Thursday, March 2, 2017

Divided nation, divided church

In my 68 years I have never seen the United States as divided as it is today. In the 1960s we had major issues over the Vietnam War and civil rights, but even those issues didn't have the divisive impact on this nation that we see today.

I did not watch the State of the Union speech last night because I knew what would happen. The Republicans would applaud after every paragraph, and the Democrats would sit on their hands. It's the same reason I haven't watched any of the recent awards shows. I have no interest in hearing a bunch of multi-millionaire performers whine about how bad things are. How they think they know how to run a country when they can't even read their cards properly is beyond me.

As I've said before, Trump was not my first choice in the election, but he won. It's time the nation accepted that and looked for ways to work with him. This nation has serious issues that need to be addressed, and if elected officials are not able to work together to address them they need to be removed from office. I've heard some say that Republicans didn't work with Obama when he was President so the Democrats shouldn't work with Trump now. Well...isn't that an adult way to govern a nation?

That argument is so weak on many fronts, but those who say that forget that the Republicans did work with Obama on many issues. President Obama was able to get a lot of his agenda passed with bi-partisan support. No President should expect the opposition party to agree with everything he or she wants. Sometimes compromise gets you part of what you want; sometimes you simply don't get your way.

Today, there seems to be little interest in discussing issues and seeking common ground. Already some in the Democratic party are looking for ways to impeach President Trump. They detest him so much they want to drive him out of Washington almost before he finishes packing. One of the problems with that is that they don't control the House so that isn't happening. What is happening is that a lot of time is wasted wanting to do something that won't happen, time better spent on addressing the real issues facing Americans.

Unfortunately, everything I've said about the political divisions in the nation could be said about much of the church. While serving as an judicatory leader I had a call from one church moderator who said their church was so divided she could not even get a second on a motion to adjourn their business meeting. She finally asked her son to second the motion.

Many of our divisions are over some of the social issues that have also divided our nation. Some of the divisions are generational. In recent weeks I've had discussions with various church leaders telling me that they were having problems between their existing youth groups and young people from the community. Just today a pastor told me several of the young people in her church have said they won't come back if kids from the community are going to attend their youth functions. Of course, many of the divisions come when controllers do not get their way, and they begin to resort to childish behavior to try to force their will upon the people.

Jesus was very clear when He said, "A house divided against itself falls." It's true of a nation, and it's true of a church. I'm not sure this nation will ever recover from its divisions. I have very little faith in the political process to effect change and even less faith in the electorate to select men and women of integrity to represent them. However, the church must do better.

We have a Great Commission to fulfill, and that is not going to happen if we allow divisions to impact our ministries. We do not all have to think exactly alike on every issue, but as mature Christians we should be able to set aside our differences to work towards common purposes. That is...we should be able to do that if we are indeed mature Christians.

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