the line anywhere is to play God. We all need mercy. None of us are righteous.

          You and I believe we will stand before God and give an account. Many others on here claim no allegiance to God, including Red Mann. And is fighting him this way really teaching him about his nature? Is it really changing their hearts? Vote how you will. Please vote your convictions on this. Please continue to research and educate yourself and do good in the pro-life sphere. But the facts on PBA (a political term, not a medical one) are clouded at best and to pretend a greater wrong with PBA than with any other stage is dishonest, in my opinion.

          Jesus Jesus Jesus. We all need Him. When we find Him, we find His standard far above where we can ever go as a people (perfection). We find ourselves in great need of Him. None of us are righteous. And His grace covers over it all.

        • Sorry Mark, buts facts are facts. According to Wikipedia “the procedure has had a low rate of use, representing 0.17% (2,232 of 1,313,000) of all abortions in the United States in the year 2000,” Even though the level was so low, it was the emotion against it that drove the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in 2003. By the way the actual name of the procedure is Intact dilation and extraction, but partial birth sounds more disgusting and stirs up more emotion. You are free to view all abortions as murder if you want, but that doesn’t mean anyone else has to. Back to my point that one persons beliefs, no matter how sincerly held, cannot be forced upon others.

      • “The facts are the facts,” and you’re citing Wikipedia? Yes, my belief is that murdering 3-5000 infants per year (or 2,232 according to your source) is wrong and would be a crime punishable by death in any other context. Would you object if someone killed your baby? Would you not be imposing your beliefs on someone else? Jen, I think you have a heart of gold. You speak your convictions. For me, to know that a mass slaughter of innocent children is occurring and say nothing against it is wrong. Not that anyone will be persuaded by what I say, and certainly not on a blog. I’ll bow out of this thread now. God bless you.

    • Widespread, affordable access to birth control does far more to prevent abortions than any law; if your top concern is truly stopping abortion (rather than policing and punishing women’s sex lives), you should be in fullthroated support of Obamacare’s zero birth control co-pay.

      I am pro-choice. I will never support any further legal restrictions on abortion. But I do believe (it’s not just a slogan) that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. I think it is very hard for most women to be in the position of having to consider an abortion, and I would fully support any bipartisan initiatives to provide good, accurate sex *and relationship* education, free contraception, free parenting classes to young parents, subsidized day care, more Head Start programs, anything that takes away “I didn’t want to get pregnant,” “I can’t afford to raise a child,” or “my abusive partner/parent is forcing me to” as a reason for abortion. But there are no such bipartisan initiatives as far as I know, because this country has become so polarized around this issue. Many seem less interested in practical steps to prevent abortions, than in winning a moral argument. Which is more important, preventing abortions or being right?

      The Republican Party seems to care so much for poor minority children before they are born, and so very, very little afterwards. I wish there was more demand for consistency from the self-described pro-life movement, and more support for working together on things we can all agree on like help for poor mothers.

      • Hi Hummingbear – thank you again for posting. I love how respectfully you have engaged. I want you to know I am fighting for these things. I am a bit moderate and not really within the Republican party, but I have friends who are TRUE influencers in that party. And these are the discussions I am having with them. Even today I had a conversation with a leader in the party about ideas they have for how they want to work, alongside the church, in communities to help women and children. To change that very accurate perception. They are looking at those options.

        I have returned to school as an adult to change careers, and I am studying child development. And there is so much more we need to do on that front. I agree with you. I’ve often thought of trying to help both parties write policies that address these problems. Because although I don’t believe legislation is always the answer to our problems as a country, there are some steps we could make with legislation to make things better for women and children. And those need to be bipartisan programs. That is what I am praying for.Seriously. I am begging the Lord for politicians who will put the people before the party.

        Working toward women never having to make that choice truly is one of my life goals. And there are others like me. There is demand for us to be working together.

        The number of abortions in our country is on a decline, and I am so grateful. But childhood poverty and education statistics are still abysmal, especially in our minority communities. Parenting resources, including contraception, are a part of the solution. We need to continue to push into one another and work toward solutions and not look at each other with hate and fear.

        Thank you for your comment. I am grateful.

      • I am impressed you have put in the time to reply thoughtfully to so many comments! It occurs to me you may be interested in the “Living Room Conversations” project which attempts to bring conservatives and liberals together in neutral space for civil good-faith conversation:

        http://www.livingroomconversations.org/

        And thank you for your work in building bridges!

      • Hummingbear hit the nail on the head for me. If you dont believe in birth control, dont take it. If you dont believe in abortion, dont have one. As a father, and nurse, and a Christian, I will teach my daughters to love God, respect and understand their bodies, how to prevent pregnancy, and absolutely never, ever, let the government tell you what you can do with your own body.

        Jen, great post, I can tell you have a huge heart, perhaps youll even vote for Hillary in 2012. All we need is Love.

      • I do like both of the Clintons (absolutely brilliant people) and bless her heart, I don’t know why she’d want to run again, and I don’t know why she’d even want the job of president, but if she runs, I will certainly treat her with honor, because she’s a fantastic representative of our government to the nations and she deserves my respect. Thanks for your comment.

  112. Thank you for your inclusive views. I recently wrote an opinion piece for my local newspaper which is linked here. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/bs-ed-question-6-letter-20121106,0,1455615.story

    It expresses more of my views.

    My hope is that we come together as Americans and as Christians. Honestly, had it not been for the United Church of Christ, I’m not sure I would be an active member of a church right now. I’ve often wondered what else it would take in our country to unite us as one while we watch horrific events like school shootings. We need to stop closing the doors of our churches and open our hearts to all of humanity.

    • I agree with you – when we retreat into our bubble and don’t shine light in the world, the darkness can be overwhelming. Thanks for your comment.

    • Suzanne I read your article and really appreciated what you had to say. I do believe, with you, that Jesus died for all. And how he cleans us up and changes us and what in us his blood covers over, I’ll leave to him. There is no other area of someone’s life that we shine such a spotlight on as their sexuality. And yet we ignore all of the mercy that we need just to get through the day. Thank you for your post. I truly believe that all of us who are in Christ will dance together as we worship him in eternity, and I look forward to that day with you.

  113. It’s like when The Grinch’s heart grew three sizes that day!

  114. Thank you & bless you for the wisdom and the HOPE! WELL STATED!

  115. I have felt for a long time this is more of a spiritual battle than an economic one. God is at work on this country, both on Christians and non-Christians. The church has dropped the ball in so many ways. But, we need to break this down even more and say that individual Christians have not done their part. The church is a body and each part has its part to play. I need to ask God where I have not lived up to my responsibilities. You need to ask yourself, we each need to ask ourselves what God wants us to do to show others His love.

    • Jayne – AMEN and AMEN. This is a spiritual battle. And we all have to “take up our arms” – not to fight each other. We are not the enemy. Satan is the enemy and he plays for keeps, and we need to defend each other against his attacks. I love your comment – thank you.

  116. Like many others here, I came to this blog through facebook. I vote mostly for Democrats because I am a Christian and they support policies that are more biblically based. The “Christians” I hear about on the news are people I don’t recognize as possibly able to know Jesus Christ because they are very hateful. Why is it that Muslims are called out because they do not speak out about the extremists in their midst, and yet, except for your blog, I don’t see right-leaning Christians speaking out against all the hatefulness spewed in Jesus’ name? Thank you for your blog, it gives me hope that there is a turning in the right-wing Christian world that they may be turning towards displaying the love of Christ to all. By their fruits you will know them. The “visible” fruit of the right-wing Christians is hate. I know that is not what many are about. But that’s why I joined facebook groups like the Christian Left. I don’t want to be associated with right-wing Christianity.

    • I think both sides have Biblically based views in their platform, and both sides have serious misconceptions about the other side. The visible fruit of some right wing people may be hate, but I live in that world, and I see much more good fruit than rotten fruit. It’s just the rotten ones get more air time. I am surrounded by the Christian right and let me tell you, they do love people. They are passionate about the abortion issue, not because they hate women, but because they love children. They truly do have good hearts. I just think, in this sound bite driven culture, all it takes are a few loudmouths with unloving attitudes to make an entire group of people look really really bad.

      So we lean into each other. We listen to each other. We love each other as Christ commanded. And we overcome even the forces that seek to divide us. Thank you for your comment.

  117. As a Christian that is also a democrat, all I can say is Thank You! I have never been called so many names or insulted by so many of my “Christian” friends as I have over the last few months.

    I think we can all commiserate with the feeling of wanting something and then not seeing it come to fruition. The results of the election are not a reflection upon one person. Outside of voicing your opinion and casting your individual vote, you had very little to do with the actual outcome. You did what you felt was right and there is nothing wrong with that. What is a direct reflection upon individual Christians however is the way you handle your disappointment. Angry, inciting, inflammatory language and generalizations about an entire population of people who simply have a different perspective is petty, demoralizing and divisive. Christians should be better than that. We all are. It is time to focus our collective energy on moving forward.

    • I really think you hit on something there. We all voted our conscience – we all voted our morals. We aren’t one side godless heathens while the other side is fully righteous. And bottom line – God will be our judge on everything – including how we vote, but thankfully we have a beautiful risen Savior who covers over our sins.

      But our response is another indication of our spiritual condition. And if we responded in anger, inciting and inflammatory language, and generalizations – yeah that’s really sin and there’s not way around it. We need to repent.

      Vote, then trust God, and treat others with respect and honor.

      Such a great comment – thank you for posting.

      • Love both Gail and Jen’s comment here. It IS the ugliness that precluded the election, (Christian/Democrat in a very Republican/Christian family) I have been called and witnessed others be called horrible names, I am sure it went the other way in good measure too, just not in my experience. But the aftermath of ugliness almost took by breath away. Saddened me so much to see Christians use Gods word as weapons.

  118. Jen, I am an atheist and do not share your beliefs in Jesus and God, but you represent what I think that Jesus would have wanted his followers to be like. Even as a child in church I notice a disturbing amount of self-serving superiority from too many, too much condemnation of those who didn’t believe as we were taught to believe. For those who don’t understand where the distrust many have for Christians and want to see what some “Christians” are doing in the name of your Christ, check out the RightWingWatch site. There you will find all of the bigoted, hateful things that cause so many to condemn Christians. I have talked to Christians who are blissfully unaware of the damage that is being done by these types of people and have no idea who, say David Barton, is. And yes they are deeply entwined with the Republican party. If you go there I’m afraid you might be shocked at what you find, but it is important for you to understand so that you can counter that hatefulness that they spread.

    • There is some terrible stuff on rightwingwatch and I’ve seen some of it before. In particular some comments from Pat Robertson on adoption really hurt my heart. But I also know that, for example, Westboro Baptist Church has maybe 50 members (maybe), but the media gives them a megaphone to “define” Christians when actually they are absolutely considered a hate group by every Christian I know. And as a person who pretty much believes the exact opposite of what they endorse – that hurts me.

      So although rightwingwatch is a tool, please realize that there is a small vocal minority of hate-spewing people in our world, and a vast majority of loving people. Have we maybe not done a good enough job distancing ourselves from the fringe? Yes I’ll certainly admit that. But please don’t let those people define us, because that is as hurtful as us assuming generalizations about liberals.

      Those of us who follow Christ are commanded to “love, as He first loved us.” Now we are FAR from perfect at it – but we do get it right sometimes. So please know from one Christian that I love all of the people who have posted on this blog, regardless of background or belief, because I was loved first.

      • Jen, I wish I could agree that these people represent a small minority, but they don’t. There are millions of Americans who buy into this hatred and bigotry. I am not generalizing about Christians, but many Christians seem to be unaware of what is being done and said in the name of their religion. The FRC, AFA, NOM, Liberty Council, Wallbuilders et al don’t exist because just a handful believe what they say, they exist because far too many people believe them and send them money, lot’s of it. I feel it is the duty of those Christians who consider themselves to be moderate and resonable to learn of the hatred and stand up to it, loudly and often. The power of this evil movement is growing and needs to be stopped for the sake of all of us, believer and non-believer. Another group you should investigate is the New Apostolic Reformation, a group that resolutely attempts to stay under the radar but is having a huge impact on your religion. Now is not the time to dismiss these groups as unimportant, please dig a little deeper. A site called Talk2Action has excellant resources on the NAR.

      • Hi Red Mann – I won’t disagree that there are major problems in the church. And that the problems are with a large block of it. And a great deal of it has to do with money. God warned us about the love of money but we fall into it SO easily (I certainly do) and money and power absolutely do corrupt. When I grieve for the church and when I feel we are off, it often has to do with how we handle money and power. I will certainly dig deeper and look into what you have posted. Thank you for the resources. And thank you for engaging on a Christian’s site in a respectful way. I am grateful for it.

  119. I applaud you, but sadly I think this is going to be a long uphill climb. I know so many who claim to be Christian but do not show evidence in their conversations with me that they walk in the Teacher’s footsteps…all the orders He gave us, not to judge, to love everyone as He loved us. How can anyone disobey Him and yet claim to love and follow Him?

    • I think we all, all of humanity, disobey Him and yet claim to love and follow Him. That’s the rub. Nobody does it right – at least not fully. There is none righteous, no not one. We are all equally dependent on the mercy and grace of a Savior who was, in fact, perfect, and in his death, burial, and resurrection we have hope.

      So I know what you see and hear is hypocrisy. I think we are all hypocrites (at least in degrees). But hopefully this has been somewhat healing and together we can all stumble, pick each other up, and learn to follow the Teacher, remaining close to him so we can hear His voice and obey.

  120. Thank you for a well thought out article. As a full time Christian worker, I appreciate your focus on reaching people for Christ first, and legislation second. I am encouraged to see believers who try to apply the whole bible to their politics.

    You have done a lot of work to respond to the comments above! I pray that God would remind you of all those non-believers whose hearts have been touched, and shield you from the criticism of fellow believers. May they know Jesus by our love!

    • Kara – sister – your timing is perfect. Thank you for the encouragement. It was like water on my soul. I have tried hard to engage on the comments, to “continue the conversation.” And some of the criticism has been a little jarring. But the kindness of people who don’t believe as I do has been precious. It brings tears to my eyes. So thank you for your comment. God spoke through you to my heart at the exact right time. Bless you.

