Summertime is always a unique opportunity to do some serious self evaluating and thought processing. It is a time when we are typically unoccupied by school, thus, we have some extra time on our hands to dive deep into our thoughts.
I have done a lot of thinking lately, about all the political uproar in our government and elsewhere. No matter how hard I try, I can't escape it. I've never considered myself a very political person; I usually meet somewhere in the middle of most issues and call it a day. I'm a peacemaker among my friends, and I have always seen immense value in fairness (in all aspects).
It's definitely hard as a college student, forming my opinions and figuring out where I stand with all the current political mayhem going on. I'm surrounded with the opinions of my friends, classmates, professors, family members, and most prevalent of them all, the medias. Not a day goes by when I don't read an article on Snapchat or Apple News regarding the new transgender or LGBTQ laws being passed through congress.
Now, as a Christian individual attending a Christian university, I am often surrounded with the stereotypical, Christian mindset regarding the Republican political party and conservative views on current events like abortion laws and LGBTQ rights. Even though the majority of the population at my university make their political decisions along these lines, there are some that do so otherwise.
My ultimate goal when forming my political opinions is to form them aligning with truth and only truth. If I form my opinions on the basis of truth, I can have confidence that my vote is truly sound. Makes sense, right? At a private, Christian university, we are fortunate enough to be able to pray in class if we want, and go about living our lives along the path of religious freedom with which our country was founded (these rights of ours are currently at stake in the state of California, but that is a whole other article for another day).
So, I have been able to take religious courses and form my opinions during my first year of university along the basis of what I believe to be true. I will say, that forming my political opinions and discovering what I believe to be true simultaneously is a bit difficult. I have come to the conclusion that it would be a whole lot easier if I could just have someone tell me what is true, so I can form my opinions based on that truth alone and go about living with my life, but it just doesn't work that way.
Yes, I believe that the Bible is true, but that doesn't mean I don't have a whole LOT of questions for God when I get to heaven. It wasn't until I got to college when I realized just how open much of the Bible is for interpretation. I took theology courses that examined different interpretations of the Bible, and how people use those different interpretations in their day-to-day lives. I always knew how each denomination of Christianity uniquely interprets the Bible, or looks at specific parts of the Bible more closely than others. What I didn't know, is just how drastically different some of those interpretations are.
I firmly believe that many individuals who belong to the same faith I do, forget that God isn't Republican or Democrat. That phrase is always running through my mind, every time something political comes across my Facebook feed or in the news.
Okay, I guess after all that fluff I'll get to what I really wanted to say in this article.
As a student at a religious university, I often find myself asking this question, "Why do we spend so much time focusing on our own Christian selves, instead of spending that time leading nonbelievers to Christ?" Okay, pause. Before you jump to the comments section, let me explain what I mean. I'm not talking about bringing your atheist friends to Church or passing out the New Testament on the side of the road. I'm also not talking about the type of "leading to Christ" that you think of when Christians often throw around that term in a Church setting.
Sure, there are arguments for why we hone in on our own problems and self doubts. Many will argue that the reason we take so many spiritual classes and attend chapel every other day is to learn just how to do the thing I'm talking about, leading others to Christ. We learn about how to live better lives as Christians and how to make sure we are the best versions of ourselves we can be.
This is where I want to offer a different perspective on our how we live our Christian lives during the 21st century. One of my theology professors gave me this perspective during a class lecture, and I will never forget it. Okay, here we go. What if it wasn't all about us? What if, we worshiped in Church with songs that spoke directly to the reverence of God, instead of singing, "We are the generation! We are! We! Us! Me!?" What if we casted our votes into the political realm with the mindset that, we, in fact, have no right to judge absolutely anyone? What if, we, a Christian body, left the judgement up to God? Certainly not everybody lives like this, but I will be the first to raise my hand and say that I have finger-pointed and called many a political candidate, "wrong," "right," "good," "bad," but who are we to really know?