Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Political Evangelism

I live in Iowa.  Political ads have been airing like beer commercials during a football game.  People from my church stopped answering their home phones (we only have cell phones and the numbers are actually from our old home in Minnesota).

photo source (image originally by Mike Burley / Dubuque Telegraph Herald)

With the caucus behind us, people are breathing a little easier, answering their telephones, and enjoying getting out of the spotlight the way we're all eager to unbutton our pants after coming home from Thanksgiving dinner...or maybe that's just me.

This was our first caucus.  I've been behind my candidate of choice (Ron Paul, if you're wondering) since 2007.  I have read (some) of his books, watched countless of his television interviews, and have been amazed by the grassroots support he garners.  People don't wait to get a paid job with his campaign...they just start campaigning.

Now, I don't write this post to persuade you toward my candidate (though I think he deserves your full consideration), but that as I look at how people are attracted to him, follow him, and teach others about him, I think it's a little like seeing into the past and the way that people surrounded Jesus.

Before you get mad or cry "Blasphemer!" please note that I said a little like that.  A very little.  But the comparison is still there.

And here's the greater truth I found in this: It is easier for me to "evangelize" others to my candidate than to my Savior.

I will talk to anybody about this man, what he teaches, and why I think he's got it right.  I will go out of my comfort zone to mention him if I overhear buzzwords--politics, election, economy, any of the other candidates' names--in nearby conversation.

But do I have that kind of confidence in talking about my Savior?  Do I go out on a limb for Jesus?

And why not?

I think it's because I can separate people's criticism of my candidate from myself, let it roll off my back if they don't love Ron Paul or if they think I'm crazy for backing him.  Because I know that their beef is with the man, not me.

But I can't separate criticism of Jesus from myself.  If I were to tell somebody about Jesus and they laughed or scoffed or screamed or gave me the ever-horrifying blank look, I would take it personally.
If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you (John 15:18).
And there is the nugget, the reason I can develop thick spiritual skin: the one who scoffs or laughs or hates may do so to me, but he has done worse to my Lord.  And He conquered, He won.  What more have I to fear?

I won't lie and say that this epiphany has erased all my fears; it hasn't.  I won't be standing on a soap box tomorrow, preaching to all passersby.

But I will hide this truth in my heart, and hopefully, when the time comes, I will speak the truth in love, no matter what criticism may come--because Jesus is bigger than all the world's hatred.

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