  121. I am a Christian Quaker Liberal. Bless you for speaking Christ’s truth.

    • That is awesome. You may be the only Quaker I’ve ever personally interacted with in my life, so I’m excited! I love getting outside of my bubble. Your religion is another group that is always positively portrayed in the media, and has a positive reputation, as far as I have heard, around the world. So keep shining light, friend.

  122. Refreshing and of great importantance for all of us. Thank you for your thoughtful comments! From a liberal United Methodist Christian…..<3

    • Thank you Sally! Did you know you share the name of my favorite author? If you have children, or even if you just love fun beautiful things, you need to get the Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Jones. It is this wonderful telling of the bible stories in a truly lovely way (and the illustrations are AMAZING). My girls (3 and 5) although they are young they are captivated by this book (as am I). It is my go-to shower gift for new moms. So there’s a shameless plug (and if you are the author Sally Jones – THANK YOU!)

      • I am not “THE” Sally Jones, but I will be looking for that Bible for my grandchildren! Please keep going with your articulate and courageous blog, we need more voices like yours speaking up for Christian love!

        SJJ

  123. It’s been a long time since I was part of the church — I stopped going actively when I was probably about 12 or thirteen, so almost ten years ago. The reason I left was because even then I looked around and saw people teaching the words of Christ, but teaching them from the perspective of fear of the Other, from having to “save others” from their wickedness, from having to save the world from something never even named (I will say that I grew up on the east coast — I don’t know if the way things are taught end up changing). Even then I felt this break between Christ — and even Joseph Smith, who worked very hard to do things like bring women out of abusive and broken homes — and the rhetoric that many of my brothers and sisters spoke. But reading this has yet again given me faith in the goodness of our members, in the ability of those in the church to show goodness and kindness to others, and rationality in the face disagreement. Perhaps I will even attend church again next time I’m in the area of one, and hope that the speakers are those like you.

    • I apologize, I was linked here from a Mormon discussion blog, and assumed that you were LDS, too. So I’ll clarify by stating that religion. :)

      • No apology needed. I figured it out when you said Joseph Smith. But still – the fact that in this post, the person of Christ was attractive to you – I am so grateful for that. I trust Him to lead you well.

    • Ree you just made me cry, and you are why I wrote this post. I pray you will give the church another try, and I pray we will be worthy of Jesus when you do. Because He is good. I pray He will bless you and shine His face upon you, and give you hope. Thank you thank you thank you for posting.

  124. And what about the people like me who interpret the bible in a more moral & conservative way?
    There is a lack of accountability to allowing all these amenities.

    The country is headed towards socialism and our rights to praise to GOD is being lost. You will be forbidden to openly pray(look at our schools) look at Russia, but it will be ok to be immoral men with men women with women.

    I can only be thankful knowing I’ll be going to better place and NO ONE can take that away from me!!!

    • You are absolutely welcome to be as conservative as you wish. Just follow Christ first of all and when you present Him to the world, do so in a loving manner. I didn’t write this to change anyone’s mind – in fact I am mostly conservative. I wrote it so we on the conservative side would understand the views of the liberal side, so we can love them and reconcile to them. Because this division is hurting us in terrible ways – and the Bride of Christ should not be divided.

      You don’t have to agree, just disagree lovingly and work together to help people. That’s all I was saying.

    • You’ve always had the right to believe as you will, and to run your life the way you want. If you need straight-marriage-only to be the law of the land in order to life a life for Christ–then how big is your God? How broad is your faith?

      We don’t live in the kingdom of God on this earth–yet. And yet we are told to live a life of obedience to Christ. So we will always, as believers, need to live a life of higher calling.

      As Christians we believe in a dual life–we are residents of this earth and citizens of heaven. We have to live a life faithful to God here until we are called home.

      • Stephen I do agree with this. We have dual citizenship and we have SO MUCH to do on this earth that has nothing to do with how our government operates. We have a world around us who needs us to stop being afraid and shine brighter for Him. It’s dark out there – yes – but that is why we are the light. Jesus lived under a hostile Roman rule, shortly after He died, Romans crucified thousands of people in one day, but the church survived, and thrived. In China, where there are no religious freedoms, the church is flourishing.

        I am a mom and I look at my little girls and I want them to live in freedom. I want them protected. But the truth is – no matter how bad our world gets (and I believe it will get worse until the day Christ comes), because of our faith in Christ, we are good.

        Wars may come. Nations may fall. But Jesus is the Rock that will remain and on that Rock I will stand.

        Rich Stearns post was so powerful on this: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-stearns/goodbye-christian-america-hello-true-christianity_b_2082649.html

    • KT, you seem to represent the kind of attitude that Jen is talking about. You seem to have no compunction about making unfounded remarks about what you perceive that the current administration is planning. We are not headed toward socialism, and even if we were, what does that have to do with praying in school? Anyone who wants to pray in school or anywhere else is absolutely free to do so as long as it doesn’t disrupt the classroom or other’s activities. Children are free to bring and read their Bibles to school as long as they are paying attention to their lessons. Try listening a little closer to Jen and other commentator’s words before making such accusations.

    • KT, comments like hours just make me go…Huh? You can pray out loud in public, though public schools are for learning academics, not religion. No churches are being banned, or burned. What are you afraid of?
      Socialism? Well, no, capitalism seems to be doing pretty well, just a slump, although the DJIA is around 13000, up over 50% in the last 3 years, and corporate profits are soaring. Democratic socialism wouldnt be too bad, but it wont be coming here anytime soon. Rush and Fox love to toss out the socialist and communist labels at our President, but they dont seem to Have stuck. But thats the kind of far right hate crap that makes many on the left think Christians are all nut jobs. Along with denial of science. And homosexuality has been around for a long time. You can claim God didnt make them gay, but most of America disagrees. So if you disagree, marry a member of the opposite sex and live happily ever after. But stop trying to limit the rights of others to do the same. Be Christlike and love them. Pretty sure thats all Jen is saying.

      • Hi Marky Mark. There are many many who feel like KT, and hopefully we can all seek to understand her as well. I think you hit on something in your post when you said “what are you afraid of?”. Many are scared. And I sympathize. It is sometimes a scary world, and things are changing (too slowly for some, and too fast for others). I understand the fear, but I think that is when we who are in Christ realize that fear is never from the Lord, and that in the history of Christianity, the church has survived both hostile and decidedly anti-Christian sentiment (and frankly, we’ve been guilty of some crazy anti-humanity stuff as well). In Christ we have hope. We have no reason to fear. So my prayer for KT and many others like her isn’t that they would suddenly change their worldview (not my job and even if it was, I probably wouldn’t want to), but that the God of all comfort would speak peace to her heart so she would realize that in Christ, we have no reason to fear. The voices you named have encouraged fearful feelings and feelings of being attacked. My prayer is also that the church would turn off those voices, or at least give them the tiny, minute, biased input they deserve.

        Let’s all seek to understand, so that we can still love.

  125. In 1993 I was broke, alone, my mistake, and I was doing everything I could to solve my problem. I took my special needs baby to the grocery store in a backpack on the bus in the snow. The bus was crowded. Not a single young man got up to let me have a seat. I stood with grocery bags in hand, holding a bar, with a baby on my back. This was Colorado Springs, the Headquarters of Focus on the Family and Compassion International and many other missionary organizations.

    When my Mormon mother heard this, she told me to call the bishop and ask for help. I did. This is what he asked me: “Are you active in the church?” “No.” “Well, our policy is that we only help active members.” “My mother told me to call. She has been a Mormon all her life, most of my family has been paying tithing all their lives, and you can’t help me?” “Not unless you are an active member.” My mother was so angry when I told her that was how he handled me on the phone. I shrugged and said, “I really didn’t expect him to help me.” “Well, I did!” she said.

    Cliquishness and meanness – that is why I told my mom when I was 12 that I didn’t want to go to church anymore.

    In 1976 I left a Christian group, Shiloh Youth Revival Centers, because they treated my Vietnam combat veteran fiance the wrong way. Not with love and support, but with fear, prejudice, impatience, and tyranny. I was on my own in helping him. He had PTSD (we didn’t have a name for it then, but I understood what had happened to him and why he had the difficulties he had). The government had turned its back on him — given him a dishonorable discharge when he got addicted to morphine after he got his knee shot to hell. He had no high school diploma — he had said he was 18 and joined when he was 17. The military recruiter didn’t check.

    This is why I stopped calling myself a Christian when I left Colorado in 2004 and came to California where my real friends would help me get back on my feet and the State would help me protect my son from a mentally unstable stepfather.

    This is why I didn’t ask the friends I had made at Fellowship Bible Church to help protect me and my son. It was obvious, by the way they had acted in the times I had already leaned on them for emotional support, that they lacked faith.

    This is why I took my son into a domestic violence shelter, funded by the State, instead of staying with Christian friends who expressed fear of my ex, understandably, and were embarrassed when the police showed up on their porch and the neighbors asked…and then asked me to go to take my son to a shelter…I did, no problem…and don’t tell me trust God with my life ever again, since obviously you can’t trust him with yours.

    Easy to care for those you respect and feel comfortable around. But that’s not what being a disciple of Christ is, is it?

    • Saardu you are so right, it isn’t following Christ, and I am so sorry. Loving people and helping people is messy. It is HARD. Legislating is so much easier. So is writing a check.

      But Jesus didn’t call us to an easy road – he called us to a narrow road.

      I am so sorry. Jesus in Matthew 25 said that the sheep and the goats would be separate because of how they treated the least of these. If they gave the homeless shelter, if they gave the naked clothes, if they gave the hungry food. I so ACHE for the church to realize that was not theoretical or some kind of word picture. That was real. Literal. And the consequences of us ignoring it are catastrophic.

      I pray you and your son are safe now. I hurt for your mama-heart that had to endure that. I am grateful that shelter was available to you. I am sorry for how you have been treated. If you are still in the shelter now, and if you need help, please comment back and I will try to mobilize help for you. I am in Texas, but I know churches in California that are rare breeds and who really care. In the meantime, I want you to know I am about to pray on your behalf. That the Lord would heal your hurts, grant you forgiveness toward those who rejected you, give you peace, give you joy, and wrap you in the warmth of His embrace. That He would help you raise your son up to be a man of strength and honor.

      I am so sorry. I hope we do better representing Christ to you and your son.

      • My son is now 20 and in college and we have been safe, thanks to this State’s strong laws related to domestic violence issues. I got a great job in Nov’04 and have been able to steadily recover economically since. In January this year, I borrowed 26k from my 401k and bought a house near the college, thanks to Homepath.com – a great program for selling the foreclosed properties.

        I am happier than I have ever been in my entire life. I found someone who feels like my soul mate, if there is such a thing. We’ve been together for 3 1/2 years and he has never once been mean to me or my son.

        I haven’t gone to any church since 2004. And it doesn’t matter. I have peace and prosperity and friends and love in my life, and I am an activist helping to end the child sex trafficking business. So my conscience is clear.

        Thank you so very much for giving us such a clear and perfect blog to share today to calm the nerves of those whose candidate lost, and to restore common sense. God bless you.

        • I’m thrilled. Well done. You and your son are a huge success story. I am so thankful. And thank you for your work in the sex trade industry. That’s a big burden of mine and my husband and I also give to groups helping women like you are helping. God bless you, friend. Thank you for posting.

  126. Thank you so much for your insightful summary of the issues we Christians face today. I felt, during this campaign and for the first time in my life, that by voting one way or the other, I was alienating people within my community and family by my vote. When I researched conspiracy theories and found them to be false, I was called names and told never to talk to certain people again. It has gotten bad, and I do agree, we as Christians have within us the power to turn the tide, if we so choose, but we have to first be willing to submit to the will of Christ and ask to be used to his glory.
    Thank you again and be blessed!

    • Oh Twyla – I felt that. I felt aloneness and disunity in a church I’ve loved and been a part of for 20+ years because I too did my research and just didn’t believe the worst things being said. And I felt alone. I wrote this in part because I trust the church and love her ANC deeply want us all to be better and distance ourselves. Thank you for your comment – I feel we would be friends.

      • Yes I do believe we would! I felt the love of Christ wash over me and lift such a burden of sadness when I read this earlier today. I’m going to do as many have, and repost this. May He keep speaking through your writings and blessing us all! (feel free to add me on facebook if you like :)

  127. Well written post. Perhaps if more Christians felt like you there could be a constructive dialog in our country. Unfortunately the views, words and actions of the “Christian Right” have many of us on the left wondering which bible they are reading. The result is that we feel deeply insulted and offended by the hypocrisy and intolerance shown by people that purport to follow in Christs path. It is so offensive in fact that it is a complete turn off to anything good your side may say or do and leaves us wanting nothing to do with your Christ. Again well written post thank you

    • I understand. And to reassure you, there are more like me. Many many in my circle have reached out to me and encouraged me and are grateful for the dialogue. So I know that what we are known for is a complete turn off and leaves people wanting nothing to do with our Christ. I understand that, although it makes me ache. But I do pray that what I have shared is an encouragement and maybe helps bridge that divide and heal that very real wrong. God bless you Peter. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  128. Thanks for giving voice to what many of us feel. Most of my friends are conservative evangelicals and I have been trying for years to communicate why I am not a Republican and why I do not put much hope in the political process. One of the clearest biblical mandates regarding our civic duties is to simply pray for our leaders, which I am committed to increasingly do. Also, I have been struck recently by the repeated injunction in Scipture for followers of Jesus to “devote themselves to good works.” Change starts with me getting out of my comfort zone and loving those who do not look like or think like me, since they are not going to be walking through our church doors any time soon.
    Thanks again for a well thought out and thoughtfully presented piece; I will be re-posting this. Blessings to you!

    • Hi Robert. I think your convictions on this, and mine, are very similar. I was an active member of the party up until a few years ago. I had the bumper sticker and everything. And then I just disengaged. I just don’t have much hope in the political process. I do vote, and I prayed for MONTHS about how I would vote this election. But mostly I pray. I pray so hard, for all sides. I pray for our local political leaders and our national ones. I stay informed, mostly so I can pray. And we try to give of ourselves at every opportunity to change the world from where we live. And we try to love those we meet – because I agree – bringing people to church isn’t as easy as it used to be, much because of rhetoric like what comes out of our political parties.

