I recently had a wonderful coffee date with another pre-school mom. We have some personal issues in common and therefore have a unique way we can support each other. Yet, we have very different beliefs. She attends a church that greatly limits the leadership of women and has recently hosted a big-name who supports Creation. I, on the other hand, have a leadership role in a church as a woman and believe in a Creator God who acted through a more scientific approach.
One of the many things I took away from this conversation with a Wise Woman was her insistence on not discriminating based on perceived or understood beliefs and not compromising one’s morals.
In practice, most of us can easily do this on a regular basis. I can maintain a friendship with this Wise Woman as well as my gay friends who are ordained pastors. Yet when it comes to politics in a republic (we aren’t a real democracy – far from it), my vote will ultimately be intolerant towards one or the other.
We can do our best to follow our religious beliefs – even when voting. However, many still find it safer/better/easier to keep faith out of politics or compromise their politics in order to “win” others for their faith. No wonder people are leaving the bureaucratic church (a combination of politics and faith to begin with)!
If someone believes in something, especially when it comes to their faith, is there really any room for compromise? Yet, if your faith focuses on tolerance and love, how can you not compromise? This seems like a hard place to be. Yet, it is in the midst of our faith that we can find the right path.
For me, personally, I can make my political decisions based on my faith (not the faith of others), knowing that it is God who is ultimately in control, that all happens in God’s Time, and that I am far from perfect. When I cast a vote, I do it understanding that I am making the best decision I can, knowing that it will help some and hurt others, and a prayer of thanksgiving that God will help make the best of what we limited humans do. My faith and my politics cannot be separated, just as my life cannot be separated from God.
I know my vote will be different from another follower of Christ, yet in the end, in the midst of the messiness of life, we are both trying for the same end – God’s ultimate physical reign on earth. Faith and politics should be, and are, one in the same, yet just as we humans are imperfect and limited, so is our faith and our politics. We cannot hope for “perfect” politics until God’s Perfect Kingdom arrives. So, until then, I plan to muddle through, do my best to act upon my spiritual convictions, and be as tolerant as possible in the process.