What If…?

Another way to seek justice in the public square.

Photo by DDP on Unsplash

What if conservative Christians of any stripe, Catholic or Protestant, tried to conserve the teachings of their faith by living them–those words about loving the enemy, turning the other cheek, serving the poor, giving up one’s life for the neighbor?

What if, instead of waving the battle flag of success and victory, they lifted high the cross of Christ as the paradigm of their faith?

What if they rejected legislating or court packing as a way to insist on their own way in the public square?

What if, instead, they first tried to persuade others through gentle, reasoned speech and sacrificial love, so that when legislation is passed, a great national consensus would prevail, making it politically and morally unthinkable to reverse it for generations to come?

What if, instead of treating their cultural enemies with contempt, they invited them to dinner and listened long and hard to their views?

What if instead of responding with counter arguments immediately, they let these views sit with them for a few days in prayer and tried to learn from them?

What if, in the meantime, they sought ways to love these neighbors in practical ways, in everyday acts of kindness and mercy, and by praying daily for their welfare?

What if instead of demanding that others change their ways, they looked in themselves and sought first to change their own hearts and lives in accord with the teachings of our Lord?

What if, in the cause of life, they strove to act and speak in ways that ever more consistently promoted a culture of life, that is, with love?

What if, instead of praising “strongmen” who punch at their political enemies, they honored leaders who demonstrated quiet strength—humility, patience, and charitable engagement?

What if, when they feel compelled to speak truth plainly, they did so not with a self-righteousness that condemns, but with a sadness that longs for goodness to prevail?

What if conservative Christians were known less for their politics and more for their mercy, so that when they spoke about the saving work of Jesus Christ, that message would not be mocked but, by God’s grace, believed?

What if conservative Christians strove to conserve—“kept in a safe or sound state”—the great teachings of our Lord, in both word and deed?

18 thoughts on “What If…?

  1. Does it occur to you that if you replaced the word “conservative” with “liberal” in this post, that it would be just as valid?

  2. What if, instead of complaining about conservatives all the time, you told us why you think liberals are so great?

    You seem angry and in a deep rut, so tell us why any Christian would vote for your side.

    1. Nat, thanks for the comment. Check out my Galli Report (see the link in the menu above); that’s where I tend to link to pieces that focus on the flaws of liberals. You’ll see don’t think liberals are great, by any means. In this space, I am concerned to speak to my conservative brothers and sisters about issues that concern me. And to be clear, I’m not interested in how people vote, only that we’d be more consistent in our moral voice in the public square.

      1. It looks to me that you are belittling a human that is battling an unjust, immoral left. Trump is human and makes mistakes just like you do Mark. But at least he is battling. Abortion clinics are closing, funding is being squeezed and security has never been better. Think about that.

    2. Nat- what’s interesting about your comment is that “conservative” is only used twice, and as a modifier for “Christian”. I think most everyone here likely considers themselves to be a conservative Christian in the sense that we agree to the core tenets of orthodox Christianity. So, this is likely a conversation “within the family”. And yet, your remark implies that you see this as an attack from without. That’s the issue Mark is dealing with- there is one “us” but what the world perceives Christians to be and what the gospel demands (or the love of Christ compels) us to be don’t seem to be the same thing. I’d love if the world “knew we were Christians by our love”, not by our pugilism.

  3. Our Church is concluding a sermon series on “compassion” and at the heart of that subject is “love you neighbor” The response to the What if conservative Christians….. reminded me of a relationship I have had now for many years with a “conservative” Christian and I am what I would agree would be called a “liberal” Christian. Today there seems to be as great a separation within our faith community as with the non-Christian. Yet we have found our conversations together cover ALL aspects of those subjects often forbidden in “polite” circles like politics, money and religion. In fact those are the subjects of our conversation but without rancor. The other view is actually sought out and considered to enrich and enlighten our own perspective, which we notice is frequesntly changing. We have wondered why it is we are so different in those areas and yet have come to value our conversations. Your responses to that “what if question,… I’m beginning to get it. Loving others as Christ loves us in all our humanity. We try to treat each other as Jesus has and is treating us, with Love, compassion and mercy. We agree together that is the model we are trying to follow.