      There is change within, and change without that needs to come. And all of that needs to start with heart change – toward each other, I think. Thank you for your comment. God bless you.

  129. Wow. I think you just stated my entire worldview better than I ever have. Thanks. And God Bless!

  130. Thank you so much. The Christian rhetoric has depressed and grieved me, as a Christian. This post is nothing short of post election sa
    Julie

  131. Post election sanity

    Julie

  132. Thank you for this really thought-provoking essay. I’ve spent the past hour reading both it and the dialogue it started. About 20 years ago, I was active in a politically liberal, spiritually dynamic, and radically inclusive United Methodist congregation, but after moving to another state, I stalled in my search for another church home. The exclusionary, judgmental rhetoric of right wing Christianity is so far from my own church experience that I don’t believe we are actually one in spirit. I’ve come to believe that there are many paths, and that those who insist that all must embrace The One True Way, whether Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or Scientologist, have, perhaps, lost their own way.

    Over the past two years FB has become a source of community for me. I am politically very, very liberal, and I have strong views. Many of my hometown friends are quite conservative, and some are quite religious. Over the past few months I’ve posted very little political content on my FB blog; the few posts I made resulted in the online equivalent of shouting, with competing facts and ideologies, and it was not just unpleasant, but destructive. Then I noticed that one of my friends who had been very vocal in his opposition to my views seemed to make an effort to find ‘common ground’ in our postings. That led me to try to change the tenor of my posts, as well as try to post non-political things that would let us develop a relationship. We may never see eye to eye on everything, but at least now we have a basis for a respectful dialogue about our areas of agreement and difference. It seems to me that this is the type of thing you were talking about, from an explicitly Christian perspective. But it seems to me that it needs to happen across the board.

    Your post and all the subsequent comments – and your respectful responses to them – have given me hope that out of our political discord can emerge a national discourse that can help us solve the very real and difficult problems facing our great but flawed nation.

    • Suzanne you get me!!! I think it is the tone and method to our disagreements that hurt my heart, more even than the disagreements. It feels SO few seek to understand before going off full-bore. But this dialogue has given me hope. We can disagree – but reconcile with one another. Only then can our hearts be softened toward each other and not hardened. Thank you and bless you.

  133. Jen: This was a thoughtful and well-written post. You are correct in the Church is not 100% perfect in its full expression of the love of Christ. And yes, there are some Christian denominations and teachings out there that belie God’s greatest commandment: to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. Those who profess Christ should also demonstrate His love, even when it is hard to do so, even in the face of sin. However, let’s remember that that the election was about electing a PRESIDENT not a PASTOR or MINISTER. I agree with the comments by “Molly”, Nancy O’Shea and Amanda Schaeffer. America was founded upon Judeo-Christian morals and to allow those morals to go by the wayside by electing a party with a platform that is antithetical to those founding principles is a slippery slope leading to a weak(er) nation.

    Giving/ helping the poor, widows and orphans – those in need has always been done by individuals, churches and para-church organizations. Government has its place as a ruling body: to protect its citizens within its borders and to promote the general welfare of its citizens – not to be the Big Daddy of its citizens. To look to the government as the “fixer” of our woes is a gross error, and to also make our Christian duty to love one another interchangeable with our civic duty is incorrect.

    As Christians (lovers of Christ), we ought to be purposeful in extending more love, grace and compassion to those who do not seem to “fit” into our neat little package of Christianity. It should be our daily exercise! That is what we, are individuals are called to do and be for those around us. However, let’s not so easily use the love of Christ to become morally irrelevant in terms of the ballot box. Loving someone who does not espouse my moral beliefs does not mean, nor should it mean I will turn a blind eye to a candidate – any candidate – who believes in abortion on demand or late-term abortion; nor should I acquiesce to a governing body that would easily advocate for a “redefinition” of marriage – because I don’t want to be “hurtful” or “judgmental” or appear “unloving”. To put it the other way: when I vote in favor of marriage as being between a man and a woman only, I am agreeing with and advocating what God has designed and purposed from the very beginning. Does that mean I “hate” gay men and women? Absolutely not! If I am against all types of abortion (late-term, on-demand, partial-birth), does that mean I hate women and think they should go back to the stone ages, and cease to have rights? No way! As a believer and lover of Christ, I have compassion for and care for those who have to come head-long with these life choices and struggles.

    My worldview is indeed clouded by my Christian perspective, and I must stand on that perspective in the way I vote for a candidate, a measure, a bill.

    But the way I vote should not be construed to be a declaration of war against specific groups because I wasn’t a “loving” enough Christian. Indeed the moral fiber of this great nation has been eroded over the years and decades because we have allowed secularism to prevail because we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. Let’s not define one’s moral stance on a civic issue(s) to mean that one lacks compassion or doesn’t “get” the troubles of others.

    Thanks again for your post, Jen. It’s been fantastic to see the dialogue you opened up.

    • Donina – I completely understand and completely agree. Although many have thought I was advocating a liberal worldview and vote, I truly am not. I am seeking to understand so we may reconcile. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

    • I also wanted to say I thought this was brilliant, “the way I vote should not be construed to be a declaration of war against specific groups because I wasn’t a “loving” enough Christian.” Amen. We need to be able to, free to, vote our convictions. And I truly believe we can do that in love. Thanks for your comment.

    • Great comment Donina! I totally agree. :)

  134. thank you so much so much for sharing your thoughts. i have really been disaappointed and feeling hopeless since the election, but reading your positive insights and thought has been very helpful. you are so right– our true hope is in Jesus alone.

  135. I have know something from this post, but feel a little anxious

  136. Beautiful post which I am sharing with my friends. As someone in what some try to claim a “liberal church” (I hate the labels, consider myself compassionately orthodox in a way that conserves treasures of our faith AND seeks liberal welcome, compassion and reform to all God’s children), there was still much in this post that I can whole-heartedly endorse. Your call to recognize the Church’s failings in reaching out with compassion to marginalized groups of the sort Jesus (a homeless son of God conceived out of wedlock) spent 99% of his time with is, I believe the salvation of both the faith and our nation’s political life.

    I hope, wherever possible we can find ways to remember being Christian does not mean installing a theocracy in this country of many faiths and cultures, but rather deeply incarnating Christ’s love into our political and private actions at every level. At the same time, Christians both “conservative” and “liberal” need each other to help remove the “logs” and biases from our own eyes and develop healthy critical thinking towards the complex issues of our time the Church struggles to respond too. My denomination has gotten pretty good at loving gay people, but I struggle with its position on other issues- in part, I feel because of our member’s reactions against some of the steriotypical Christian positions you describe. There is much, I believe we can teach each other.

    Let’s not forget that when asked a question about Eternal Life (Luke 10), Jesus chose not a good Jewish man, but a hated Samaritan- the closest thing to a Muslim in Jesus’ society- of one who was following the law of loving God and neighbor Christ held above all else. Jesus also often used non-Jewish “pagan” Romans or Cannanites who showed openness to both faith and caring for others as examples to shame his own people. We should look for partners, examples and servants of God in unexpected places- for doing so, even as we proclaim the faith we have recieved will enrich and partner with the Spirit of God who, we are told moves freely like the wind and is full of surprises! (John 3)

    • I really liked this in your comment: “We should look for partners, examples and servants of God in unexpected places- for doing so, even as we proclaim the faith we have recieved will enrich and partner with the Spirit of God who, we are told moves freely like the wind and is full of surprises! (John 3)”

      I personally see God in so many people, creative brilliant minds, hearts that seek to understand. Now, these people may not know Christ, and we may not share everything in common, but we have the same Creator and He makes us magnificent. I love that when we seek to partner, we discover, in each other, more about the God who made us all. And we influence each other – without ever making someone our “project.”

      Great thoughts – thank you for sharing them. We can NEVER go wrong emulating Jesus.

  137. You have spoken the words that I’ve had trouble producing. I am a lifelong Republican and Christian, and I feel so isolated because I can’t agree with the way many evangelical churches have responded to this election. We must vow to be thinkers, not blind followers of the loud crowd.

  138. Thank you for this blog. My husband and I have been saying this for MANY years, but even more the past several months! Thank you!

    • We’ll all keep praying – you and your husband and me and mine. And I believe those prayers will not be wasted. I have hope for better days ahead. Thank you Yolanda for your encouragement.

  139. thank you so very much for finally putting into words the thoughts i’ve been carrying with me for months and poorly explaining to others. this, this is exactly what i’ve been trying to get across. its about love, its bout charity, its about helping each other. i voted for who i felt actually best exemplified Christ-like attributes in this election: love, kindness, charity, generosity, servitude. i pray that his heart continues to align with Christ as he leads. thank you so much again!

    • I also pray that Jesus leads our President. We need Jesus to lead our leaders, give them wisdom, draw them to Himself. These are tough days, and their jobs are really big. Lord help them all.

  140. our churches have been doing all of what you suggest since the 70’s, we are constantly in the streets (twiced a week) do street outreaches, movies, go to hospitals, nursing homes, jails, in fact 80% of our churches are made of teenagers, ex drug adicts, ex homosexuals, ex prostitutes, ex felones.. and I completely agree This is what all the churches should be doing.

  141. Jen I am once again thankful for your insights and obvious love of Christ as expressed in this dialogue. They are an affirmation of faith and a reassurace for each of us as we struggle on our daily journeys.

    One thing has come to mind for me today that is an ongoing concern. We keep talking about the lefts and the rights (though not the moderates? I’m a moderate Lutheran) when my heart is telling me it needs to primarily be a discussion of the ‘we’ in Christ Jesus.

    Thank you for touching on this several times in this discussion. I’d like to hear more about how we might do that better. Boxes have to be thrown out, minds have to expand, and safety zones have to be eliminated for the love of Christ to become our mantra and not just our doctrin.

    I keep praying for our country’s strength to move forward for Christ even while the devil puts more road blocks in our way. The us and them has to be about Christ’s love vs the Devil’s corruption.

    Blessing and praise for you in your ministry!

  142. Can anyone explain, with examples, how the Democrats “made a compelling case” for how they “care” for the “marginalized”? Empty stump speeches, coupled with vicious Class Warfare rhetoric throughout the campaigning, and exacerbated by broken Borders, skyrocketing Debt and Deficits, and a tragic scandal in Benghazi, all do absolutely nothing to help the “marginalized”… As for the Church having failed, here, that horse left the barn a long time ago: If there is very little True Love IN the Church, we can hardly expect to see much True Love coming FROM the Church…

    • GSCOT – I truly am not interested in proving anything to anyone. If you don’t agree with me, that’s great. There are many many websites debating the merits of the Democratic or Republican party – this is not one of them. Have a great day, and know that from this person in the church, and many many others, I do have true love for the people in our world and we are trying to encourage others like us to stand up and shout so the world knows.

      • Well it’s unfortunate that you would make such declarations and then refuse to provide any basis for them. That helps no-one, and is indeed part and parcel of some of the root problems here. The bottom line is that we already know this Old World belongs to the Prince of the Power of the Air, and while True Love may indeed shed the Light of Christ into SOME hearts and minds, the reality is that “few there be that find it.” The Values of an increasingly non-believing Electorate carried the day last week; Christians should not be surprised or dismayed by this, and sould instead – as you and others have pointed out – be that much more inspired to dive more deeply into learning and living (first at Home, and then IN the Church) the self-sacrificial Love that is at the heart of the Gospel. Christ was full of Love but was murdered by the political establishment; we are foolish to expect different results.

        • I did not write this post to discuss the merits of the democratic platform. I have a full-time job – in fact I am out of the country working on it. And I will not argue when I feel someone simply wants to argue, when I have spent HOURS and HOURS trying to build bridges and speak peace to people who have been genuinely hurt by the actions of the church in response to politics. I simply don’t have time – and if you feel that is unfortunate or misleading, there are millions of other sources where you can get your information.

          Again, which I stated in my post, I wrote it to address the rhetoric, half-truths, and outright falsehoods I saw, coming from some people I love even, on social media, toward a large block of our society, both before and after the election. Please with blinders off look at the Christian response to the election. I’m not the only one who saw it – many tens of thousands of people have read this blog (which is laughable – I am NOBDOY) and it has been shared thousands of times because many of us saw it and were devastated by it.

          I completely agree that at some point “They will hate you because of Me” and that happens around the world every day. People are killed for their faith. But right now – I think they hate us because of us. We Christians in the US are not a persecuted people. They hate us because we stand far from them, shouting untruths and half-truths, treating them like they are “other” while we are righteous, “taking our country down” (all things I have read, by the way).

          And the fact that nonChristians think that Christians, on the whole, are primarily anti-homosexual? If that statistic alone doesn’t horrify you – and that statistic I’ll remind you is from Barna, a christian research group, then I don’t know what else I can say.

          I am convinced politics and rhetoric make us mean. If you read any other blog on my site (and there are 170+ of them), I consistently do what I’ve done here – call us away from rhetoric and to Jesus.

          Because in him we find hope and life change. That is my point – and that is the truth I will defend.

          • Jen, you will find people of all stripes — all political and religious views — “shouting” things at the opposing parties… The non-Christians have certainly been shouting and spouting Hate throughout this whole Election season; it’s easy to note the “fringe” elements on either side…

            But, here, we’re simply talking, not shouting. And since “factual basis” isn’t the standard here, I’m free to simply declare that the Democrats most emphatically did NOT “make a compelling case” for how they “care” for the “marginalized”. And, contrary to Red Mann, every single one of the issues with the first obama administration that I noted are well-documented Facts.

            But here’s the main point, Jen, that ought to be emphasized to all your readers:

            Yes, it’s true, the Christian Church has done AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT of HORROR to cast shadows over the cause of Christ in this world, not just in this recent Election season, but for hundreds and hundreds of years. Indeed, many Atheists cite these types of reasons — as I did, when I was an Atheist for so many years — as prima facie evidence to reject the Faith (and Jesus Himself). Can we blame them?

            How is that different, then, in the Election season that concluded a week ago today?

