The Jesus Voting and Prayer Guide
I had the privilege of drumming this weekend for a worship and prayer event. My heart was encouraged in being prayed for myself, and being met with love and affection on the part of that community. There was one place of ambivalence, and that was when the prayer turned to VOTING. Okay, ambivalence is putting it mildly. I was saddened.
As is the case with most of the conservative/evangelical Christianity I came from, lines in the sand are drawn around the issue of abortion. Prayers are rallied together to try to end abortion and send revival to America (and beyond). I could feel the passion and energy, but can't help feel much of it is being misapplied and misguided. The person praying seemed to be implying that if people knew how God wanted them to vote (aka, pro-life) they could help turn the tide this year. I think there are two key things that need to be said to address this and create new possibilities for people that worship Jesus.
First, the Jesus Voting Guide. Then, the Jesus Prayer Guide.
The Jesus Voting Guide
Do you want the word straight from Jesus for how to vote this year?
There is no "Christlike" or "Christian" vote.
The very fabric of our empire is stained with blood, just like the fabric of the Roman Empire was stained with the blood of Jesus and many other "heretics" and "rebels," our United States are steeped in the blood of natives, black men and women, and foreign nationals all across the globe from our bullets, guns, bombs, missiles and drones. The peace and love that were made known in Jesus directly oppose these powers and forces that seek to control and dominate.
The freedom we claim as a nation comes at the expense of lives of others, the freedom in the reign of God Jesus discusses comes as we renounce violence and choose love.
The framing of our national body politic is built upon compromise, not compassionate community.
Whether you have a pet issue or you don't, there is no vote that is "Christian." I thought Bernie Sanders was the best potential candidate for president, and even though that selection in my mind was formed by a "Christian conscience," there is no political candidate that can serve the mission and reign of Jesus without compromise. The voting advice from Jesus? There is none.
The Jesus Prayer Guide
Looking at our pet issues, the communities of Jesus at the very least need to expand our horizons for what and how we pray. Sure, keep praying for the lives of unborn children, and please add networks and resources of support for women. Pray for the healing of the hearts of men who perpetuate the causes leading to abortion. Pray for access to all kinds of health care, including contraceptives. Pray for us to be healed for our societal and national addiction to violence both here and abroad. Pray for churches to be places of welcome, love, and support to those we have instead labeled as "others." Pray for the corruption within our system that unfairly punishes black men and tips the scales in favor of white men. Pray for us to know Jesus, not as someone who created a new status quo, but who broke the boxes, threw out the labels and unearthed a new way of being together. Pray for the same passion and energy that fills and unites us in some of our small and self-centered prayers to carry us into our neighborhoods, our communities and the world with hands ready to be in the dirt and hearts bursting with love big enough for joy and sadness.
For Jesus' sake, our focus must shift and our faith move from the systems we've built to the God leading us beyond them and into the lives of real people in our midst.