Today's Religions: Political Righteousness

With the possible exception of career, politics has become today’s most popular replacement religion, certainly the one with the most forward momentum and cultural currency. For many, its substitution for Religion has been seamless, hardly even noticeable.
-- David Zahl, Seculosity

Pastors get asked to support causes, sometimes political ones. It comes from strangers on the phone and friends in the church community. It comes from other pastors and it comes from national church organizations. It’s pretty common for churches to weigh in and rally the community for these issues.

I’ll be honest that I don’t feel like I have the answers on this. I still wonder how best to lead a congregation amidst the glaring messes and societal injustices of our day.

In lots of cases, though, I worry that doing so causes a church to lose something unique and almost other-worldly. A Christian church has a long tradition of being a place where “Jew and Gentile,” wealthy and poor, republican and democrat walk life together. They have a faith, allegiance, and hope that outlasts all the circumstantial causes of the day, and makes all the categorical barriers to friendship irrelevant. The church holds that power. The power to be a place where people hold their politics more loosely than they hold their salvation.

My fear then is a cause-driven church that requires you find your own church where your cause is supported. Meanwhile the power of Christian community oozes out the backdoor. The other-wordly glimpse of the children of democrats frolicking with children of republicans while their families laugh and share a backyard meal — that vision becomes unthinkable.

Or perhaps it already has.