21. When politics and religion pull us apart

How do we navigate the tension, the rage, the disunity all around us? It’s discouraging, disheartening, and disappointing. But it doesn’t have to stay that way. Sarah Bauer Anderson, author of The Space Between: How Jesus Teaches Us to Live Together When Politics and Religion Pull Us Apart, joins me today to discuss how to be the people God created us to be in this cultural “No Matter What” season.

 In this episode, we discuss:

  • How it is vital to remember the humanity of politicians and the people behind certain positions, and how to do that
  • How to respond to the friend or family member who says, “You cannot be a Christian and vote for X, and I denounce you if you do.”
  • How to personally decide what issues are essential or hills to die on, and what aren’t
  • How to not just survive election day and following, but actually lean into the tension and grow as people
  • How the “peace walls” in Northern Ireland were ineffective and what we can learn from that
  • How Jesus teaches us to live together when politics pull us apart

Scripture Mentioned:

  • Romans 12:18
  • Luke 19:1-10

Resources Mentioned:

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Quotes from this episode:

Ignoring the tension isn’t helpful. Staying quiet isn’t helpful. We’ve got to figure out how to dialogue around these ideas where we don’t see eye to eye. -Sarah Bauer Anderson

Maybe Jesus doesn’t vote a straight Republican ticket. Maybe Jesus isn’t this white, middle class American man, like I had envisioned Him to be. -Sarah Bauer Anderson

It’s a lot easier to decide that Jesus is on my team, and not on yours, because then I don’t have to think critically about your position. It’s harder to live in a world where there are nuances, where we have to engage actual people, where there are complications with those actual people, where it’s not just black and white. -Sarah Bauer Anderson

We want to believe there is a good and evil side when it comes to who we vote for, but I think we’ve lost the plot as followers Jesus if that’s the way we think of politics and treat the politicians behind it. -Sarah Bauer Anderson

Anytime we try to fit Jesus into one political party or another, it’s more likely that we’re following an idolized version of ourself, than we are of Him. And that should be a red flag. -Sarah Bauer Anderson

Whenever I think it’s easier to keep my distance from people who don’t see as I do, that when I do that I’m running the risk of making them something they aren’t, into making them a representation of a position and not an actual a human. -Sarah Bauer Anderson

We have to lean into relationships where we know people don’t think like we do; it can get uncomfortable. But remember they are real people and they have circumstances and experiences that shaped them and their beliefs and how they landed where they did. -Sarah Bauer Anderson

Let go of this idea of certainty– that we have it all figured out, and we’re just waiting for everyone else to reach the conclusion we’ve already reached. -Sarah Bauer Anderson

None of us are holding positions that are knowingly wrong. We’re all holding positions that we think are right. So just knowing that there is a possibility we may have gotten it wrong on some things, allows us to be more curious about the positions that others are holding. -Sarah Bauer Anderson

Go into conversations with the goal of understanding, not to change minds. -Sarah Bauer Anderson

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