What comes first, my family, or my politics? (Some Sunday Morning Thoughts…)

[This is one of those, “should I post it, or not?” blogs.  Please be patient with me as I ask questions that haunt my mind at 3a.m.]

Two days ago, I had a conversation with a fellow believer in Christ.  In our brief conversation, a hot political topic came up… the moving of our U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.  His theological and political leanings, saw this to be a positive pivotal move for two reasons.  One, as a political conservative, he cheered the President fulfilling a promise that several presidents had made before.  Secondly, he saw this as part of a piece of biblical prophecy that fit into the renewal of Israel that would trigger end-time events.

He then asked, if I was excited about the potential of the end times happening?  I don’t know what’s happened to me, because ten years ago, I might have joined in and celebrated these same events with him.  I replied, “I don’t know, if I’m so excited.”  He asked, “why?”  I explained, I was in Israel a few years ago.  I met brothers and sisters in Christ who are Palestinians.  They live in Arab neighborhoods.  They make their money selling handmade olive-wood nativity sets just down the street from the Church of the Nativity.  They love and live for the story of Jesus.  They worship, serve and pray to the same Christ I do.  I bet they have a different perspective than a lot of American Evangelical Christians.  And why would I ever wish for their lives to be harder?

Please allow me to push this thought a little further.  I think about political stands we evangelical Christians have taken in the past few decades.  In pushing our political, or even eschatological agenda for the Middle East, could we have hurt the cause of Christ?  We wanted the downfall of Saddam Hussein and in that, the church in Iraq has been decimated.  It has happened also, in Libya, Egypt and Syria.  My Christian brothers and sisters are being run out of homes they’ve had for centuries.  And we are sad, but continue to support policies that make life harder for their witness and destroy their peace.

Before we choose a position on things like these, I wonder if we should stop to ask, “What do they think?”  “What do they want?”  “What is best for the church there?”  How would we change our approach if first we thought, “this is my family, these are my brothers and sisters, how will this affect them?”

I realize these thoughts come from larger theological questions.  One theological question is, “Who is the church?”  A second question is, “As a believer in Christ, what priority is the church for me?”  I believe that the church is central to God’s plan in redeeming the world.  And the command to “love one another” (John 13) is for all of us disciples of Jesus, no matter what political system we live under.  Before I get political, or even eschatological (end times), maybe I should get ecclesiological (the church) and ask, “What will this do for my family (brothers and sisters in Christ) that God has placed in other lands?”

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