They Will Know Us by Our Hate

I think we can all affirm that God is neither Republican nor Democrat and I am relatively certain he is not a member of the Tea Party gang. God’s love and grace so transcends the language of culture that when we try to co-opt his presence and define him by ideologies or a political belief, we reduce him to everything that is scandalous and broken. Can we really be serious when we proof text our way through the scriptures to justify our political positions on guns, abortion, homosexuality, service to the poor, or our blind support of capitalism? The left and right are both guilty of these insane power struggles. We bastardize the scriptures and bring shame to their authors by suggesting we can prove any ideology from one, two or a thousand citations on a culturally driven issue.

Love God with your whole heart and mind and your neighbor likewise and then stand up and justify the murder of innocents, children or homosexuals in Uganda. Religious traditions on the right and the left justify their hate speech and language as being prophetic and taking a stand. “You have to stand up to evil,” so they claim. All the time not seeing the log in their own eye or the hypocrisy of a position that would justify murder, racism or making your political enemies the subject of hate speech.

When tempted to take your cultural and political ideologies and to wrap them around a set of scriptures, take Karl Barth’s advice and summarize your position with his simple response when asked if he thought the Bible was true: “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.” Live in love, grace and peace regardless of the lives and actions of your so-called enemies. Let’s be known for how we love and not how we hate justified by esoteric themes found in proof texting our scriptures.

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