How to Handle the Political Debates in the Local Church

John ArmstrongUnity of the Church

The Vault, a unique Web site, has recently provided data that says that in an election year 35 per cent of bosses will openly share their political views in the work place with employees and 66 percent of respondents said co-workers will candidly discuss politics with them.Democrat
The same site also provides four tips for handling opinions and advocacy in the work place. Rnc_2008_mensroom
When I read these four tips today in The Dallas News I thought about the local church and the coming months. The wisdom that these four tips provide for Christians, as we navigate the next nine months leading up to election day in November, is self-evident in some ways. The tips are:

1.    Don’t feel pressured into sharing your views.
2.    If you do want to share your opinions, don’t bash those you disagree with.
3.    Don’t make assumptions about what people think.
4.    Don’t let political chatter keep you from doing your work.

Here is my own take on applying these four tips in local church settings among Christians.

1. Don’t feel like you have to share you views, promote your favorite candidate or in any way make your political choice the basis for Christian fellowship. Be careful how you share your views.

2. If you want to discuss politics, and I do not see how you can entirely avoid it, since it is an important part of our everyday lives, do so with true respect for others and their ideas. Try to persuade people only in ways that do not intimidate or put them down. We all must learn to listen to political expression that we find distasteful and even, to us, ridiculous. Patience and love for one another count more than being right on all the issues.

3. Don’t make assumptions about the political views of others in your church or Christian fellowship/ministry group. Listen, listen and then listen a lot more. Ask a lot of questions. Florida_confusing_ballot_3
Understand that after November you will still be Christians seeking the good of each other and the advancement of God’s kingdom.

4. Don’t let political fervor and discussion keep you from doing the much more important work of Christ in worship, evangelization, Christian education, prayer and community service. Stay focused on the main concerns of the Church when you are with your brothers and sisters and do not let political discussion rob you of these central Christian concerns that are shared the world over by people of many political views.