Originally Posted two years ago.
This is probably a stretch but the purpose is to just get the reader thinking about locked in political party adherence anyway.
We didn’t have political parties when Washington was President. They gradually formed as we were trying to figure out what our fledgling country needed from Washington DC such as a central bank and national policy. We are still arguing today about the role of central government versus states rights. We even had a massive Civil War over the direction of America.
The conditions of Christianity’s expansion were diverse. Communities from Jerusalem to Rome were established. The expansion was not supported by political or economic means. It spread rapidly even under persecution and did so without real textual or organizational controls.
Jesus was a rural itinerant preacher but the first people that called themselves Christians were urban, living in the big cities in the Roman Empire. The growth of Christianity involved a linguistic transition from Aramaic to Greek and it involved a a cultural transition from a predominantly Jewish culture to a predominantly Greco-Roman culture, and finally, it involved a demographic transition from being a movement among Jews to an ever-increasing movement among non-Jews or Gentiles.
The thirteen original colonies that came together through compromise to form a nation were populated by adventurers from France, England, The Netherlands, and Barbados. The latter dominating the southern colonies with strong convictions for aristocracy and slavery. A diverse group to say the least. All this was laid on top of a native population free from Europe’s centuries of war and imperialism.
Christianity was also diverse from the beginning because of all these transitions, shortage of written word and organization, and how rapidly it spread. Everywhere Christianity appeared, it was something slightly different.
Today there are Christian adherents all over the world but the meaning of being Christian perhaps still differs from place to place. For some it is all about the Crucifixion and for others the emphasis is the Resurrection and it seems like it is what one believes that is most important.
Sometimes Christians misconstrue other religious traditions because Christians believe questions like “what do we profess”, “what do we think”, “what are our convictions”, are important to other religions. But for some religions what is most important is what they do. They don’t ask “what do I believe”. Instead they ask “what is it that we are doing” and “what are our practices”.
Is it that much of a stretch to compare Christianity adherents to political party adherents in that perhaps being a Republican means something different from state to state or from person to person and likewise to adherents of the democratic party?
Progressives in both Parties understand that material prosperity without spirituality leads to greed, lack of inner and outer peace, and war and that spirituality without material development leads to poverty and famine.
What does it mean to be a Republican? Lincoln, a Republican with full agreement if not pressure from Northern Democrats, freed the slaves. Is this the same Party that has been making it difficult to impossible for blacks to vote?
Lyndon Johnson’s Civil Rights Act resulted in a huge migration of Southern Democrats into the Republican Party which has had a profound effect on both Parties through addition to the Republican Party and subtraction to the Democratic Party.
In 2008 the Tea Party, now called the Freedom Caucus, became part of the Republican Party. The Freedom Caucus is very conservative and wants to balance the budget by reducing entitlements like Social Security, Medicare, Affordable Health Care Plan, etc.
Do Republicans accurately define what it means to be a member of the Democratic Party and vice versa? Do we as Americans have enough in common that we can recognize those things instead of what we seem dead set to see negatively in the party they are not adherents of?
What does it mean to be a Republican or a Democrat? Has it always been the same? Has being an adherent always been in your best interest? When might it not have been? Why are you so stubbornly tied to one of the Parties?
Jesus had a distinctive appeal to the outcasts. He did not address himself to the religious elite among the people, but rather to the outcasts. “Blessed are you poor,” rather than “you rich.” His ministry was characterized by an open-table fellowship with sinners and tax collectors, people who were outcasts among the Jewish people.
- Which Party’s adherents are most like Jesus?
- Which Party wants tax cuts for the rich?
- Which Party wants to cut or privatize Medicare and cut Social Security benefits to reduce deficit spending?
- Which Party increases spending into the Military Industrial Complex that along with tax cuts creates deficit spending?
- Which Party spent a trillion dollars on the Iraq War and paid for it with debt?
- Would Jesus want to protect the environment and stop global warming? Which Party more closely agrees with Jesus on the environment and global warming?
- Evangelicals seem to want freedoms to not serve the LGBTQ community or allow them to marry or adopt. Does that come from Leviticus and the Old Testament or from Jesus and the New Testament?
James Mattis, a four star US marine corps general and served as Trumps Secretary of State, said that Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Accept this as true or not but admit we are divided more now than we were 5 years ago.