  4. What if these so called evangelicals started following what Christ taught us. To help the poor, sick and elderly. This means supporting government programs that help the poor, sick and elderly. Yet these FAKE Christians continue to support politicians who worship the money changers of Wall Street and discriminate against the poor, sick and elderly.

  5. sobering thoughts…thank you. The world is watching us after we have professed our faith. A call for daily humbleness and a piety in our actions. Matthew 5:16

  6. Thank you for your insightful comments! Though there will still be many who support the “in your face” and “eye for an eye” approach. The name calling and putting others in their place is so contrary to scriptural teachings.

  7. I completely agree with this article and the one about impeachment of Trump. I was afraid I was one of only afew evangelicals to feel like you and others you have mentioned. I have begun speaking out about Trump and have caused many people to avoid me. But it has to be done. I will not vote for Trump nor any current Democrat candidate but will not vote for the office of president. Keep writing your articles and maybe you will start changing some minds.

  8. What if we had theology instead of ideology determine how we vote? If instead of venality in our leadership, we had those who adhered to those faith principles we supposedly stand for?

    If each side listened to the other – we still aren’t going to get consensus – but we could at least establish a framework within which to work.

    Many of our problems are not intractable – but politicians play to their base. Better to leave the base fired up than to actually solve anything. The Left and the Right both have failed us in this.

    An actual theocracy is a bad idea. Theocracies have always led to oppression. But if we were truly guided by Scripture in our voting, we might get a better quality of public servant.

  9. What if all Christians would “Accept him whose faith is unimpressive, without passing judgment on his opinions ” and “be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love and make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace”? There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him… a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

  10. Long ago I led an attempt to boycott various local businesses, following the strong encouragement of Christian political groups. Over time, through a number of incidents, I began to realize that I was NOT acting as Jesus wanted me to. Instead of inviting the manager of Dunkin Donuts or 7-11 to my church, instead of treating him as someone loved by Jesus, I was instead asking local churches to *ruin* his business simply because his magazine distribution or a corporate owner (Waldenbooks) included Playboy. Of course, the manager (who had no real control over corporate policy) saw my actions as a threat to his livelihood and to his family! He felt “hated” by Christians. I was destroying the gospel by my conservative political action!

    Over time I learned that the Holy Spirit did not intend for me to *win* some political battle. I am free to “lose” in politics — see the book of Revelation for confirmation! — simply because I put love and compassion (and Jesus) over *every* political desire.

  11. Good words for all who profess to be Christians to consider – and to live by – regardless of political beliefs.

  12. Mark, generally these points are good, but I have a question as to what you mean by saying, “What if they rejected legislating or court packing as a way to insist on their own way in the public square?” Shouldn’t we seek good moral legislation? Shouldn’t we seek leaders (including judges) who will uphold Christian values? For example, shouldn’t we seek leaders who will protect the lives of the unborn? Shouldn’t we seek leaders who will allow for religious persons of all types to state their positions in the public square (or, for that matter, in places of worship themselves)? I think you are being unduly pejorative to those who “vote Christian values.” As to your others, as Jesus said on another issue, “These ought you to have done, yet not leave the other undone.”

    1. Thomas, yes, yes, and yes. But if we speak rudely to those with whom we disagree, and if we force laws into being before we’ve developed a consensus, it will only breed resentment. And when the tables are turned, all our progress will be undone by the next administration. I’m in the pro-life movement for the long haul. I want a complete victory in the end. But that is going to take some decades to achieve in a way that it will be sustained for future generations. Good questions. Hope that helps.

  13. What If, that is what has been going on for 30 years. To the point our Children have been brought up by educators who teach them “White Privilige”, to hate our country which they teach has never been great! Thank Goodness half the country has waken up and stopped turning the other cheek finally! Thank Goodness for President Donald Trump for speaking out against the corruption and corrupt media mockingbirds. He scares the wicked amoung us and Christians blinded by fear… installed by the wicked. Oh, my one cannot be a bully!

Comments are closed.