            Well, I think it goes like this:

            (1) Where the Bible is explicitly clear about the sins of Homosex and Abortion (along with, of course, Pride and Gluttony and Sloth and many others), Christians have been accused of “Hate” if they merely proclaim these biblical realities. They don’t like being accused of Hate. They WANT to be about “Love”. So they have ceased to make such proclamations and have agreed to “live and let live”. That agreement is sealed at the Ballot box…

            (2) Having failed to truly LOVE our neighbors for hundreds of years — especially, in this country, by way of embracing minorities, especially blacks — American Christian churches are desperately trying to make up for lost time, to portray themselves as ambassadors of the “new, tolerant Jesus”, when in fact, Jesus has ALWAYS commanded us to truly love our neighbors (black, white, women, men, etc.)… The Ballot box is the new “tract”, where we shove a Vote in the non-Believer’s corner and say, “Jesus loves you, my friend”.

            (3) Jesus said that the one defining characteristic of His disciples would be their evident and dedicated Love *for each other*. He said the “outside world”, essentially, would hate us, but that, inside the community of Believers, the Love we LIVE OUT toward one another — real, palpable, Servant love — would mark us as Jesus’ followers. Since that has not happened, we have reached the point in History where Christians are increasingly ready and willing to “make peace” with the non-Christian World, so that at least somewhere in this Life, we can convince ourselves that the cause of Christ is somehow, somewhere, moving forward. The Ballot box is where that peace accord is now being struck.

            So we ought not blame Christians for what happened in this Election, at least not solely modern-day Christians. We have been losing the battle for Minds and Hearts for *YEARS* now, and last Tuesday was only the most recent stunning and obvious reminder of that reality.

            The ANSWER is to renew our focus, in our personal lives, on True Love: To begin, today, to pour ourselves out for our husbands, or our wives… our Moms and/or our Dads… Our Brothers, our Sisters… Our Sons, our Daughters… THEN, to take that same sense of Family Love into our Churches, serving anyone in that membership that we can, with the gifts and resources we possess… Others, then — one by one — will find their way into our Fellowships, and will there experience the True Love – the actual, real, hands-on, knows-me-by-name Love – that Jesus Himself embodies.

            The “outside world” will, for the most part, never understand it. They will turn away from it because, for them, it’s a matter of, “Not THY will but MINE be done.” And no amount of Votes cast in deference to them will change that.

          • I agree that we must “renew our focus in our personal lives on true love”

          • GSCOT, I think this is the 3rd time I’ve posted this. I am not going to argue with you friend. I love my family, I love my friends, I love my neighbors, I love my church, I serve all of those entities, I love the people who have posted on this blog, and I will love the world whether they believe like I do or not. And if I err, I’ll err on the side of love. And I’ll stand before God and give an account. I will be the person showing my love, not because it is vogue, but because I was loved first. I even love you with your digs at me for not meeting your standard of fact. I don’t know what else to say. Have a lovely day and God bless you.

        • Jen, no digs, just disagreement.

          You BEGAN your Post, here, with this assertion: “The Democrats made a compelling case that they cared about [the marginalized]. We in the church have not made that same compelling argument.”

          So you are making the case that the results of the Election, last week, were due – at least in part – to a failure on the part of the Church. Short of your bringing anything to the discussion to substantiate that assertion, I’m responding by saying that the connection between Liberal Values carrying the Election and any display of Unloving Behavior on the part of the Church is a very sketchy connection, at best…

          … BUT, that the call to refocus our attention on True Love is indeed a very good and necessary one, no matter WHAT is happening in our (increasingly Left-leaning) American politics.

          • GSCOT81, whether or not Jen ‘proved her point’ about which party demonstrates its care for the poor and disenfranchised more deeply, can we agree that many, if not most, proponents of each party BELIEVE that their chosen party does so more effectively, and move on from there? It seems to me that Jen is making the point, proven rather dramatically by the vigorous dialogue that has resulted, that the PERCEPTION that many people have of conservative Christians is one of exclusionary and unloving behavior, based on their election-related rhetoric. I didn’t hear her say that she thinks that Democrats definitely care more for the poor than Republicans do. Rather that the rhetoric (and actions) that Republicans in general and conservative Christians in particular have demonstrated throughout the political process over the past couple of years does not reflect her experience of the Christian community she loves. She is not calling people to change their beliefs, but to examine their hearts and find those places where one might express those beliefs in a way more in keeping with Jesus’s commandment to love one another.

            If you are hearing this as judgment (and I think Jen has gone to great pains to be loving and respectful and hopefu,l not judgmental, in her responses to all), then perhaps you might pray on this and ask for God’s guidance in this. Or find a blog that comports more completely with your world view.

    • GSCOTS1, I can’t make a case against your strawmen of class warfare, broken borders, skyrocketing debt and Benghazi “scandal” because none of them are real. These are the kind of things that have been discussed here, falsehoods being perpetrated by the right. These falsehoods do not lead to any meaningful discussion and it is unfortunate that we have to deal with this sort of thing. As for what those of us on the left of the spectrum, we care about healthcare for everyone, freedom for everyone to marry the one they love, freedom for women to make choices about their own lives, trying to do something to take power from the plutocrats, who just attempted to buy the election, and move it back to the middle class who are the backbone of this country. I’m not a member of any church, but the church that Jen is positively talking about doesn’t sound much like your church, which sounds like the church that has taken a stance against humanity, the church of the Roberstons, the Falwells, the Santorums. This church sounds to me like one that seeks power over men, not Jen’s idea of love for all humans.

      • My God–or rather, our God–is a lively God full of grace and hope and love. Our God is the king of the universe. Our God does not require much of us but to to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with him.

        Politics are not eternal. The king is. Governments are not evil. Satan is. Despair is not the watchword of the believer. Hope is.

        What has failed in this election is the campaign of one party. In the grand scheme of things, that isn’t all that much. What has succeeded is the campaign of another.

        What has not changed is that believers in Christ are called to be faithful and truthful.

        I am very sorry for the anger shown by believers whose political party has failed. I’m sorry because they put their hope in a party. But while I am sorry, I will not myself become sorrowful, lose hope, and enter that same world of unbelief.

        My God is a lively God.

        • Thank you Stephen for your wonderful response. I am tied up with work this week, and have prayed that people would come alongside me to speak truth and to keep this discussion centered on Jesus. You are one of the answers to that prayer. Thank you.

      • Red Mann, the only real straw-man in this whole thread is the false idea that unless someone else agrees with your position on any given issue, then they are not espousing True Love. It’s important to distinguish between political disagreement and a Lack of True Love.

        I was trying to point out that it’s also a Myth to suppose that if non-Believers found Christians, generally, to be more Loving, that somehow the election would have turned out differently. One of my closest friends is a dyed-in-the-wool obama fan; he knows that I care about him and we have a strong relationship, but he voted one way and I voted the other. And I have heard this same scenario repeated many times over the years…

        Again, the bottom line here is that the majority of the Electorate voted primarily based on a collection of perceptions (some political, some not, I’m sure) that has very little, it seems to me, to do with how well (or not) they have seen True Love demonstrated by the Church.

        And as I noted, that should hardly surprise Believers, who far more often than not cannot even get True Love right inside their own personal and ecclesial relationships (which of course is where True Love begins). In the aftermath of the election, the challenge for Christians to look far less to Politics and far more into learning and practicing this True Love is a wise one indeed.

        But it’s not one that will change the landscape of Politics in any significant way. It was never designed to do so.

        • GSCOT1 I have no idea what your point is, but who said anything about not espousing True Love is someone disagrees with someone else? You made factual claims that are simply not true which I pointed out to you. It has been explain here that some who call themselves Christian espouse bigotry and hate. As I have pointed out, I’m an atheist, and I certainly have a lot of love for a lot of people and I believe in truth. I’m here because I have a lot of respect what Jen is trying to do. As far as ” that it’s also a Myth to suppose that if non-Believers found Christians, generally, to be more Loving, that somehow the election would have turned out differently”, by their fruits shall you know them. In general the Christians that make up the Republican base are the kind I pointed out to you. I recommended that Jen do some research on RightWingWatch to see what some of those who claim to speak for your faith are saying, I would recommend that you also do some research as well. All religious people would do well to tend to their religious beliefs and use persuasion rather than coercion.

        • I don’t care how the election turned out. Truly. I don’t care who won. It doesn’t matter to me and I have hope in Jesus either way. I prayed, voted, and that was that.

          If you thought I was saying “if we’re more loving, a Republican would have won” then either I’m a terrible communicator or you misread my thoughts.

          I care how we Christians responded (and are responding), and how we are portraying our God to a world in need of Him. That is what I am wanting changed.

          • Jen, I think GSCOT1 was replying to what I had said. I don’t want to hijack your blog, but he made false claims that I thought should b addressed.

      • Red Mann I understand and don’t feel you’ve hijacked anything.

      • You guys! wink wink. I know this blog is not for the purpose of defending a political position. But we should recognize that we, here and now, are practicing the very thing this blog is speaking against (sort of). The reality is most people have the same purpose in mind. We just have different methodology. As someone who leans right I get a little annoyed at the left portraying me as something I am not just as much as the people on the left do. Jen is a left-y in very right circles and I am a right-y in very left circles. I listened as my co-workers made false (ASININE) claims about what I believe as a conservative and then railed against conservatives for being “intolerant” why spouting intolerance out of the other side of their mouth. And as much as I wanted to think “you’re an idiot. A two second google search could clear this up” I decided to go against my defensive instinct, take Jen’s advice and show them grace and say, “maybe I should show them a different side and let my actions speak louder than angry, defensive words.” And maybe I can show them that just because I’m not a proponent of Obamacare doesn’t equate to not caring about people having affordable, accessible healthcare, and just because I am pro-life doesn’t mean I don’t care about the women who feel abortion is their best option, and just because I don’t believe that government programs can be long-term, sustainable solutions for various ailments of society doesn’t mean I do not care for the poor and marginalized. So let’s stop the madness and together be the change we want to see on others. Love you guys. ;) Also, please excuse my poor grammar.

  143. Well you certainly have a lot of people talking and that’s good! As a former pastor and inner city missionary I have been involved and spoken out regarding the Church’s activity and inactivity toward the poor, the minority, the sexually deviant, the addict and other groups needing attention from the body of Christ. Your cogent and articulate argument is one that needed to be made.
    It is one that many others have made over the years. Essentially that the Church’s greatest shortcoming and reason for our decreased influence in society is our lack of creative compassion that effectively engages our culture with the Christ’s power and message in both word and deed. Of course there is much truth in this that needs to be said.
    I also believe there are other dynamics at play beyond the culpability of ineffective churches and Christians. Historically the Church has seen seasons of growth and decline in every place it has taken root. Sometimes this is due to Christian apathy, lukewarmness and even apostasy. But I don’t believe that is always the cause of the Church’s declining influence. Even Christ Himself was rejected by the majority, sometimes by whole towns, and was eventually crucified. His immediate followers, the first Church, didn’t fare a whole lot better in the grand scheme. It would seem that the Body of Christ has always been persecuted, hated or simply ignored for no other reason than preaching Christ and His Word. Indeed most Christians around the world today are experiencing this in some form. Many are giving their lives in places that oppose the gospel violently. So while I’ll be the first and loudest to decry the weakness of American Christianity, some of the responses here have valid points. The decreasing influence we face as Christians is probably not of all our own making (and I don’t believe you’re saying it is). This is vitally important. If we lay too much blame on our stand against sin, then we risk diluting the gospel and making it ineffective. The term “sloppy agape” comes to mind. At worst, we can end up deceiving the lost by not providing the biblical clarity God gives us in His Word. Again, not suggesting that’s your position. But we as Christians must come together and cry out for Gods wisdom on how to best reach our world with His love without diluting His holiness. Either error is disobedience and neither will work. Thank you again for stirring the conversation.

    • Brent I love your thoughtful response. I agree that at some point – our message is simply hard to take for the world. The fact that, according to the Bible we proclaim, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, will be ultimately hard for some to take (heck it’s hard for me to take and I’ve believed the Bible for most of my life). Some will simply reject us because we believe there is one way.

      But as I’m reading the responses, I don’t think that right now that is why they hate us. They understand we believe there is one way (I clearly said it in the post many times). They understand we view as sin some things they simply do not (I said that in one section). They hate us because they have felt isolated by us and judged by us.

      The response, to me, from the people who do not believe has been SO compassionate, despite the fact that I said I believe Jesus is the only hope and I said that some things are sin.

      I know that at some point there are some who will “hate you because of me.” But right now, my grief is because I feel like they hate us because of us.

      And more hurtful to me than anything – is I feel we act as if we hate them (and maybe some do). At lease we respond like we do. What I was seeing was hateful assumptions and rhetoric, because of politics, directed toward groups of people. And that grieved me enough to write the post.

      But thank you for your response. I feel like you get what I was trying to do, even if I did it imperfectly.

    • I think both points are correct. I know Jen is addressing what she witnessed last week. But I’ve seen the very thing Brent mentions- those that take a Biblical POV are auto-haters. That cannot be overlooked. However, being in this conversation has helped me really take a hard look at how I view and then treat the world. I always treat people nice but what is my attitude toward them? It usually is not grace filled. I begrudgingly love people because I’m called to instead of genuinely loving them. I think my black heart might be a little softer and my internal attitude more loving. For that I am grateful.

      • Oh sillygirlstarlet I love this. I completely understand what you, and Brent, are saying. There certainly are some things about us that we simply will not be able to agree upon because of our submission to Biblical standards. And some will hate us for that (and frankly, I understand why. I understand bucking to rules and standards that I don’t agree with).

        The begrudgingly love of people is something I think we ALL struggle with. Real love is hard and messy and takes time in our busy lives and doesn’t fit into neat boxes and people are sometimes, well, crazy. :) But I think it is a muscle that we continue to build and when we screw up we confess it to our Savior. It’s so hard. Frankly it’s vogue to “love people” but it isn’t really vogue to care for them – and I think that is true love.

        Thanks for the dialogue guys – I’m grateful for it. It is sharpening me so much.

  144. Thank you for this wonderful post. I have a little blog about my recovery from cancer, my daily thoughts and activities. I am not much of a writer and avoid delving too much into politics or religion. But I have touched on my same thoughts as yours……you just said it so much better. I have been grieving for years now that my Church and faith have been highjacked, at least that is how it feels to me. I am firm in my beliefs and faith, but have been sickened by stereotypes and ugliness involved. Not so much how it affects the parties, but how it pushes some away from Christ. Thank you again for this post. I posted it on facebook and will also link to it in a future blog post of my own.

