I have always been a Christian, in the sense that I have always believed in Christ as my savior. I have always been a conservative, first in a nebulous sense, and then in a more detailed, vocal sort of way. When I put those two concepts together a few years ago, as I tried to accurately describe my political views, I called myself a Conservative Christian, as did so many I have known along the way. It is only in the last several months that I began to understand that I might have become a child of God those many years ago when I accepted Christ, but I was far from being an actual follower of Jesus because I had not allowed Him to change who I was. And with that realization, I began to see and understand exactly how arrogant and harmful the label Conservative Christian had been. After all, the first command is to love God, and the fact that He was second to my opinion bled over in the unconscious juxtaposition of our place in that label.
When I refocused on God first in all my interaction, I found that I had also been failing miserably in those other two commands. I had been rude and self-important toward those who ostensibly were on my side, but I disagreed with on some things. I had been dismissive and angry toward those who ostensibly were part of the opposition or were seen as the “enemy.” I had become hard-hearted, arrogant in my self-righteousness, manipulative in my discourse, and had stopped hearing any thoughts but my own, including God’s. At the time, I was very grateful that I already knew God to be a forgiving being as well. I repented of this world-focused, false piety of a Conservative Christian and began to talk to folks of God first. I began to genuinely pray for those who hated me for the things I believe, and for those who are my neighbors but sometimes disagree. I began genuinely working toward attempting to allow God’s grace to shine in all my interactions with people.
I noticed something rather amazing in the process. If I can hold onto that focus, and not allow the momentary concerns of the world to push God out of the center, His grace changes the world through my behavior. My friends posts began to change, the anger is still there for many, but there is also a lot more prayer, praise and talk of God that scrolls across my Facebook page and enters into my day-to-day conversations with people. God presents me opportunities to speak the things I have learned from Him to those who last year would never have dreamed of asking, let alone listening to, what a Christian and a conservative had to say. For the first time I am truly at peace and filled with joy when I talk of the world view of my faith, and how that shapes my decisions on politics and policy.
When I began writing here at Contagious Transformations, Stacy knew I was a Christian, and encouraged that walk of faith, but he had expressed a desire for politically focused content for the web site. At the time I was still capable of writing from a purely political perspective and leaving God out of the conversation. As time wore on, I could not bring myself to speak on things of such great importance while leaving God out, He is after all the center. And in truth, this exploration and reorienting my thoughts to leave God as the focus took time, during which I had trouble worrying over much about politics in general. I stopped writing here because I could not provide what was required at the time. When Stacy graciously and persistently invited me to once again begin writing here, and I hesitated because I was not sure I could actually begin writing strictly about politics again, he specified that he wanted me to write from the perspective of my faith. So, here we go my friends, I am so happy and blessed to once again be traveling the road with you. I pray we will build relationships, pray for our enemies, and discover God’s plans for each of us to transform the world to better reflect His purpose. Be blessed, and be a blessing.