Is it Politics?   4 comments

Ever since becoming a pastor I relentlessly resisted  the introduction of party politics to the church in any form and I have not moved from that conviction. However recent events have caused  me to think carefully about exactly what this means.

Recently as I was preparing a sermon I read once again the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37). I was prompted to give particular consideration to the “Levite” and the “Temple assistant” that “passed by on the other side”. In all likelihood, their decisions were significantly influenced by the fact that, if they had chosen to cross over and help, they would have been rendered ritually unclean which would have been extraordinarily inconvenient. So they chose to leave the injured man to be someone else’s problem. (This link will take you to the sermon I mention and the relevant section is at timestamp 1:00:45)

As I contemplated this I realized that this had, albeit in a rather different context, been true of me. There have been times when rather than take the risk of being perceived as “political,” I have kept quiet on issues, that if I am to “do what Jesus did” I should not keep silent. 

There are issues that can be termed “political” that if we are to be faithful followers of Jesus must not be seen that way. Reading the gospels makes it so clear that Jesus was passionate about the treatment of the poor and oppressed. His compassion was expressed both in His words and his actions. So if we are to follow Him faithfully we can do no less 

A while ago a march of protest was held here in Pacifica following the tragic death of George Floyd, an action that our own Police Chief described as “reprehensible.” The underlying issue was the need to demand changes to the patterns of systematic racism that are deeply embedded in our culture, so deeply embedded that many of us are only just becoming aware of their existence. I believe that by marching together I was able to stand in solidarity with those who have suffered from those injustices.

I was convicted that I should join that march because injustice is not an issue of party politics. Issues of justice and righteousness are issues that as a follower of Jesus I cannot keep silent about. I was also convicted I should not keep silent on such issues in the future. There were some who were troubled by my participation. I am grateful to those who gave me the chance to explain my thinking. However, I recognize that by being prepared to take a stand I will take the risk of being classified as “unclean” and aligning myself (and hence by implication our church)  with some political perspective or other. However, I believe that risk is one I must take.   

As the pastor of New Life Christian Fellowship, I will continue to resist any attempt to bring party politics in any form into the church family. However, we will try to have the courage to speak out against patterns of injustice wherever and whenever they surface. We will recognize that there will be differences of opinion about many issues amongst us but we will do everything we can to respect one another and keep “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”.

4 responses to “Is it Politics?

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  1. Thank you Pastor for your courage and transparency.

  2. Thank you for having the courage of your convictions and understanding that remaining silent would also be “taking an action”. Right now, while reading this, I am listening to the memorial service of John Lewis who spent much of his life taking non-violent action out of love for justice. Carry on!

  3. Thank you for your thoughtful comments. It is a great example of “what would Jesus do.” At a diffcult time for our country and the planet, plagued by the pandemic and racial injustice, we are reminded to do as Jesus did.

    Barbara Dennison
  4. Thank you for sharing this important decision and working to stand for what is right even when others don’t understand.

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