Let’s face it, the campaign trail for the 2020 election is upon us and if you’re anything like me you are asking yourself, “How do I engage in all of this?” That question is more than fair and different people will tell you different answers. Hopefully at the helm is your primary identity as a Christian. Not a Young Life leader, not a member of a local church, not your race, but simply a follower of Christ. That’s tough to do in the political climate we live in. So to help us as an organization, you can now blame me when you feel the need to engage in politics on social media.
I’d like to present a policy and it is this:
As a Young Life Leader, social media is a vehicle for knowing and edifying our friends. Anything that participates in the limiting of our ministry such as segregating groups of people by political affiliation will not be tolerated.
There’s more at stake here.
Currently, I’m reading through C.S. Lewis’ The Weight of Glory and several things grabbed me as I considered the policy above. Let me first say that I do think it’s extremely important for each of us to know where we stand on these current political issues that surround us. I have some of the strongest opinions out there and I am well prepared to defend them if the day comes where I must. However, I think it’s infinitely more important to get at the Why behind our opinion. I pray that your Why is rooted in the simple gospel that we promote each and every day to our middle school-college friends.
In The Weight of Glory, Lewis talks about living in the middle of a war. To illustrate this, he tells the story of a young man who lives on the coast and is trained to save someone drowning if the occasion arises. The man in the story is prepared to give his life in the effort of saving another. This is a noble thing the man has done and no one would argue it otherwise. But if that man spends all day every day walking the town insisting that everyone goes through the same training that he did, what a sad life he would live. He would miss the taste of breakfast each morning and the opportunity to simply play because of something much grander. He concludes with this: “A man must have to die for his country, but no man must, in any exclusive sense, live for his country.”
I share that in the context of this because I think it’s healthy for us to have real conviction in our reasoning. That is maturity. But if we are unable to smell the roses, as the saying goes, then I’d like to ask, “Is it worth it?”
We speak of John 10:10 quite a bit in Young Life, almost as our scriptural mission statement. Are we missing out on the life that Jesus died for if we spend all of our energy on bitterness and disapproval?
Lewis goes on in the book to question our perspective of Heaven. What do you long for when you consider this eternal destination? Do we show up at the gate just to finish our earthly race and finally escape what was? Do we see “Heaven as a place where we are patted on the back” and simply told “well done.”
Or do we see Heaven as something much more? Something so perfect and big that it burst out of our understanding of time and into our life today! Is that what knowing Christ is?
To understand Heaven, we often think that “the fundamental thing is how we think of God. By God, it is not! How God thinks of us is not only more important, but infinitely more important.” He became flesh and made His dwelling among us! We have seen His glory and for some ridiculous reason that I simply cannot understand, He allows us to participate in furthering that glory. Suddenly we find meaning and context for the words of John 10:10. Suddenly we get “…to be a real ingredient in the divine happiness…to be [so] loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a father in a son - it seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain. But so it is.”
And here I am..
I want to discuss standards. I want to instate rules. I want us to be a beacon of hope rather than a hammer of truth. But the two cannot be separated. The truth is that we’ve all fallen short and no effort in social justice can save us. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loves us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ. If I’m going to talk about a code of conduct then I better talk more about Jesus. The former is nothing without the latter, and more-so ironically made moot. Antoine de Saint-Exupery said, “If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” Let’s allow our longing for Jesus to bleed into every post we make.
One final quote that I’ll leave you with from another C.S. Lewis book, The Screwtape Letters. If you haven’t read it, this is a demon talking about how to pull people away from Christ:
“The thing to do is to get a man at first to value social justice as a thing which they demand, and then work him on to the stage at which he values Christianity because it may produce social justice.”
“‘Believe this, not because it is true, but for some other reason.’ That’s the game”
Not us. There’s more at stake here.