Yesterday, I decided to take the plunge and dive into what should be a rewarding experience for you, the readers, and me. As a kid, I love reading books and you could tell by looking at my nose. It was literally covered in ink. Though I did have some dry spells, the love for reading has never left. They say that one’s passion grows best when shared.
It is probably why I maintained a love for God’s Word because I talked with my Father in Heaven about what I read. Today, I can honestly say there was a joy in talking about what I read. Sadly, I never thought to ask God about the other books that I read. I had a similar experience when I joined a book discussion on Fahrenheit 451 in college.
If you are reading a blog post on this site, it is a safe bet that you’re interested in Christianity. As you may have guessed, my goal for this blog post is to discuss issues found in Eugene Cho’s book “Thou Shall Not To Be A Jerk: A Christian’s Guide To Engaging Politics”.
This is not meant to be a book review; rather it is a discussion on what Eugene Cho is covering in this book. As it happens, I did major in Political Science and been involved in social activism.
During the 90s, I would have loved the pearls that I’m discovering inside and I’m planning to share some of them. Don’t worry, I am not planning to go hardcore. Not everyone is called to get into politics, yet we do need to know how to not come across as a jerk.
Should Christians engage in politics? Eugene is not the only person to hear “Christians should not get involved in politics. We should just get involved in spiritual matters.” I have had lies told to me, in college and later in Phoenix, AZ. At the same time, they would complain bitterly about the injustices being done and the diminishing of godly influences in our society. I have a question, “How is that working out for you?”
It is refreshing to see the author make the same point that I’ve heard from Lance Wallnau. Yes, we do need to get involved in the affair of civil government. If we don’t, then we’re literally opening the door for the Devil to walk in and trainwreck this country. There is more to this involvement than praying. It means getting our hands dirty and getting directly involved. At the same time, we’re to reflect the heart of Jesus in both our words and actions.
Because I believed in this approach, I got involved with the Mayor’s Council on Disabilities and involved with an activist group called “Arizona Bridge to Independent Living”. Though secular, the latter group was very forward-thinking and it seems they espoused a traditional liberal view; not conservative or progressive. I will be upfront and say that I was not a big player.
I am sharing the above to illustrate what I mean by getting involved in politics. My only regret is in not saying anything to my church, at that time. The funny thing is, Warren Stewart is the lead pastor of a church that is known for social justice. I just didn’t think they’d be interested in what I cared about. Why didn’t I say anything?
I thought it would be frowned upon and I needed to get involved in a church ministry. Such fears are not imagined; rather they are real. Do you have a desire to get involved in doing God’s work outside the four walls of a church? How about a calling to get involved in politics or social activism? Do you know that God’s heart is big enough to cover racial injustice, sex trafficking, abortion, poverty, and so many other areas?
Here is where the rubber meets the road. Did you read what is in the image? If not, it says “Seek First The Kingdom of God…NOT The Kingdom of A Political Party”. This book did not read like a hit job on Donald Trump or the Republican Party and it’s not a hit job on the Democrats. Rather, the target is cultural Christianity.
Eugene Cho makes the point that we’re supposed to be following Jesus and reflecting the heart of our LORD and Savior; not a political party. It is great that the Republican Party has taken a pro-life position; however, it should not be used as an excuse to ignore problems. It’s nice the Democrats seek to champion racial justice; however, they should not get a blank check to do whatever.
They are both secular organizations and based their actions on political ideology; not God’s Word. As Christians, we are called to be a light to people in both parties. Here is what Jesus says about being a light:
13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by people. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.Matthew 5:13-16 [NASB]
If you are a follower of Christ Jesus then you have the light of Christ in you. Do not be afraid to let your light shine; so that others can come to know God’s heart on the various issues facing them. Keep in mind, this is not a popularity contest. The goal is not to win the approval of men; rather, we are to speak the truth in a genuinely loving fashion that reflects humility and grace.
