Friday, March 18, 2005

On Christianity

To be a Christian, in the simplest sense, means that you have accepted that Jesus the Christ is the son of God and came to earth to die on the cross, be resurrected and provide each of us with redemption and salvation for the sins that we commit.

From there the various churches of Christianity differ to varying degree in their interpretation of scripture and in their ceremonies. Going further, members of any given church each have their own personal understanding, or lack thereof, of scripture as well as their perception of God , Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

In the broader sense, as one dives more deeply into the teachings of Jesus the Christ, one realizes that we are meant to attempt to live our lives as Jesus lived his. With compassion, forgiveness and love for all. Not that this perfection can be achieved, because we simply are not wired to be that good, but that we truly attempt it. Christ came to save us simply because of this shortcoming.

What does this mean?

It means that we must put aside our personal desires to whatever extent we can, help those in need in whatever way we can, and spread the Word of Christ’s promise to all we come in contact with. We must attempt to live Godly lives, without sin, so that we bring God greater glory by our actions.

In Phillipians 3: 12-14 Paul writes of the Christian goal: "Not that I have already obtained this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Jesus taught many lessons, each important in it’s own right and timely to each of us in our own time of need and learning. I make no claim to being a perfect interpreter of the Word and can say only that I attempt to do this with the love of Christ for all the inhabitants of this planet. I simply ask, as a Christian and as a Democrat, which party you think best exemplifies by it's actions the teachings and the example that Jesus Christ was, is, and forever shall be.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that Jesus isn't a republican, and I resent the GOP for inferring that they have a lock on morality. It's too bad that the democrats haven't reached out to the Christian community any more than they have. Many of the ideals that democrats stand for--such as justice for the oppressed and help for the needy--are exactly what Jesus taught.

4/20/2005 3:15 PM  
Blogger Christian Democrat said...

Thanks for the comment. Many Democrats that are of faith are pretty humble about it, true. Kerry's remarks during the Presidential debates were, I thought, heartfelt and properly humble, if a bit short and infrequently heard throughout the campaign (or at least in the media).

Those of us that are of faith need to be more outspoken about this faith in every instance that we will be heard: by those within and without the party, those with and without faith. They need to understand that faith is a part of our decision making process on matters large and small and, more importantly, that many deciding factors in creating our political choices come from Scriptural sources that we read, study, and discuss with others.

We must continue to speak entirely from the heart and with a humble tone. It would be best to have a consistant quality of voice, much as Senator Kerry did in the debates, of being humbled before God. Let's differ ourselves from the pompous self glorification in His name that we often hear from the Right.

As importantly, we must let those not of faith within the party have their voice, too. Faith is a personal decision and our personal prayers can ask for someone who knows those without faith to open the Jesus conversation with them as individuals if they are of a mind, but we cannot be abusively evangelical. Some will not be open and there are parables that cover this very situation. Accept it and move on doing good works, happily, together. Be the example.

Having recently finished reading Jim Wallis' book "God's Politics - What the Right Gets Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get," I highly recommend it. He says what I have been attempting here from a very well educated and well travelled position. He is not easy on the Democrats by any means, but he does point to the exact statement you made - the Democrat ideals AND ACTIONS seem to be more in line with the teachings of Jesus. He calls much of what seems to drive the neo-cons as "bad theology." Scary stuff when you consider it.

Seek out some Republican friends and chat with them about your thinking. Some will be aghast but those that think will have something to chew on as they walk the path they choose.

Finally - Jesus wasn't a Democrat or a Republican, he was God's Son and left his words for us to read, ponder, and act upon as each of us sees proper. That's where our individual theology comes in.

4/21/2005 3:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, it is so important that we continue to walk humbly with God and not pretend that we know all the answers.

One thing I have noticed lately is that many people are buying into this "us versus them" mentality that became much more evident during the election. The notion is that those who are Christians or who have strong "right" leanings on issues such as abortion and the death penalty should vote Republican or risk having their faith called into question. It seems that Christians are being called to line up on the Republican side and fight against an amoral enemy that seeks to obliterate religion (no matter that the "left" is constantly speaking of tolerance). Anyone who dares to speak out against the President or other Republican leaders is vilified and his or her salvation is questioned. I see a lot of this on the college campus where I work, between both faculty and students.

I am fortunate enough to have a group of faculty friends who are Christians; however, I am the only one of us who voted for Kerry, and some of them just cannot understand how I could "abandon" my values. It's really pretty funny. I find myself reminding my Christian friends of whom Jesus hung out with when he was here and how he was continually helping and healing those who weren't "worthy." In fact, the only people that he openly condemned were those who thought they were better and more righteous than others. Hmmm.

BTW, I recently became aware of Wallis' book and have put it at the top of my summer reading list. He has a very good website as well.

4/27/2005 4:45 AM  
Blogger Christian Democrat said...

Yes, the '04 election was played primarily by creating deep lines in the sand on few (two) easily charged-up issues. Karl Rove is brilliant in his manipulation of the people through the media and the carefully framed message. Choosing the use of scripture and hymn verses an professing faith on a regular basis goes far towards positioning oneself as the "Christian" team. It's sad that so many people seem to be so easily mis-lead. Rove pushes buttons better than Lee Atwater ever dreamed of.

There are, and have long been, different theologies though. Looking at "The Augsburg Confession" available by a search online shows some very divisive thinking in the different denominations of the Church as a whole. Those differences in theological interpretation will be apparent in ideological discussions as well. Different people will interpret the Bible differently and that will carry over into their political views. Still, the Bible is a fabulous centerpiece for discussions politic and provides a great deal of support for many of the policies of the Democratic Party.

Jesus did speak against many of those who saw themselves as Holy, but I like to think that while condemning them, he was also praying for a change in their heart. We must work towards changing those hearts that we can in the months and year ahead. While doing so, we also need to solidify a base of Christians within the Democratic Party and speak openly and often of our faith and how it supports our convictions on a daily basis, just as we should in all converations, political or not.

4/27/2005 11:39 AM  
Blogger Scott Roche said...

Some great stuff here. I too am a CD and am saddened by the lack of good candidates in our party. I thought Kerry was a good one and would've been a great Pres.

My wife and I are on opposite ends of the political spectrum which makes for great debates and some late nights. She believes that CD's are rare birds and she may be right, but in any case it's good to know I'm not alone.

5/31/2005 7:24 AM  

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