Post contributed by Britt Hester, Minister of Youth & Christian Education
If I were to ask people to make a top-10 list of things they would rather not talk about at church, my guess is politics would be at the top or near the top of most lists. I suppose politics has always been a taboo topic for most individuals and families, which is disheartening on a number of levels. Conversation about politics should be welcomed as an opportunity for us to engage important topics that impact each of us. While we may disagree on certain issues, that should not discourage us from fellowship with one another. In fact, it should do quite the opposite. If it were not for family members and friends who challenged me over the years, I would never have arrived at some of the convictions I hold today. We need each other in order to grow in our understanding of that which shapes and impacts us and our society.
Perhaps the reason we are so reluctant to have these conversations is due to fear. After all, it is awkward to sit in silence at the dinner table because someone thought it was a good idea to talk about gun control, immigration, or another hot topic issue. And while fear is what often keeps us silent, it is what also allows anger, bitterness, and resentment to build over time. If we stay silent for too long, bottling up our thoughts and feelings due to fear, it has the tendency to spill over into rage, resulting in the tribal nature we see so often in the current political climate. It is our fear that keeps us isolated from one another, allowing us to turn neighbors into enemies, friends into opponents, and family into strangers. Fear can get the best of all of us if we allow it, and when it does, it can spread like wildfire.
That’s why in our three new Sunday Bible Study classes we are discussing politics and fear and what scripture tells us about God’s concern for these issues. In our classes, we are talking about these topics because they matter. And they matter not only to us, but to God as well. Deciding to talk about these matters is the first step in creating authentic community, where we are willing to listen and share with one another, even if we disagree on certain ideas. Being able to do this in Sunday Bible Study affirms our commitment to trusting God’s guidance in these important matters, for we know we cannot navigate the complexity of these issues by ourselves. As we finish our current studies and begin new studies in October, I hope you will make a commitment to join us in these conversations that matter. And I pray that as we engage them together, we will grow deeper not only in our faith, but in relationships with one another as well.