Empathy The Enemy Of Fear
Politics can be a sticky situation in any circle. People with differing views on how the government should be handled tend to clash when discussing those views.
Something that almost seems to make the whole thing worse is moralizing the issues. This would be like if Matthew saw what he was doing as moral because he kept his people from being completely destroyed by the Romans while Simon took the moral stance of freeing his people from Roman rule (I am not saying that the Bible indicates this I am merely giving an example of how they could have morally thought about their situations). Christians do this all the time with many of the controversial issues (e.g. abortion, death penalty, and refugees), where two Christians add a Christian flavoring of morality to the issue, making the other out to be somehow immoral. We make it so that Jesus Himself supports our view so if they don’t they are against Jesus. It's always about the moral high ground and everyone thinks that they have it.
I am sorry if this comes as a surprise to American conservative Christians, but there ARE Christians who are democrats (independents, green, or libertarian.) Jesus wasn’t a white republican, but I guess you can choose your own Jesus. I bring this up because some would have you believe that being a republican is a prerequisite to following Jesus and it's not, since we established in #ec1dot01 that all one must do is answer the call to follow Jesus.
Now, I can tell you what I think is the right stance on different issues, but I won’t, because over the years I have changed my opinion many times. Why? Because I have received new understanding and new information. We need to actively explore the issues to understand them from many angles. Empathy can be a big help to understanding all sides of the debate and once we understand, maybe, just maybe, we won’t be so combative and hurtful. People are too afraid to even try to understand why someone would have an opposing viewpoint. What if we are wrong? It's not about being right or wrong, it's about truly understanding others. We don’t have to change our minds after being empathetic but I think that this moralistic superiority that we sometimes get would be dismantled by understanding.
A place for exploring the Church in the American context. Issues may get political, cultural, and philosophical — but it’s always personal.