Red Church, Blue Church

For many years Sunday morning has been the most segregated hour in America: blacks in one church and whites in another. While the gospel vision of humanity devalues such division of God’s people into this color or that, there is a redemptive element in this fallen situation: namely, that the black church has sustained it distinctive culture and practices and has done so in a way to bless the entire human community.

But in recent years a political segregation has made its way into the church of Jesus Christ. On one corner is the Blue Church, full of people who are voting a straight Democratic ticket; on the other corner is the Red Church, crowded with people who punch the Republican bottom. People in blue churches cannot understand how Christians can vote red; likewise those in red churches swear that Jesus himself would vote only a red ballot.

The division of the country into blue and red has made its way into the church.

This ought not to be. The entire vision of the church of Jesus Christ is set fore square against such barriers—“neither Jew nor Gentile, free nor slave, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

If Paul the Apostle were writing that text today rather than 2000 years ago would he include political divisions in his list of categories that are trumped by the gospel? Would he not add: “neither Democrat nor Republican, neither Protestant nor Catholic, neither capitalist nor socialist, neither northerner nor southerner”?

If this is true of God’s kingdom and Christ’s church, should it not also be true of our congregation?

Of course, some will protest: Democrats support civil rights and protest war—isn’t this the rule of the kingdom? Other will insist: Republicans fight abortion and judge the lawless—isn’t this the way of Jesus? It is so easy to equate the gospel message with a party platform; from there it is a short step to rejecting fellowship with those who vote the other way.

But human community depends upon civility, respect, conversation, hospitality, and hearing the heart and mind of the other person. What better place for such things to happen than in the circles of a believing congregation. A house of worship can take the lead in transcending the bitter divisions that have plagued church and community and country for thirty years.

Burn your red banners, all you Republican congregations; discard your blue flags, all you Democratic congregations. There is something bigger, grander, more glorious, more significant, more eternal than party affiliation and national elections. John the Prophet gets very close to this when he writes in Revelation, that “… from every tribe and language and people and nation you have made us to be a kingdom and ministers to serve God…”

I will be glad with all the red and blue politics is over and we can get back to being the church of Jesus Christ and the kingdom of God.


3 comments so far

  1. irabird on

    And what does the pastor do when his congregation is part Red/part Blue? Needs to be very prudent!

  2. Rob McPherson on

    And all the people said “Amen”!

  3. Rob McPherson on

    The previous comment was in response to today’s blog. Thank-you.

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