  145. “Narrow is the way” is in fact what’s happening today, both in the world and what we see in our churches by and large. Still, as I think this beautiful message portrays, we have a mission in this world (should we choose to accept it ) and that’s to spread the Love of Christ – to be as much like Him as is humanly possible. It’s correct that Christ was crucified by the establishment of the day and we would be foolish to expect different results by today’s standard, but Christ knew his fate and loved us enough to do what had to be done. He’s empowered us with his Love, which is a mighty life-changing tool against evil, but making changes in the world based on faith is difficult and not many are up to the challenge. It’s messages like this one, that remind us of what we’re capable of, when we put on the full armor of Christ’s love and apply to that the power in all of us – given through faith in Him.

    • Oh Twyla I could hug you. Amen. “Put on the full armor of Christ’s love and apply that to the power in all of us – given through faith in Him.” That is right friend. Gird ourselves in truth, and righteousness, spreading the gospel of peace, in love, praying always, fighting the enemy of our soul (which is not people or even another party). I just reread Ephesians 6 and I love that picture. Thank you for saying it. Truly a Word from the Lord.

  146. Jen – thank you so much for this. Like many others who have commented here, I was raised in the church, in the South, and was deeply convicted in my beliefs – I taught Sunday school, sang in the choir, ran my church’s youth group, volunteered to run prayer circles and do outreach – all through a church which taught me that my Christian duty, above all others, is to love.

    Then, I went to college, then graduate school, moved to New England, and went to work providing mental health counseling to inner-city children. My best friends are gay, my clients are poor (and endlessly hard-working, as you pointed out), my family is broken, and has, too, been touched by abortion as well as sexual assault. And suddenly, it seemed that what I’d always believed about Christianity – that it teachers us to love our neighbor – was no longer true. Instead, I feel the conservative movement in this country has begun turning towards hate and judgment rather than grace and love.

    I stopped attending church several years ago (except when I visit home – I still adore my loving church!) and lately, I’ve found it difficult even to pray. I just can’t wrap my head around a God that wants me to hate others for their sins while passively accepting my own.

    Your post brought me to tears, because it reminds me of why I loved God and my church so much in the first place – not because it was a place to hide from everyone different, but because it was place to invite them into, a place to call home.

    I cannot thank you enough. You are a lovely writer.

    • Lauren I’m so glad you read this, so glad you were moved, and so glad you commented. I thought a few things you said perfectly describe what I feel “I just can’t wrap my head around a God that wants me to hate others for their sins while passively accepting my own.” I can absolutely see how you got that message from Christians, because I myself have heard things similar. I saw a billboard on a church one time that said “You can’t live wrong and die right, so repent.” And I thought, “Wow – tell that to the thief on the cross, who literally repented 1 minute before death after, undeniably, living wrong.” It is a false gospel, and I am sorry that was the message you received.

      This encouraged my heart: “Your post brought me to tears, because it reminds me of why I loved God and my church so much in the first place – not because it was a place to hide from everyone different, but because it was place to invite them into, a place to call home.” Amen.

      Every poster on this blog – every one – is invited to my church and to my home not because I want to fix them, but because it is home to me and because I believe hope can be found there. Bless you friend. I do pray you find a good church home where you live now full of loving and kind people following Christ.

  147. I loved this post. As an atheist and a Democrat (yes, I am expecting some animosity from this), you have shared many of my feelings about these topics. I don’t vote Democratic because I want a handout. I don’t need any handouts, being educated, employed, and a hard worker. My feelings on that matter are that the government has the duty to take care of its people, without whom it cannot exist. Think of the many ways our government takes care of us. When there is an attack by a foreign entity, our military steps in. When there’s a natural disaster, FEMA is there. When there is an epidemic, the CDC comes to our aid. The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau protects people from predatory lending practices. As you’ve pointed out, many of the poor are hard working poor who need a some assistance. Sometimes it’s in the form of SNAP benefits and sometimes it’s in an unemployment check. I just feel we shouldn’t turn our backs on our fellow citizens, regardless of our religious beliefs.

    • You won’t get animosity from me, Jenni P. I’m just grateful for your post, for your perspective, and that you would read something from so obviously a Christian viewpoint. Thank you for your openness.

  148. What a brilliant, wonderful article. I was raised in a multi-religious family (Methodist, Quaker, Catholic, Jewish) and I no longer recognize the mean (in multiple senses) so-called ‘Christians’ who’ve come to dominate American politics. Finding others like me is like searching for life on a bombed-out landscape. Blessed be.

  149. As a believing and faithful Christian, I need to pray for the leader(s) of our country. Thanks for sharing this information with us.

  150. Jen, I find your article bold and offensive to Conservative Christians…. and here is why:
    I DO NOT agree with your various conjectures in re to the election. God is VERY clear about mankind changing his teachings to fit their sinful choices in re to homosexuality and murder, (even worse, in re to children) in the form of abortion. I never read in our Christian bible that God condones the acts of homosexuality, smoking weed, and aborting children.

    Conservatives are more concerned about putting people back to work, so that they can become independent of ‘Federal Govt. assistance’. The welfare programs SHOULD be assisting the disabled, and ‘single’ parents with hungry children, not placing more and more people ON welfare programs! The fact that you state single women do not ‘qualify’ for federal assistance is a loaded stmt… and one you should be targeting to the Legislators with, (i.e., the Democratically led, Clinton administration which completed a Welfare reform act) that MAKE the rules. The programs have been designed to assist the poorest of the poor, and policies and procedures as to eligibility assessments have been implemented to secure that people get what they are entitled to, and eventually weened off of if possible, to support themselves. (God helps those who help themselves). I also believe Americans are being grossly mislead and divided against each other on purpose, to accomplish an agenda that solicits a One World Govt. Yes, God emphasizes how important it is to LOVE our neighbors, AND OUR ENEMIES, which Conservative Christians also believe, HOWEVER; we don’t have to LOVE or condone the actions that violate the teachings of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Our founding fathers implemented laws, based on Christian values, significantly using the law of Moses, who was directed by God, to lead the Israelites out of bondage! God’s people, (Israelites) are currently being targeted for attack by Muslim nations who also hate America, while our current leaders do nothing to secure the safety and welfare of our Mid-East ally. Facts are facts, we have a leader who for the first time in the history of the United States has NEVER balanced a budget in his first four years in office, has done everything in his power to separate us as Americans, and ‘allowed’ more perversion and challenges of our Judeo-Christian morals and values than any former leader of our great nation.

    • I am actually fine with you not agreeing with me. You are welcome to visit another blogger’s site that more aligns with your values.

      God bless you, thanks and have a great week!i

    • I feel the need to respond, L Strickland, because I believe that what you’ve read into this thread is that the decision to vote democratically was a vote between for ‘evil’. Jen, my apologies for straying away from the beauty in your post, but this must be addressed.

      What I’ve found to be a complete travesty is the unwillingness of people to actually go look at the congressional record, the regulations.gov site – which was put up to keep us informed, and the budget office’s current and past figures. By doing so, if one so chose to search for truth, you’d be able to find that this president has been falsely accused of many things. My personal view is that, as Christians, we are given the task of seeking truth and resisting the notion to follow along with any one group who says “we’re on the side of good”
      Just after the great depression, in which Hoover and Wall Street plunged this country into the worst of situations, a democratic president was elected. He implemented programs to feed people and to assist Americans in many ways, to get back on their feet and have ways to support themselves. During that democratic presidency, the economy turned around and new jobs were created. Unemployment dropped over time and things improved. People began to thrive again. This cycle of boom and bust has occurred over and over in this nation – times of prosperity have always been followed by war, which have always caused a recession to happen. History shows us who was able to make the changes that have brought us out of the depths of despair financially and with very few exceptions, it has always been under the leadership of a democratic president whose first task has been to stop the bleeding of the American family with program extensions and new programs where there were none.The millions of Americans who voted this president back into office are not welfare recipients so much as they are people who are grateful to a government that did not turn its back on them as their benefits ran dry. The serial welfare recipients make up only 13% of those receiving, currently, welfare benefits (a fact anyone can look up). Millions of people are today grateful that their mortgages were able to be restructured and that their benefits of unemployment were extended. They are not lazy, they are people who fell into hard times, just as most of us will at some point in our lives, either economically or health-wise.
      President Obama implemented extensions to the unemployment and food stamp programs in this country to do basically that. The budget for those programs was elevated for fiscal year 2010-2011 and if you look at the budget office’s numbers, you can clearly see where that budget has been once again reduced, and spending has not exceeded the amount allotted. There is also a phase down clause in the budget that shows that as jobs increase, the budget for welfare type programs will be reduced. This is all public information and available to anyone to see. The Budget Office is a nonpartisan office, empowered by Congress, so they would have no incentive to lie about the numbers.

      When this president was elected a smear campaign ensued to make people believe that he was incompetent and of a hostile religious affiliation. They spoke publicaly about ensuring that he would be a one term president. There have been movies made and stated to be truth, memes spread throughout the internet that make various claims that are not true, and numbers that have been altered to reveal someone else’s agenda, which is to spread fear and desperation rather than facts about what’s happening in the economy. Every thing this president has done has fallen under not just intense scrutiny, but under libalist and scandal. He’s been called ‘the welfare president’ for his extension of benefits that would have left people facing the end of their terms of unemployment insurance, hungry as well as homeless. There were scores of these people who were grateful that he reached out and made it possible for them to continue to feed their children in their times of need. I take great offense when people try to turn that into something hate-filled and ugly, because I don’t believe it was done with any intention other than to help those in need.
      Our economy is still in dire straits, but for business leaders to decide to fire workers because Obama was re-elected is simply a decision against American values. It continues along the same vein as our Congress which decided to kill Obama’s jobs bill which would have created millions of jobs in this country. Instead it was rejected, allowing our economy to continue the downward spiral – and all to make the point that they were not willing to work with Obama. It’s a sad day in this country when lawmakers and business owners cannot see the sheer damage done, is done – not to Obama or to their own personal interests – but to the American people who suffer as a result. It is economic blackmail and nothing more. This also adds to the failure of our families, and takes food from people’s mouths to massage egos that shouldn’t exist in the first place.
      For me personally, the choice to vote was made clear when I did my homework about this president. I read all the stories about his background, his alleged ties to muslim groups, and about his faith in Jesus Christ. When I compared his actions as our president with what I saw and read (both pro and con) and did so with an open mind and NO loyalty to any one group or political party, I was able to come to a conclusion that made many people I know very unhappy. But I did so knowing that I prayed over the decision and felt it was what was right.
      I do not agree with many of the laws in our nation – both under this president and others, nor do I always agree with actions they take, but I do not feel that putting my vote toward a cult member who has lied and switched his stance on every issue many times, is where I can feel confident that I have been led from above.
      I see the clear path that Obama has laid out for our domestic budget and though I think it will take a very long time for people to relax and understand the course we’re on, I continue to pray for His continuing strength and guidance from above. I pray the hands of the obstructionists that would rather see children starve than to compromise, will be tied and their hearts turned away from their bad judgment for our nation.
      Jen did not intend for this post to become a political one, so I must apologize for my contribution against that goal, but I feel it’s important for those who feel so strongly against the president to understand that there are many ways to look at a problem and its solution. A person who seeks first the truth in any matter, is one that is equipped for the task, in this case, voting in the USA. I personally did not feel putting someone in office who was pro-choice one day and pro-life the next, who knowingly lied to friends of mine about their jobs going to China, and took such great pleasure in disrespecting the dead in Benghazi for political gain, was the right thing to do.
      The most we can do as Christians is to understand that no matter who is in the white house, it is just a man/woman and not God. Our faith, trust, and hope has to be implemented by first asking God to open our hearts to what is right and to help us make wise decisions. HIS plan will be carried out nonetheless. Considering the number of lawsuits now springing up against Obama’s opponent for benefiting from the auto bailout and hiding those funds offshore, I feel confident that I made a decision I can live with and one that was guided by One bigger than my ego or that of my collective party affiliation (or currently, lack thereof).
      My prayer today is that eyes that are slammed shut to what is truth, be opened and able to see that there is one narrow path to Christ and that is through allowing His word and His will to dominate and perpetuate in all that we do. Choosing to follow the crowd is a dangerous proposition for a Christian and as the Bible clearly states “many are led astray by those that know the word, but the word is not in them.” . For me and my house, the gang mentality mounted against our president was not the right course. This does not make me a liberal, nor does it make me party to some sinister plot or evil against our nation. It simply means I refused to believe the propaganda placed in front of me and chose instead to exercise my right to question and examine facts against rumor and supposition. Our president is not perfect, but oppression of people comes from one source and that is evil. Christ sets us free and in that knowledge we can rest assured that He and He alone will watch over our nation and over our families.
      To imply that anyone who voted for this president is any less than a good person doing what they think is right, is judgmental and wrong. I know my own heart and I would never attempt to judge yours. I, as a Christian, would expect that courtesy to be reciprocated.
      Blessed be.

      • Twyla Do, I bow before you awesome writing skills. I may have to steal a lot of this:) Jen has tried very hard to keep politics out of this but, unfortunately, we can’t. I, too, have been incensed by the flood of noxious lies from both the political and religious right. I was raised as a Christian and know that lying is supposed to be very wrong, yet so many have been spewing lie after lie, in Jesus name. This abject hypocrisy has actually made me feel ashamed to be a citizen of the same country as these people. Now these same people are decrying the death of America. I am at a lose to understand their mindset.

      • Very good points Twyla and very well-said and written…

        • Thank you Twyla for your well written insights and your strong witness of faith. I’ve been following this blog for the wonderful dialog and appreciate your contributions.

  151. Amen! It is love that should lead us all in what we do. Love the greatest gift God gave us and the greatest gift we can give to each other. Through Christ and his love we can do all things. Until we can look, work, and talk with each other out of love then we will continue to be a divided nation but even worse a divided people of the world.

