Bernie Anderson
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the blog

Current musings, whatever they may be. 

Sunday Sermonizing: Polarizing Fruit

It is official. We are a nation of tribal politics. Polarized. Ionic. And it’s not a mild differing of opinion. We are heated in our polarity.

This is obvious. A quick review of Twitter or Facebook is all it takes to see it. If you are a FOXNews listener, NBC is of the devil. For CNN people - FOXNews is killing our country.

I’ve always liked to think of myself as being somewhere in the middle of the fray. I’m usually happy if I make both sides unhappy. I used to lean a little to the right. These days (for a variety of reasons) I lean a little to the left. But, at the end of the day, I still land somewhere in the middle.

There is a more important question than right or left. Especially for Christians. The nagging thoughts bouncing around in my mind lately aren’t really about the particulars of the political polarization of our country. My questions have to do with how Christians should enter the conversation. Or even better, how do we encourage a conversation? Because the “conversations” I’m hearing these days sound more like a cat fight than a real discussion between humans. And Christian people are in the fray so deeply it’s impossible to have a discussion with each other, let alone people who have a different worldview than we do.

There was something winsome about the way Jesus dealt with the people around him. Friends and enemies alike. He engaged them. He had conversations.

I wonder how I can be more like Jesus? Maybe rather than demonizing people, and assuming the worst of them, I should be spending more time understanding where it is they are coming from. Why does the infinite variety of people in the world think about the world the way they do?

We have a slew of issues that we need to respond to. As Christians. As Jesus followers. There are hurting people. There are women who have been victims of sexual assault. There are immigrants who are living in poverty who need assistance. There are refugees who are fleeing violence and now have no place to call home. There are people who fought in wars for our freedom who are now living on the street. Poverty is real. Inequality is real. These issues are not about partisan politics. Shame on us when we make them about partisan politics.

Is there a way to have a discussion with those who disagree? Maybe even with those who see the world in a very different way than me? How do I bring Jesus into the conversation? How do I walk in the compassion of Christ?

There are no easy answers to any of these questions. I don’t know the answer to any of these questions. What I do know is that we need discussion, camaraderie, and the human decency to work together toward solutions. Name calling and combative language on social media never helps. Christians need to be a part of changing the culture. And the way to change the culture is by living out the principles of our faith.

Because there is one difficult question that each of us can answer.

What kind of fruit we are bearing?

It’s quite clear what that should be.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. - Galatians 5:22-24

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But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. - Galatians 5:22-24