Here are some quotes from a chapter called "Morality" in a book by Donald Miller titled Searching For God Knows What that I just finished reading. This book and chapter in particular hit a chord with me. Feel free to comment.
"Growing up in a small conservative church in the South, you hear more about morality than you do about Christ. If you were immoral, you made to feel that God no longer liked you. And if you were moral, you were made to feel not one with Christ, but right and good and better than other people. These things were not stated directly, but the enviroment left me with this impression. Christian spirituality then, hinged on whether or not a person behaved."
"What I really wanted, though, was a reason for morals, a reason stronger than somebody's simple suggestion that right was right and wrong was wrong.
"The motive is love, love of God and of my fellow man.
"Morality for love's sake...seems more beautiful to me than morality for morality's sake, morality to build a better nation here on earth, morality to protect schools, morality as an identity for one of the parties in a culture war...
"This hijacking of the concept of morality began, of course, when we reduced Scripture to formula and a love story to theology and finally morality to rules.
"And while morality is good, anything we do to get other people to clap, or anything that gives us a more prominent postion in a sinking ship, runs the risk of replacing a humble nature pointed at Christ, who is our Redeemer. The biblical idea of morality is behavior associated with our relationship with Jesus, not bait for pride. In fact, morality as a battle cry against a depraved culture is simply not a New Testament idea. Morality as a ramification of our spiritual union and relationship with Christ, however, is.
"In my opinion, we should tell people about Jesus, not try to build some kind of temporary moral civilization here on earth.
"As a Christian, I believe Jesus wants us to reach out to people who are lost and, yes, immoral-immoral just like you and I are immoral; and declaring war against them and stirring up [people] to the point of anger and giving them the feeling that their country, their families, and their lifestyles are being threatened is only hurting what Jesus is trying to do. This isn't rocket science. If you declare war on somebody, then you either have to handcuff them or kill them. That's the only way to win. But if you want them forgiven by Christ, if you want them live forever with Jesus, you have to love them. So go ahead and declare war in the name of a conservative agenda, but don't do it in the name of God.
"I can't say this clearly enough: If we are preaching morality without Christ, and using war rhetoric to communicate a battle mentality, we are fighting on Satan's side. This battle we are in is a battle against principalities of darkness, not against people who are different from us. In a war you shoot the enemy, not the hostage."
Trish here: Well, there's my response to those many angry, terrified conservative Christians out there. Don't be stirred up to fear and hate people who are different! They are the hostage, not the enemy. Pray for them and love them, and fight the true evil one. Have you been wasting time hating those awful, immoral liberals?
I won't get into the flip side of this, which is the earthly, political responsiblity to our country to vote for the best person possible. There's nothing wrong with wanting the best for our country. I'm talking about spritual matters here. The bottom line is that we are to love, and that people are not the enemy.