  152. It is sad to me, as a gay man and former Christian, that the loudest voices associated with Christianity always seem to focus on intolerance and judgement, rather than on tolerance and love. Your voice is a clear bell cutting through all that noise, a simple and gentle reminder that Christians are supposed to be less concerned about making sure that the lazy don’t get their handouts, less concerned that the gay continue to be second class citizens in hope that they’ll give up and magically become straight, and more concerned that the poorest among us are given enough to eat. Bravo. The clarity of your faith is an inspiration to me, and I hope it is an inspiration to others. You deserve to be heard.

    • Charlie, let me add to the people who’ve already said this, but in the name of Christ I apologize for your exclusion by Christians from the Christian community.

      I’m trying to do more than apologize, of course, because that’s just a reaction, and I’m choosing to speak out in the name of Christ for the oppressed to the people who are oppressing. But that’s not germane here. What is germane is to tell anyone–ANYONE–that there is no exclusion from the family of God to anyone who wants to become part of his family.

      The church is founded upon the belief that we are all loved sinners, saved by grace through faith, and incorporated into the very Body of Christ. I wish that were the message we communicated–that we are all alike, befriended by and beloved of God.

      We’re all working through this process. We make mistakes and hurt people. I’m very, very sorry for that, especially when it’s attached to a message of hope.

      • Thank you, Stephen. You’ve summed it perfectly: “we are all loved sinners.”

        As with any institution, those who shout the loudest are often the most extreme, but just because they are the loudest does not mean they are necessarily representing the mission of that institution or a plurality of its members. I am not often enough exposed to reasoned, loving voices coming from the Christian community.

        I cannot express enough how touched I am that you would take the time to reply to me and to offer your apology. That is a true message of hope.

  153. Undeniable true but in respect to your article you have to admit its all unfair and we are headed to a one world government and the people no longer have to right to vote much less even give an option. Our health care is already impacted by this and we have only just begun. This is a great eye opening read.

    • Once again, the emphasis of Jen’s post is on truth as well as love. The notion of a one world government and losing the right to vote are not grounded in truth but based on unfounded paranoia. As evidence just by this blog, no one has lost the right to an opinion. Don’t confuse someone disagreeing with you taking away your right to an opinion.

  154. this was the most engmatic and realistic view of what christianity is supposed to stand for. and you point out the main reasons i dont count myself as a christian. this was beautifully and eloquently stated. and while ur right about church not being a prticular party. much can be learned from both. and sometimes u need to step to the other side to gain understanding. but must remember to set aside biases and preconcieved notions and cut thru the rhetoric and not follow blindly that rhetoric. and not misuse faith to cover or excuse that rhetoric. I thank you for this artical it gives me hope for the church and itsa followers

    • Thank you Earl. We must be always learning, always growing. I think God has things to teach us through all people. After all, all people carry His image and were created by His hand. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  155. If the church is really this heartless, graceless and mean, and if the chruch (as you have made clear) is the most blameworthy entity out there, perhaps we should all call upon our President to pass laws to either restrict or eliminate the church from this great nation.

    • Oh Joel – how you have misunderstood me. I don’t believe the church is the most blameworthy entity out there.

      But let me tell you what – the church is held to a higher standard. Not by me – but by our God. We are His vehicle to reach the world. We carry the Spirit of Christ. So do we love when we are hated? Yes. Are we forbidden from considering any men our enemy? Yes. Our example, our precious Savior, said “Father forgive them” as we killed Him.

      So I don’t have high expectations for Republicans or Democrats. I don’t call people who do not claim Christ to adhere to these standards. But the church? Absolutely yes.

      We must do better. Be better. We must. Salt and light.

  156. there has been a silent rage building inside me as I have been bombarded from both sides of the fence with hate speech and ignorance. Thank you for your words that help me stay on my path.

  157. I’m sorry but this “Grieving and Hope After the Election” post is full of fertilizer.

    I have a big problem with people saying that we all need to do is return to the church and pray and the country will be better. God helps those who helps themselves. I was raised to work hard, follow the teaching of the bible, and give to both the church and charity. While the bible tells us to turn the other cheek it doesn’t tell us to afterwards open our pockets and let them have at it.

    Most people don’t want the church involved in anything anymore. There is no more prayer in schools, no pledge of allegiance, no more “Merry Christmas”, people are even complaining about cashiers in stores telling them “Have a blessed Day”, and the worst is people complaining to nurses and other medical staff that some people are disturbing others by praying to loudly over sick and dying relatives.

    To “The Handouts” It makes me sick to see people with the latest Iphone, Android or other smartphone, driving a new SUV, wearing $100+ jeans and whining as they use their smartphone to check if their food stamps are in yet. It’s frusterating to see people refusing to start at a min-wage job and work their way up the chain because they feel they they should get a 6 figure income right off the bat, or think that certain jobs are below them because they went to collage. I hate hearing people whine that they should get a break/ get a handout just because they were born in America. It’s maddenning to see people who do receive assistance then go to the local bar, liquer store, and/or casino instead of paying bills and buying food for their kids.

    To “The Gays” more power to you. I’m not a homosexual but I know several couples who can now get married.

    To “The Illegals” there is a reason there is a limit on immagration- the country is not made of money and can’t support tons of new people along with the people who are already here. The system isn’t perfect but as long as we have a flood of illegals pouring in there isn’t any way to allow more legally to enter. The illegals who are here use falsified documents and get an education for their children and use our resources and don’t give anything back in taxes which makes it possible to fund the programs that they exploit. Not every illegal is here to make an honest wage to help their family, what about the problem of illegal drugs they smuggle in, the guns and money they run and the human-trafficing some are involved in.

    To “The Stoners” you might say it’s just a little pot but how many would rather buy pot then pay the bills. How many drive while high and hurt or kill others just because they think that it’s ok. There is a reason why weed is a federally restricted substance and most of the world agrees. If you have children and are cought you should have to do time, otherwise your just leting children know that it’s ok to just do whatever.

    To “The Babies” first of all “Thou shall not Kill” those were God’s words first not republicans. I do think that in the case of incest and rape for the mental health of the woman abortion is forgivable. However I do know personally four women who use abortion as a form of birth control. Condoms don’t cost that much. If you can’t afford condoms don’t have sex it’s as simple as that.

    People have talked about God’s compassion and love, but don’t forget for not following his command God turned Lot’s wife into a piller of salt. Not much compassion there. God does great things but he isn’t a doormat.

    • Fertilizer – hilarious. I laughed out loud. Well done.

      You certainly are welcome to disagree with me. And no, I never said, nor do I believe, that God is a doormat. And there are certainly God’s laws behind some of these arguments. And I believe in God, serve Him, and submit to His laws.

      I simply want us Christians to be known for our love, as Jesus commanded.

      As Billy Graham said, “The Holy Spirit’s job is to convict. God’s job is to judge. Our job is to love.”

      Thanks for your comment.

    • I must strongly disagree with at least part of what you said. You say “Most people don’t want the church involved in anything anymore. There is no more prayer in schools,”

      Which is a good thing. First, let’s get it right. There is to be no teacher-led or principal-led prayer. Students can and do still pray, “Oh Lord, get me through this test” and so on. Some years ago, I attended a high school football game in Texas, where a local Fundamentalist minister gave an invocation that was frankly offensive to me as a Catholic. Which points out a significant problem of such prayers: Either they will offend people or else they will be so bland that they might as well be offered “To whom it may concern”.

      You say “no pledge of allegiance”, I don’t know where you are, but we get it at school board meetings, at the beginning of the school day, at city council meetings.

      You say “no more ‘Merry Christmas'”, the so-called “War on Christmas is conservative talk-show propaganda. There is no such thing.

      You say “people are even complaining about cashiers in stores telling them ‘Have a blessed Day’”. Among those people is me. I used to live in the “Bible Belt”, and I got sick and tired of people insisting on flaunting their religion at me, at people trying to convert me to their religion and so on, “Have a blessed day” is merely more of the same crap.

      You say “It makes me sick to see people with the latest Iphone, Android or other smartphone, driving a new SUV, wearing $100+ jeans and whining as they use their smartphone to check if their food stamps are in yet.” That “wefare cadillac” crapola is pure and utter bovine fecal matter and you should know it! I will bet any amount of money that you have never actually seen such an episode; if for no other reason than if you can afford an Adroid, you are making too much money to qualify for foodstamps. I suggest to you that you STOP LYING, as lying is un-Christian.

  158. Wow, this post was just beautiful!! You’re points are amazing and make sense. A lot of my idea on voting definitely were because of my Hispanic background (I’m Puerto Rican so my family’s not illegal) but it’s still very hard facing that discrimination and I agree on all your other points! I’m so torn in so many issues, I’m not religious, but my views are so conservative, especially considering abortion. I just feel like both sides just fight with one another so much instead of coming together. There are good and bad points to both sides and that’s what people have to understand, every side has two stories. Again, this was so beautiful, I was almost brought to tears because I feel that this is the main thing that is stopping this country from helping its own people. So wonderful!

    • MeggieMae thank you for your comment and your perspective. There is so much division, and I am praying we would see common ground, come to the table together, and learn and grow together. These issues are complex, and the simple truth we won’t ever fully agree. But we must quit hurling missiles at each other. God bless you and thanks for your comment.

  159. Hear hear! I don’t agree with you point by point, but that’s not important. I think we could get along and build something together. And that’s what’s great about our country’s ideals. We don’t need to be homogeneous. We don’t need to have an ideology dictated to us from the top. When people like you speak with integrity from your deep-rooted principles, the common ground starts under your feet and spreads outward, reaching others. I’m glad to share a country with you!

  160. I just can’t say it enough, but thank you again Jenn. I am so glad I read this blog. My heart has been convicted, changed, and encouraged! Here I was thinking I no longer fit in the “church” because all I was seeing (on FB) and hearing was venom, hatred, conspiracy theories and fear. Thankful to see truth, grace, compassion, and peace still alive and well amongst God’s people!

  161. Mark 10:21……read it…….follow it.

    • Dave, dude, you picked a hard one! I often place myself in the rich young ruler’s shoes. And I often wonder if he ever came back. Maybe he thought of it, after Jesus died, and realized that what Jesus was offering was better than all he had? That’s my mercy side coming through.

      the Bible is a complex book, the story of the rich young ruler one of the hardest for us in our capitalistic christian bubble to reconcile. I know for me, if I felt this command was truly for me, my life would look VERY different than it does. We give generously, but we certainly don’t give all. And that is convicting, but if I’m honest, not convicting enough that I just called a realtor. So another standard that we cannot meet and another place where I need mercy and grace.

  162. Thanks for posting this. I am in the UK and am a Christian and am pretty left wing, I have stood for Parliament twice as a member of the UK’s Labour Party. This really encourages me as it seemed that the church in the US had put itself in a place that was against the poor and the needy. I see the UK church lean in this direction and it is very stressful to see. Your post encouraged me that there are contra voices in the US and provides a discussion I can use hear when I hear similar sentiments.

  163. I too am surrounded in my daily life by conservatives, I have felt very alone in my beliefs. This blog and the comments afterward gave me a new hope….I’m not alone! Your words were spot on! Thank you so much for sharing this!!

  164. Jen,

    Thank you for this wonderful and well thought out post. I have shared it with those I know, religious and not. You can’t go wrong with unity, compassion and working together for the betterment of everyone. I saw this video clip today of the Dalai Lama talking about global interdependence and it reminded me of what you are saying in this blog.

    Here is the little snippet, if you’d like to watch it: http://youtu.be/iPRJF-Xmmt4
    Here’s the full speech as well: http://youtu.be/DGyc1aRQM3c

    I have found myself distanced from the church because of many factors, but this gives me hope. Knowing that there are still loving, caring, and non-judgmental people still out there. I may never return to a church, but still try to live by the principles of being good to myself and good to everyone I come in contact with.

    Thank you.

    • Hi Jessica (my sister is named Jessica which is a name I pushed for when I was 10 and found out she was coming!)- I have this insanely busy week at work, but I will certainly watch the clip you have posted. Thank you for reading and commenting. I am sorry for your distance from the church and any hurt you have experienced, but I want you to know that I have great love and faith in the church and it is my hope that if you were to walk into a church, you would find yourself feeling at home and experiencing love and support. I truly believe it is a new day coming.

      Thank you for reading and commenting and thanks for the link – I will view it as soon as I can.

  165. You had me until this “Our crisis pregnancy centers have done more for life than any legal battle we have ever fought. Well done friends who are part of those powerful ministries. The church is starting to get this right – and we need to continue on that path.” You REALLY think it is Christ-like to lie and manipulate women who have decided they want abortion? And you guys will never ever get that #1 abortion has NOTHING to do with the Bible (yes, I grew up fundamentalist and yes, I have read the entire Bible) and #2- IT CAN JUST AS MUCH BE “GOD’S WILL” FOR A WOMAN TO CONTINUE HER LIFE AND NOT STAY PREGNANT. Period. You seem to think YOUR way of thinking about it is the only one. And until you stop the lying, the manipulation, the psychological/psychopathical nonsense, you will never ever win people back. Ever.

    • Just as I feel the pro-life side has a really distorted negativr view of Planned Parenthood, when truly many many people who work there serve women selflessly, your view that crisis pregnancy centers manipulate women is false. Crisis pregnancy centers support women, giving them help, care, and support. Women still choose abortion in many cases after visiting, but they are treated with love and respect and care either way. Crisis pregnancy centers allow true choice, because they remove some of the barriers that would keep a woman from wanting to be a parent.

      Life may not be, in your opinion, about the Bible. But I fundamentally disagree. Life was created by God and should be protected whenever possible. There are ways to help women and children both. And your life of the woman reasoning? Less than 1% of 1% of abortions are for that reason. And that should be a medical decision, not a political one.

      The abortion issue is the third rail, I realize, but still i ask you to honor the pro-life side by avoiding rhetoric and falsehood just as I ask the pro-life side to honor the pro-choice side with the same. The rhetoric does not help women.

      Thank you for reading, and commenting. I pray my words have not offended but have been words of peace.

    • Dear Camilcurn,

      Your pain is spelled out in Giant letters:( I hope I can help you understand so you can be relieved of your sorrow.
      .
      With your point #1, I will only say there are many verses in Scripture that talk about the shedding of innocent blood, and who could be more innocent than an unborn baby…no one.

