What Jesus Meant When He Said “Follow Me,” and How it Should Affect Our Political Anger

To Jesus’ followers back in the day, “Follow me” was a literal statement, something akin to, “hey, I’m heading to this particular geographic location, come with.” As a rabbi, it was also an invitation to accept His teachings, which for this army of ragtag volunteers meant certain physical danger.

For them, it was hard to screw up, misinterpret, or miss Jesus’ meaning altogether because He would immediately get in their face and make an attempt at setting them straight.

We don’t have that today. We’ve got our Bibles, and our interpretations of our Bibles, and our Christian culture, and from that we try to figure out the life that Jesus wants us to live. We don’t have Jesus in our faces every time we get something wrong.

For many of us, especially us Evangelicals, we’ve distilled His invitation to “follow” into three categories:

  • Think the right things about Jesus and God (theology)
  • Embrace a particular list of rules and try hard not to break them (morality)
  • Protect our world from moral decay (politics)

I’d add an unwritten rule to this list: no matter what the cost, be safe. Don’t get in trouble, don’t make anyone mad (unless they’re not Christian) and for God’s sake don’t get yourself killed.

As an Evangelical of 30 years I understand this list, and with the exception of being a dyed in the wool conservative, this is my list too – especially the safety part. I don’t like physical pain, or danger, or fear, and there are plenty of places I could go and get hurt telling people about Jesus. Continue reading What Jesus Meant When He Said “Follow Me,” and How it Should Affect Our Political Anger

If You’re a Christian, Feeling Like Your Country is in Ruins, Here’s What God Told You to do about It

If you’ve spent any time on this blog you know that I’m an Evangelical, Bible-believing person. Politically, I lean left on some issues, and right on others. I have friends on both sides, so it’s difficult for me to jump on board with the popular belief that “liberals are trying to destroy our country,” or, “conservatives are under-educated, overly-armed people who don’t care about anything.”

But I’m worried.

So many from my Evangelical camp seem to be losing their minds.

Someone has been whispering that our political foes want nothing more than to take away our freedom. I can take a guess at who that might be – there’s one particular media outlet that’s seen by many as wholesome and mostly aligned with God’s priorities.

I used to have an Evangelical neighbor who had it playing on her TV 24/7.

And it’s just like any other media outlet. It knows its audience and makes lots of $$ telling them what they want to hear. It doesn’t broadcast “fake” news, it simply doesn’t tell the whole story – just enough to lead one to believe that the “other side” wants nothing more than to burn our country to the ground.

Either way, there’s this army of people, all claiming allegiance to God, who are frightened, angry, and view any “liberal” agenda as the Devil’s seed.

And like religious people who see their country in danger have always done, we believe it’s up to us to turn things around.

Jesus dealt with this. Many of His followers believed it was their job to eradicate Israel of the Romans. Bad as the Romans were, Jesus had a different agenda for His people, one that repeats itself over and over again in the Bible.

God knows we get angry and frightened about the state of our country, and the world, so He saw fit to include one simple commandment, something we’re all supposed to be doing, but seem to frequently excuse ourselves from it.

It’s a commandment that forces us to step down from our anger, and stop the finger-pointing, division, and general hatred that has so characterized Evangelical politics this year.

The commandment is found in the Old Testament Book of Second Chronicles, chapter 7, verse 14, and goes like this:

“If my people, who are called by My name, would humble themselves,…”

We all tend to think the problem lies beyond us. Our country’s predicament is someone else’s fault. Our bad marriage is someone else’s fault. Our bad kids are someone else’s fault.

And when we believe other people are screwing things up, we judge them, belittle them, downgrade them. Continue reading If You’re a Christian, Feeling Like Your Country is in Ruins, Here’s What God Told You to do about It