Leaving a mark instead of being marked

Trump at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University

Trump at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University

Is anyone else as tired as I am of seeing report after report from the press about the evangelical vote? We’ve got politicians courting us, pollsters measuring us, and marketers surveying us. Evangelicals have become a very important bloc in society for various reasons, none of them having anything to do with the gospel. The motivation behind all this press is not to report on how we are influencing our neighborhoods and our world, but how easily we can be manipulated into serving someone else’s purposes and agendas. Do you feel used? Does faith seem to be belittled? “Yes,” and “Yes,” I say, and the more we play into this abuse by basking in the attention, the more the gospel loses.

Elections are by nature combative. In order to put yourself up, you’ve got to put the other guy (or party) down. You have to vilify the opposition. And you can’t compromise or work towards consensus; not when you are all right and they are all wrong.

If there ever was a time for Christians to be kind, full of grace and truth, and open-hearted, it is now. None of these attitudes are popular, especially in 2016. That’s exactly why it’s a good time to focus on similarities with others, not differences. Time to be human. Time to champion the important traits in society that are currently being overlooked. Time to welcome all who are different and support their right to believe what they believe. Religious liberty means freedom for people of all religions and none to worship as they please, not just my religion. Time to come alongside without judgment. Let God be the judge. These are the things we keep emphasizing here at the Catch. Jesus extended the invitation of forgiveness to all, regardless of nationality, social status or religious affiliation. Jesus welcomed all. How can we be any less welcoming and say we follow Christ?

We need to be more concerned with making our lives conform to the ways of the Lord than we are with trying to make a nation conform to it. It never will, because no nation is, or ever will be, the kingdom of God. We are the kingdom of God in whatever nation we dwell.

Don’t be marked; leave a mark.

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17 Responses to Leaving a mark instead of being marked

  1. Camille says:

    Amen, John!

  2. Mark Seguin says:

    Why should I or anyone take it personally? What anyone else does or doesn’t do in the name of their Religion and or belief system, I completely understand is not a reflection of me or my beliefs, so therefore I don’t choose to listen to their mark, just be concerned about mine – seeing how God only gave me responsibility for my choices and attitude – no one else! 🙂

    PS and please once again consider leave a Bible verse to back up the Catch – If I wanted to read a political message I can very easily do that on hundreds and hundreds places on TV or the Internet

    • I didn’t see any political message in John’s post. Simply a Christian calling others to follow Christ in their political rhetoric. It’s all well and good to say that only you are responsible for your attitudes, and that’s true to a degree. But we’re also called to shine a light. You want a bible verse? Here’s Philippians 2:15, which tells us to be “blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.”

    • Colleen says:

      I have a verse for you Mark, Matthew 10:16 Jesus said; Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove 🙂

    • jwfisch says:

      Mark, I am merely trying to get us to think through our political attitudes as individual and corporate followers of Christ, not as an evangelical voting bloc. A good deal of Christ’s teaching was to correct what was wrong with the current understanding of God and the prophets taught by the religious leaders of that time. Over and over again He would say: “You have heard it said … but I say …. I am doing the same thing. I am saying in terms of true Christianity, “this” is not “that.”

      Also, Mark, I am always teaching from the truth of the Bible. Whether I cite a particular verse or not is irrelevant. For instance in the next Catch, I am teaching from probably 50% of the gospel narratives. That’s too much to print and no one would read it if I did. If a verse is particularly poignant to what I am saying, I might include it but I don’t make a rule about that.

      • Mark Seguin says:

        LOL I had a good laugh – @ least I got two verses and another person trying to tell me a verse is ‘irrelevant’ Great job of showing the love of Christ when someone comes from another perceptive….hit them over the head w/ the Bible.. LOL 🙂

  3. Stan Klassen says:

    Amen and Amen!!!

  4. Gary Mintchell says:

    Thank you for the thoughts. You, as you often do, tread in highly emotional waters.

    I wish there were more rationality in politics–and the ability such as we usually had prior to 16-20 years ago to oppose each other civilly because everyone wanted the country to win in the end.

    I also wish that people who call themselves evangelicals would devote even half of that energy to sharing a faith walk with Jesus.

    As for a Bible verse–maybe John 11:47 ff where the council worries about Rome and the chief priest inadvertently points out that Jesus is more important?

  5. Tim Pyles says:

    Hi John,
    You are actually right on with today’s Catch (and with all of them btw). Although Liberty University is my alma mater, I’m not really happy with Jerry Falwell Jr’s personal endorsement of Donald Trump. In fact I have requested on several occasions to have YOU come and speak in convocation. Of course we both know how far that went. I look forward to reading The Catch every day. God Bless.

    • jwfisch says:

      Don’t stop trying. In fact I’m doing a push to get back into the Christian colleges. Who should I call?

      • bobenearSeattle says:

        Might I assume there are also efforts being made to book regular (or “secular”) colleges and universities as well? Given the American evangelical atmosphere these days, there might be hungrier and needier – thus, more receptive – seekers of the Truth at those institutions than at our “Christian” learning centers….

      • jwfisch says:

        I wish could. You’re right about this, but my credentials don’t hold any water in the secular university.

  6. Tim says:

    I have grown to hate the word Christian and even more the word evangelical.
    I never refer to myself as Christian because of the horrible image it congers in the minds of others and myself actually.
    Christianity void of humility and service is nothing more than a club we attend so we can feel better about ourselves.

  7. My hope is in Jesus alone (Psalm 110:1).

  8. Kris Rudin says:

    John, don’t stop saying what you’re saying and DOING what you’re doing. Don’t let the detractors get you down!

  9. roughrider45 says:

    I am an evangelical Christian and it pains me to listen to these debates and the bullying and mud wrestling with the lack of substance portrayed there. Somehow cultivating a way to change the tone with a modicum of civility, respect, and decorum would go a long way to encourage a message of hope, responsiblity, caring as a people, a society….as Christians we offer a third way as I believe OS GUINNESS would posit. Look to someone like Bonhoeffer who in the face of the rise of National socialism held fast to a dynamic, living faith that mattered in relationships and community albeit LIFE TOGETHER. Many of your listeners probably embrace this kind of sensibility over against the current of the political debate and the perception of evangelicals in our culture. Similiarly, I believe ERIC METAXAS could be instructive here vis-a-vis BONHOEFFER and contemporary threads we need to grow and speak into this arena. Not my main point here, however, I also view Gov. KASICH of OHIO as someone who is sincerely trying to stay out of the mud, and is attempting to speak intelligently to the issues with substance and hope and with grace and dignity. But he also knows that walking in this world we walk through the mud [the marketplace, the arena] (see NO LITTLE PEOPLE, Francis A Schaeffer IV).

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