      But, it’s your point #2 that I can somewhat align with you on. Not that I will agree that God would approve of anyone aborting an unborn baby. He couldn’t and wouldn’t. He is pure and holy and cannot sin. He couldn’t break His own words. How could we trust Him if He did? Hebrews 6:18 2 Timothy 2:13 Number 23:19

      I do however believe that we have freewill to choose our own way or His way. By our freewill…with or without asking Him for guidance, we do make difficult decisions in our lives.

      He knows about these decisions and no matter what, He loves us unconditionally. He will also forgive us if we want to be forgiven. 1 John 1:19

      He will heal our broken hearts, and our broken spirits, and He will renew us in amazing ways.

      This means that anyone who belongs to Jesus Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17

      Now for some more good news, if you have ever at anytime believed in Jesus, you still do belong to Him! But if you have never taken that step, I want to ask you….aren’t you tired and wouldn’t you like a new life?

      Jesus said, Come to me all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

      I will forever be grateful to Him for giving me a new life!

  166. I’m not a religious person, but am not one of those who goes around blasting people who are. In fact, I rarely read any “religious” blogs because I feel as if “Christian” has become synonymous with “Republican”. I have a gay brother and I’ve seen how badly many “Christians” have treated him, so much so that he had to leave our small town which my entire family really loved, including him.

    Did you know the Bible also says it is a sin to work on the Sabbath? Yet people will endlessly mock and put down my brother, but think nothing of shopping or working on Sunday when, according to the bible, the penalty is the same.

    What has turned me off to religion is that it seems, generally, Christians find it easy to find the sin in others while ignoring it in themselves. I *know* I am far from perfect and really make an effort not to judge other people. EVERYONE has their issues. Even people who you think have it made struggle with issues and problems. Yes, the left wing can be critical but I find conservatives to generally be far worse.

    You have entire radio shows that do nothing but put people down and deliberately try to make them angry for four hours a day. How is this productive or helpful?

    Your post, however, is a fantastic start to open a dialog because we’re either going to have to find common ground or split into two countries, and we know what happened the last time we tried the latter.

    • I’m grateful you read, even though it is a blog written by a christian. The radio shows are a major problem for our country – truly. On both sides, the noise from those just make us mean and hard. I agree they are not productive or helpful and I am praying the church would turn it off.

      I am sorry for how your brother was treated. The church’s history on the handling of homosexuals is very dark indeed. There are a few in the church who have held the hands of gay brothers and sisters and loved them, but there are many who have treated them terribly. I pray we will do better. I want us to represent Jesus better.

      And I laugh about two countries -since I live in Texas. Sometimes it really feels like the inmates are running the asylum. :) Have a great day and thanks for reading and commenting.

  167. Just a word on Judging. Everyday in our lives we must make judgement calls, and sometimes these judment calls are against people.

    Scripture says, in Matthew 7 to be exact..“Judge not, that you be not judged. Let me give this example…your child or elderly parent needs a sitter, you have two to choose from one a certified caregiver with a sparkling reference, the other a known alcoholic who has undergone treatments and is trying to get it together, this person at one time was trained as a certified caregive with sparkling references. Both are applying for the job…Who would you NOT choose and why?

    The Judge not Scripture is used over and over by everyone and is understood only to fit as wanted. The passage means, do not judge someone for something that you may have done or may do, such as drinking. We all must judge, as long as we judge rightly.

    Also, to be blunt, tickling everyone’s ears (telling them what they want to hear) feels nice, but you are letting them continue on a sinfull path leading to Hell, when you don’t include the truth about JUDGEMENT. The time for Salvation is now.

    • Hi Teresa, we do make judgments and live with discernment. But we can still hire a caregiver who looks great on the outside and has a perfect resume and treats our loved one terribly behind closed doors. Because although we may judge – we judge with human understanding and we simply don’t know the whole story. God knows the hearts of every man. He knows we are all worthy of the absolute worst judgment in the world. Jesus reserved his scorn for the religious who tried to determine who was in and who was out. Jesus was drawn to the broken. But we all, every one, fall short of the glory of God. But God made a plan, in His mercy, to rain that judgment that we deserve down on His perfect Son – through whom we can have life and grace and hope.

      I talked in this post about Jesus as our only hope. I wrote the post to Christians in the church. How that translates to you thinking I am leading people to hell, I’m not sure. But I trust Jesus with myself, them, and you. My job is to love and give of myself and point people to Jesus and to humble myself in the sight of the Lord. God’s job is to draw men to Himself, judge and convict of sin.

      By the way, when you read Romans 1, keep in mind that Chapter delineations were not in the original text, so you carry over Romans 1 into the passage about not judging because we are all sinful and because God’s kindness leads to repentance in Romans 2. While we were all sinners, Christ died for the unrighteous.

      • Dear Girl, never did I say that YOU were leading them, I said you were allowing them to continue on that path of destruction by not telling them the truth about Judgement. But I understand where you are coming from. You may have written this post to Christians in the church, but there are always others listening who really do not understand..

        So true about Romans, see how it is often misused?

        • “others listening who really do not understand” That statement in itself is a judgment that you are making of other when you cannot possibly know what they understand. What is it that you think you understand better than someone like me? Your religion? I was part of your religion. I’ve read the Bible; as well as the Koran and the Book of Mormon; and The God Delusion and dozens of other books covering many viewpoints. I understand about some Christians that love to pass judgment on others, I’ve know quite a few. Jen’s approach will be a lot more productive in the long run because she seems to know it is not her place to judge others. Your own religion says God will judge, so Jen’s job is to let others know about her religion and what she believes, not to tell them they must believe or they will be judged to be evil and condemned.

          • Dear Red Mann,
            Since you follow Jen, then you must ask her what truths she can tell you about judgement in Scripture, there is more than what she has revealed to you in these posts. If she is the person I think she is, she will tell you about the Judgements to come and how to avoid them.

            Yes, I agree Jen’s approach feels better, but time is short, and [if] you think you already know it all, are you willing to bet you life and eternal soul on it?
            Judgement will come swiftly, Luke 17:26-37….on me too.

            And…this is truth… if you have ever believed in Jesus, you are still His.

            JESUS said, I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. John 10:28

          • No Teresa, I’m not still Jesus’ and probably never was, even though I was immersed in the church. Many of us don’t have any reason to believe in any god much less the concept of an eternal soul. I know what Pascal’s Wager is, and it is fallacious. Quoting the Bible has no effect on me either. Here’s the problem, you assume that your belief is true for everyone, but you have no more actual support for your belief than anyone else. This would not be a problem if so many Christians didn’t feel that they must push their belief on everyone else, just what the religious right is doing by trying to legislate their beliefs. Jews, Buddhists, Muslims. Hindus, Taoist and every other religious group all have beliefs that they firmly and sincerely believe are the truth and they have just as much support for their belief as you do. I have no problem with you having your beliefs, but you just can’t apply them to everyone, or for that matter, anyone, else. I respect Jen even though I share none of her religious beliefs, but because she is reasonable and non-judgmental, willing to communicate with all of us. I’ve seen at least 5 atheists and two gays commenting on here, all very respectfully, but I don’t think any of them came here to be judged by another’s lights.

          • Dear Red Mann,
            I just unhappily read you answer to my post. Food for thought though …if when you were immersed in the church, what kept you there so long? Also, when you pulled away from God, what did you desired that God didn’t give you? Was it something that you thought God would not have approved of….. or who hurt you so badly that you give up something (God) you were so immersed in?

            And again, if you were ever Jesus’ (you did say PROBABLY never was), believe me you still are…so don’t be surprised the day you die, when you wake up in Heaven:)

            I will understand if I get no reply, but same as Jen, I will pray for you when ever God brings you to my mind.
            Sincerely, Teresa

          • Teresa it doesn’t work that way. I was not “pulled away from God”, nor did it have anything to do with approval or being hurt. I became educated, I learned how the world actually worked and discovered that not only was there no evidence for any god or gods but there were plenty of very good reasons why there really couldn’t be a god. I stayed due to inertia and immaturity; and there was not much else to do in my little town. You may pray all you want because I know it makes you feel good even though it really does nothing. I was not intending to talk about my feelings about religion, but your pious arrogance has sort of forced my hand. Sorry Jen, but Teresa has the kind of attitude that causes people to dislike religion.

          • Dear Red Mann,
            Thank you for answering those questions for me. I am afraid though it just made me more curious, and I want to ask you if you will indulge me just a little more. You see, it puzzles me as to why there is such an ocean between the way that we think, feel, and believe concerning God. Would you elaborate on this statement?

            So you said, “I became educated. I learned how the world actually worked and discovered that not only was there no evidence for any god or gods but there were plenty of very good reasons why there really couldn’t be a god.

            By what means were you educated. I can’t imagine anything so convincing. It just seems so out of sync that I have lost 2 husbands, a baby, both my parents, all my grandparents, many friends and relatives, and a business to recession, and I still know that God does exist and He is all powerful and loving.

            I also know that after hearing your answers to my initial questions, He doesn’t exist for you. I hope you will help me with my confusion, I am trying to understand why people don’t believe or give up believing. I had to ask before I put this in the pile of “Red Mann chose freewill and I don’t understand why.”

            By the way, I looked up pious in a secular dictionary just to make sure we were on the same page with this, and I want to say thank you. Additionally, I most especially want you to know that I am not arrogant, I may be positively pious, but I am not arrogant.
            Thanks, Teresa

          • Thank for the response Teresa. I will be happy to discuss this further. Right now I have to study for a certification exam to keep my job, but when I have more time we can talk. Would you rather do this via email so as not to clog up Jen’s thread? If so we can trade email addresses.

          • Yes, I think I would, it seems hard to deal with WordPress back and forth anyway. Best on the test.
            Thanks, Red Mann
            teresaricci2011@verizon.net

        • Hi Teresa. Thank you for your clarification – that makes me feel better. It is so hard, Teresa, and frankly I live the way I do and interact the way I do with the world very very prayerfully. I am not saying my way is fully right. I fully confess, in myself, a real desire not to offend. Not because there isn’t truth I stand on, but because so many people do speak truth in a way that is offensive, so I just try to balance that out by erring on the side of love.

          This blog has spread FAR beyond the circles I wrote it to address. It has been embraced by people who do not believe as I do. On one hand, I have been so encouraged about that. I have felt like the Lord gave me an opportunity to reach across barriers and hopefully communicate love and a desire to understand. On the other hand, of course I worry that I am somehow misrepresenting a God I adore and want to serve.

          So I have had to pray, many times this past week, something like this, “Jesus I trust you. Draw men to yourself and if there is anything I have said that would push men away or lead them falsely, please let them forget it. I want to honor you and represent you well – please cover over the errors of my humanity.” But I think, also, that is where this is hard for all of us. We feel the weight of representing Him well – and He is so incredibly (and sometimes terribly) complex. So I understand your points, but I did want you to understand that my seeming casualness about this isn’t at all casual. I am just having to rest in my weakness. I cannot possibly, in one blog, encompass the nature of God for both Christians and those who are not Christians.

  168. Thanks for your insights. Excellent points throughout, the best of which I thought to be “America is not the hope of the world. Neither is a political party. Jesus is.” My hope is in God, not in man. I do believe God will use President Obama in a way that will greatly bless our nation.

    • Brilliant – truly. You are many times the writer I am, and I am so grateful to hear another voice crying out for a better way. It has been a lonely refugee season for me as well. Your point about elevating the political process was incredibly accurate. I’m adding your post to the list of resources at the end of the post. Thank you for reading, commenting, and reaching out. It was perfect timing.

  169. Pingback: What are your feelings on American christianty compared to other places? - Page 6 - Christian Forums

  170. I would like to amend my earlier comment.
    If you are the face of the younger Christian Right, then i think there is hope for a positive dialog. The people that we on the left find offensive are the ones who are the public face. These tend to be older people.
    For example:

    In this first they get a little chuckle at Hurricane Sandy which is offensive to those of us who lost because of it. Then they go on to say Pres Obama is a ‘wicked man”. Meanwhile GWBush, lied us into Iraq. There were, quite possibly hundreds of thousands of innocent civilian casualties during that war not to mention the horrors that our own troops faced not to mention the incredible debt we accrued as a country borrowing money to pay for that war. Yet while GWB was president, i read and saw and was told countless times that we had a ‘good Christian man” or “We now have Jesus represented in the White House” without any sense of guilt or shame concerning the decision to go to war in Iraq and all the suffering that caused. To me while Obama is certainly far from perfect, he has not yet done anything anywhere near as bad as lie us into Iraq and the disconnect there is astonishing.

    Again i do think that possibly the younger Christian group may not be the same as these older ones. It is especially heartening to read some of the responses by your peers on this site.
    That is a promising thought.
    best
    p

    • Hi Peter – thanks for coming back on and thanks for posting that clip. It makes my heart hurt, really. I don’t understand chuckling and sarcasm about a storm that seriously impacted 20% of our population, destroyed homes, and killed family members. I am sorry for it. God does judge sin, yes, but for us to pretend we know when, how, or why He chooses to do that, or to delight in it or call it down on anyone is, in my opinion, hubris. We all desperately need mercy and without Jesus are all deserving of total judgment.

      On the other hand (on to happier things), it has been heartening to read some of the responses, hasn’t it? I am grateful for the encouragement and it has made me feel less alone. I talked about distancing ourselves from the rhetoric of the right, which is the third rail in any church. And for the most part, the response has been really kind.

      As for being the voice of the Christian right, can I just tell you that I really don’t want to be that and really hope I am not? :)

      I am just sick of it, you know? And maybe I’m just tired and I’ll get over it and I’ll at some point have more faith in the political institution to be productive, but for now, I truly want to disengage from it entirely. The entire political scene is just nasty to me and i see so few people engaging in politics in truly constructive healthy ways.

      In my world (the conservative Christian one) I’m probably considered a leftie at best and a liberal at worst. When compared to the world, I’d be considered quite the conservative.

      What do I really want to be? None of it. Just a girl who loves Jesus, loves people, prays for our leaders, and wants to personally bridge the divide.

      Thanks for your comment. Have a great weekend.