Yes, there is an echo in here. I am rephrasing the same message found in the first chapter of Eugene Cho’s book. The man is truly communicating like a prophet. If you ever read the Old Testament, then you’ll discover that the prophets sometimes had to communicate some rough messages to the leaders of Israel (both Samaria &Judea). Though diplomatic, these Old Testament prophets did not pussyfoot God’s Word to them.
Some leaders like David, Hezekiah, and Jehoshaphat responded quite well. Yet, they were not coddled by the visiting prophets. They diplomatically spoke the truth and were appreciated. Other rulers did not respond so well. Yet, the prophets and later apostles spoke God’s Words with boldness. What do you suppose would have happened, if Gad didn’t confront David? How about Hezekiah and Jehoshaphat? They would have failed those kings and they may not have had a chance to repent.
The same principle applies to our two political parties. In the first chapter, Eugene talks about a cultural Christianity that is blinded by political ideology. He compared the treatment of both Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. I do not know about you; however, I do recall how certain Christian leaders spoke out on President Bill Clinton. They were right to do so because one’s character really does matter. Plus, the impact of his behavior goes well beyond the relationship with his wife and daughter.
At the time, I do not recall hearing anyone say “Let’s pray for Clinton”. The Republican Party was more likely to hang the man. I was living in Republican territory; so I did not get to hear from Christians who voted for the Democratic Party. I imagine it is similar to what I’d see when it was President Donald Trump. It seems some Christian leaders were suddenly willing to excuse Trump’s behavior.
Why? It’s because he’s the leader of their political party. Sadly, they were not doing Trump any favors. As it happens, the incident happened in the past. It did not rise to the same level as Clinton; nevertheless, I did not hear of anyone discreetly talk with Trump and counsel him on how to repent, if needed. Trust me, I do not think Trump would have been offended or hurt if he’s discreetly confronted.
There is a world of difference between publicly attacking someone and discreet correction. If he decides to react badly then it’s his problem. The same thing applies to Bill Clinton. The same idea applies to other areas that have caused problems. Let’s not be afraid to be confrontational when it’s needed. You do not have to be rude or come across like a thug; however, Christians do need to be bold and courageous.
There is another danger that comes with cultural Christianity. It’s the danger of becoming too tribalistic or partisan. Admit it! You like Trump’s boldness and willingness to speak his mind. Even if you are not a fan of Trump’s personality; you admire his courage in facing down the political and media elites.
Would you have embraced him, if he’s still a Democrat? I read his book and it seems Donald hasn’t changed too much. According to Bill O’Reilly, the man was a conservative Democrat. It’s the same guy but today’s Republican Party is closer to what he believes than the current Democratic Party. The danger is in letting our perceptions be shaped by partisanship; as opposed to the Kingdon of God.
You do recall that Jesus had no problem being confrontational when it came to the religious leaders. Right? John, the Baptist spoke in a very similar manner and so did the apostles. Do I think we should speak the truth in the same way as Donald Trump? Not so fast! How about we speak the truth with these characteristics: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;
If you don’t recognize those characteristics then you need to reread Galatians 5:22-23. Yes, they are the fruits of the Spirit. Be not afraid. For God has not given His children, a spirit of fear and timidity. According to Paul, here is what we did get:
7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control]2 Timothy 1:7 [Amplified]
Believe it or not, I’ve only covered what is in the first chapter of Eugene Cho’s book. “Thou Shall Not Be A Jerk” has about 270 pages and is broken down into 10 chapters. In in the midst of reading the 2nd chapter.
If you would like to buy the paperback version of Eugene’s book then click here. You’ll be taken to the book’s page on Amazon. Please note that I am a participant in Amazon’s affiliate program. It won’t affect the price of the book.
I would love to share more on this book and I do hope you’re enjoying it. Please feel free to leave a comment, below. I have a suspicion that there will be more intriguing contents in his book.