Remember when the church was dividing over the issue of Trump? One side of the church thought character was the key issue. The other side of the church thought wisdom (voting for policies) was the key issue.
My basic conclusion during this election was ‘damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.’
We now have a similar challenge that has become almost a religious decision. Do you vax or not vax? There are subcategories of this – to gather or not gather, mask or not mask etc. You can argue both sides as being sensitive and caring towards your neighbor. One side emphasizes honoring leaders; one side emphasizes honoring freedom. I have talked to amazing and well-educated Christians on both sides of this issue.
Accepting people in the LGBTQ+ community into the church might be a similar conversation to consider, at least in how it is dividing the church. (I do think there are some distinctive issues in this briar patch that are different from the others listed above. For example we are talking about a smaller group of society impacting the whole. Whereas, the above issues reflect broader segments of the church personally acting out their choices.)
Other issues that come to mind are global warming, ESG, creation care and genuine care for the poor of the earth. Economic and political policy like MMT, socialism, and capitalism are some others ideologies that have various hot buttons for us.
Here are my questions:
Why is God allowing the church to come to multiple moments where neither side can claim a majority or a ‘win’? How does this force us to look at truth from a higher perspective? Is truth by ‘information inundation’ adequate to represent God’s heart?
What is truth?
We can’t ignore this question because when Pilate chose to minimize this question, he killed Jesus because of it.
Could John 17 be a source text during this season of global duress to engage the question of “what is truth?” Take a moment to read this chapter. John 17 is Jesus’ heartfelt prayer to the Father right before the cross. It is a prayer for our unity to reflect the Trinity’s unity. It is the way Jesus says the world will believe in God (John 17:20-21). I don’t see that amazing witness of God clearly in the dividing lines of politics and ideologies we’ve created in the church.
How can we define spiritual truth from a John 17 context and overlay it on the current dividing lines?
This idea is far from fleshed out, but I wanted to throw these questions out there for response while I prayerfully look for a paradigm that helps us reflect God’s heart better.
P.S. I tried to stay as neutral as possible when I wrote this, but I’m sure I offended some of you. This is the crazy world we are now navigating…