  171. Jesus Christ, is the Founder and Head of His Church. All goodness and wisdom flow from Him. If we will not listen and obey His divine commandments our compassion becomes misguided and heretical. Jen, right now thousands of Christians around the world are being persecuted, imprisoned, tortured and murdered; they would not recognise this form of christianity or misguided compassion. They are willing to lay down their lives for Jesus and every word that proceeds from His lips because they have fallen in love with Him and wish to return to Him in fidelity and love. The thought of watering down His teachings or deliberately disobeying His explicit commands would bring them to tears and incredible nausea. Jen, it appears you mean well and brings up some salient points and our outreach to our fellow brothers and sisters can and should always be improved upon. However, in the end if the Lord Jesus, His explicit precepts and the pursuit of Him (the Way, the Life and the Truth) falls by the wayside we are on our way to the following fate…”So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:16.
    Christianity, Catholicism especially, is not for the faint of heart – it is for the faithful of heart. If a person has to jetison the Gospel and the sacred teachings of Our Lord Jesus, to pursue their misguided compassion they are gaining the worlds approval but placing their immortal soul in great danger. May the illumination and peace of Christ be with you all!

    • Mary, were you to know me (which you don’t), I think you would find me a person who does not water down the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In my daily life I, imperfectly, seek to honor Him. But, based on one blog post, written to Christians to encourage a more loving dialogue with the world, you seem to have judged me as a lukewarm believer, unfaithful, who presents a false view of God. I simply would say that you cannot know my heart from one blog post, although I appreciate your prayers.

      God bless you and have a great weekend.

  172. “I worry that I am somehow misrepresenting a God I adore and want to serve.”
    Jen I think that you are representing the best of what your Jesus said. If more Christians, or any other religion’s believers, were like you, there would be a lot less conflict in the world. You show your deep and sincerely held beliefs to any who come here, it is up to them to respond. I must disagree with those that insist on being judgmental of you or anyone else, that attitude is claiming that they are somehow superior to others, that they know the mind of their God and can speak for him. Even though you’ll never bring me around to your beliefs, I still enjoy you kind nature and reasonable approach to what can be a very emotional subject.

    • Thank you Red Mann. I feel like we would be great neighbors who watch out for each other, and I’m grateful you’ve spent so much time engaging on my blog. Thank you for your encouragement – I don’t take it lightly. I have prayed for you this week (not in an imprecatory way :) and will continue as the Lord brings you to mind in the future.

      • I don’t think you have an imprecatory bone in your body. BTW I’m in Virginia, Virginia Beach, Pat Robertson’s hometown.

  173. Hi Jen,

    Thank you for your heart-felt comments and observations. I hope I can add something of value here as a Buddhist with a politically liberal orientation.

    One of the challenges I face with conservatives is exactly what you discussed above. I would describe it as a tendency to quickly judge a situation and draw lines of opposition: whites and blacks, gays, straights, American citizens and illegal immigrants, women and men, haves and have nots, makers and takers – the list is endless.

    With those lines drawn it becomes much easier to demonize and scapegoat outside groups, and blame them for problems that are usually VERY large, VERY complex to much more difficult to solve than anyone could possibly accomplish by simply persecuting, punishing or excluding one or a few groups.

    I see this tendency to put people in “boxes” as VERY dehumanizing and dangerous. I applaud your loving plea to change that sort of practice. However, you must also be aware that there are leaders at the top of the political heap, and in the media who profit mightily from this sort of division, scare mongering and the chaos it creates. That will continue, and it will NOT be easy to stand against that, because it’s all around us 24/7.

    I was educated as a Christian but it never really took. I liked Jesus, but I always found the rest of it contradictory and/or difficult to understand. For me Buddhism is easier to understand than Christianity, and MUCH harder to practice, but then having the humility and accepting one’s limitations is also part of Buddhist practice. I’d like to offer you something from a Buddhist perspective that I hope can be helpful in thinking about others who may seem to be in opposition to one’s own perspectives.

    This comes from the difference between Buddhist and Christian understandings of “love”, which Buddhists call compassion. Christians speak of love which can be many things, love between individuals – couples, family, friends, love of country, love for groups, situations, pursuits – MANY things.

    Buddhism distinguish between selfish love and unselfish love, which we call compassion. Selfish love is what you invest in someone or something because you get something, some kind of gratification back for it. For example loving another individual, and limiting your attention to that person while ignoring others is simply an act of self-gratification. This kind of selfish love, is of course, a part of the natural order of life, but one must recognize this kind of love for what it is.

    Compassion, on the other hand is Christly love. It’s a feeling of understanding and connection for someone you may encounter in a difficult situation, whom you do not know, but feel the impetus to help anyway. It’s allowing someone to take a seat on bus even though you got there first, or holding a door for someone carrying a full load. It’s reaching out to a neighbor or a stranger, or love of community, country, etc. It’s the unseen/unknown sacrifice a parent makes for his/her children’s future, of for the elderly in difficulty.

    Those are all acts of compassion that come from the internal (perhaps unconscious) recognition that we are not simply separate individuals going about our lives, but in fact are we are all deeply interconnected in one great universe of life, which each individual is a far too incomprehensibly miniscule part of to really understand.

    Compassion at its best is being able to see and connect with the humanity in everyone, and the beauty and important role that all creatures – plants, small insects, even bacteria and viruses – EVERYTHING plays in our own existence. Compassion is based on the understanding that life is all interconnected and sacred.

    None of us can survive without the earth, plants, animals, clean land and water, rain, the farmers who grow our food, the truckers who bring it to market, the cooks who prepare it, carpenters who build our shelter, employers who make our livelihoods possible, the teachers who care for and education our children, and so on. Unfortunately, most of us go about our daily lives with little or no awareness of this, much less acknowledging or being grateful for it our place in this vast wonderful thing called life.

    Buddhists see life as an enormous complex interconnected system, and if we damage one part of that system, in fact we are hurting ourselves and many unknown and unseen others. You can think of selfish love as taking something out of this web of interconnectedness and compassion as putting something back in.

    From a Buddhist perspective, there’s no need to struggler to “love” someone you may feel hesitation about. When you operate with the understanding that one’s personal perspective in the context of all life is extremely limited it’s quite humbling. Realizing in each instant that you are 1 out of 7 billion people on this planet, and that you can’t possibly know everything there is to know about any one situation or person, changes ones view.

    For Buddhists, life is a fleeting and precious gift we must be grateful for. So there’s no point wasting ones effort judging others. One has enough to do, simply to go about one’s daily tasks, observing live as it is and practicing compassion.

    I hope you find this framework for considering what you have described helpful. I think it is quite the same thing in different words as what you so eloquently wrote about. I also hope it will give Christians who read this blog post an opportunity for a small glimpse into Buddhism, and that they will realize that even with vastly different perspectives we can reach very similar conclusions.

  174. Hi Jen,

    Thank you for your heart-felt comments and observations. I hope I can add something of value here as a Buddhist with a politically liberal orientation.

    One of the challenges I face with conservatives is exactly what you discussed above. I would describe it as a tendency to quickly judge a situation and draw lines of opposition: whites and blacks, gays, straights, American citizens and illegal immigrants, women and men, haves and have nots, makers and takers – the list is endless.

    With those lines drawn it becomes much easier to demonize and scapegoat outside groups, and blame them for problems that are usually VERY large, VERY complex to much more difficult to solve than anyone could possibly accomplish by simply persecuting, punishing or excluding one or a few groups.

    I see this tendency to put people in “boxes” as VERY dehumanizing and dangerous. I applaud your loving plea to change that sort of practice. However, you must also be aware that there are leaders at the top of the political heap, and in the media who profit mightily from this sort of division, scare mongering and the chaos it creates. That will continue, and it will NOT be easy to stand against that, because it’s all around us 24/7.

    I was educated as a Christian but it never really took. I liked Jesus, but I always found the rest of it contradictory and/or difficult to understand. For me Buddhism is easier to understand than Christianity, and MUCH harder to practice, but then having the humility and accepting one’s limitations is also part of Buddhist practice. I’d like to offer you something from a Buddhist perspective that I hope can be helpful in thinking about others who may seem to be in opposition to one’s own perspectives.

    This comes from the difference between Buddhist and Christian understandings of “love”, which Buddhists call compassion. Christians speak of love which can be many things, love between individuals – couples, family, friends, love of country, love for groups, situations, pursuits – MANY things.

    Buddhism distinguish between selfish love and unselfish love, which we call compassion. Selfish love is what you invest in someone or something because you get something, some kind of gratification back for it. For example loving another individual, and limiting your attention to that person while ignoring others is simply an act of self-gratification. This kind of selfish love, is of course, a part of the natural order of life, but one must recognize this kind of love for what it is.

    Compassion, on the other hand is Christly love. It’s a feeling of understanding and connection for someone you may encounter in a difficult situation, whom you do not know, but feel the impetus to help anyway. It’s allowing someone to take a seat on bus even though you got there first, or holding a door for someone carrying a full load. It’s reaching out to a neighbor or a stranger, or love of community, country, etc. It’s the unseen/unknown sacrifice a parent makes for his/her children’s future, of for the elderly in difficulty.

    Those are all acts of compassion that come from the internal (perhaps unconscious) recognition that we are not simply separate individuals going about our lives, but in fact are we are all deeply interconnected in one great universe of life, which each individual is a far too incomprehensibly miniscule part of to really understand.

    Compassion at its best is being able to see and connect with the humanity in everyone, and the beauty and important role that all creatures – plants, small insects, even bacteria and viruses – EVERYTHING plays in our own existence. Compassion is based on the understanding that life is all interconnected and sacred.

    None of us can survive without the earth, plants, animals, clean land and water, rain, the farmers who grow our food, the truckers who bring it to market, the cooks who prepare it, carpenters who build our shelter, employers who make our livelihoods possible, the teachers who care for and education our children, and so on. Unfortunately, most of us go about our daily lives with little or no awareness of this, much less acknowledging or being grateful for it our place in this vast wonderful thing called life.

    Buddhists see life as an enormous complex interconnected system, and if we damage one part of that system, in fact we are hurting ourselves and many unknown and unseen others. You can think of selfish love as taking something out of this web of interconnectedness and compassion as putting something back in.

    From a Buddhist perspective, there’s no need to struggler to “love” someone you may feel hesitation about. When you operate with the understanding that one’s personal perspective in the context of all life is extremely limited it’s quite humbling. Realizing in each instant that you are 1 out of 7 billion people on this planet, and that you can’t possibly know everything there is to know about any one situation or person, changes ones view.

    For Buddhists, life is a fleeting and precious gift we must be grateful for. So there’s no point wasting ones effort judging others. One has enough to do, simply to go about one’s daily tasks, observing live as it is and practicing compassion.

    I hope you find this framework for considering what you have described helpful. I think it is quite the same thing in different words as what you so eloquently wrote about. I also hope it will give Christians who read this blog post an opportunity for a small glimpse into Buddhism, and that they will realize that even with vastly different perspectives we can reach very similar conclusions.

  175. First of all, I should say I am left of the current Democratic party but still supported Obama. Yes, left of Obama. I am not a Christian but do consider myself to be a spiritual person.

    However, you have expressed much of what I think and feel so very well here in this post. I work in a food pantry and do not think there is one single person who likes to come in and ask for food. Most of our clients would much rather have jobs but sadly most are not qualified to find decent jobs and most work places like McDonald’s and Walmart where they cannot make enough money to feed their families. You are already aware of this though. It is beyond my comprehension how people who say they are Christians are not willing to help those in need. We do have great support from some churches but they are all Catholic and we have no support, none, from the Christian churches. I find that rather interesting.

    Anyway, thanks for your post. You make a lot of sense but even more importantly you exemplify a good Christian attitude. I only wish many of the other people who call themselves Christian would act like Christians. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts here.

  176. As an American Muslim, I appreciate your post and your words give me hope in the future of Christianity in this country and beyond. About a third of the Koran speaks about Jesus ( peace be upon him ) and Mary mother of Jesus. Your post speaks about the Christianity I read about in my own book versus the hateful messages of the ultra conservatives of today.

    We may not agree in some issues but the fact of the matter is, we have much more in common than people would like your community to believe.
    We are on the same page on the matter of drugs, gay marriage, abortions and the need for God in our lives, yet many Christians seem like they need the rhetoric that makes everybody else look evil to reinforce their own belief and faith when we all know that is not what faith all about.

    American Muslims vote overwhelmingly for democrats because of their social programs care for the poor and efforts to find peace and avoid wars as much possible. On the other hand republicans want to reinforce a culture of hate, division and a country where corporations are more human than actual humans in need.

    Muslim Americans work hard and in fact our average income in the US is about 20 thousand dollars higher than the national average and we are all about the American dream and hard work but we also believe we can not be humans and have faith in God without helping those in need…

    Democrats reach out and talk to us and try to find the common grounds, republicans act like we do not exist until they find a terrorist to put on the news and make it look like that’s what we’re all about. We all have evil elements in our community and we all have to unite to let peace reign rather than hate.

    Again great post and God bless

  177. Another very liberal atheist here. Found this post through a Facebook friend and just wanted to say that while we’re obviously out of sync on many topics, I truly truly appreciate this post. One of the things that drove me from the church was the hypocrisy I saw, the condemnation of people who weren’t “good” Christians (let alone non-Christians), and the absolute belief that these things were blessed by God. It is always wonderful to have a reminder that these Christians do not represent the whole community, especially after such a brutal and polarizing campaign. Thank you for bringing a bit of common sense to the table. I just hope it catches on. :)

  178. Would really, really like it if I could be sure that the religious organizations who claim they want to help the poor wouldn’t do so conditionally: that is, we’ll help you, but we expect you FIRST to buy into our personal theology and listen to our message and oh by the way, not be gay. I hear way too much about people who feel pressured to join a church not out of conviction, but because they desperately need some help. After having been raised Christian, and not having considered myself Christian in about thirty years, I feel out country is composed of two kinds of people: normal people, and Christians. I’m not saying there aren’t nice Christians, there probably are, but frankly they aren’t interested enough to make their presence known, so the public image of Christians is that of hateful jerks. And I’m not interested in associating with them. I’ll continue to donate to our local (non-religious-affiliated) food bank, and the homeless teenage shelter, and the no-kill animal shelter, and give handouts to the random people who show up at the corner. Sadly, the ones on the corner always feel the need to say, “God bless you,” to me- apparently fearing that if they don’t, I wouldn’t give again.

    Happy holidays.