To my Christian sisters and brothers; an observation and proposal.
I’m convinced there is a disease plaguing our communities, dinner tables and social media interactions. It is short-circuiting how we SEE and HEAR those with different perspectives, experiences and worldview. It is toxic and the infection is growing.
Rather than listen to difference (within our own Christian family!) through the lens of the Kingdom, we are first listening through the lens of political partisanship. We quickly want to categorize our family, friends and community mates as “right” or “left” and then make the assumptions that naturally follow. This not only hijacks generative discourse and collaboration, it is a symptom of putting our national allegiance ahead of our Kingdom allegiance. Jesus has been enthroned as king of the kingdom and his life and teachings should be our normative framework for how we live, love and lead.
This is deeply troubling. Personally, it makes me weary and uninspired. That said, it only deepens my conviction to lean into the hard conversations and conflicts as way we unearth the beauty of a kingdom that transcends any pseudo-security, safety and power we strive for in the kingdoms of this world. It also reminds me of how costly it will be for those who choose to keep our eyes and ears open to the building of a kingdom where the last will be first and the first will be last. The critique of those in our own Christian “family” is often the most painful, but expect that it will be part of the journey.
What if the FIRST filter through which we see and hear isn’t a political platform, but the values and reality of the kingdom of God as embodied in Jesus? This sounds elementary and assumed, but I believe it is the antidote (at least in part) to the disease that is infecting our hearts, relationships and collective witness in our world.
This is a muscle that requires regular training. It is the hard work of discipleship.
Rather than dehumanizing difference as a political “enemy,” we listen longer than is comfortable and consider what we might have to learn.
Rather than defending our personal blindspots, we invite others (who look, think and act different that us) to shine a light on them so we can confront our own brokenness and grow in generosity and conviction.
Rather than “listening” only as a means to offer a rebuttal/defense, we listen in order to get curious and ask good questions.
Rather than only choosing to highlight our sharp differences in political platform, we look for glimpses of commonality that lead to kingdom collaboration.
Do any of you resonate with this experience? What would you add to a constructive way forward?
About the Author:
Jon Huckins is the Co-founding Director of The Global Immersion Project. More of his reflections and writings can be found on his website.