Monday, June 30, 2008

I know. I missed the point.

I was reading an article earlier today from about all of the rumors flying around about Barack Obama. You know, the ones about how his Muslim faith, his plot to illegally bring his African family to the United States and, of course, that crazy-racist pastor of his. I know you've heard them. We've all heard them. Unfortunately, according to this article, many people are being fooled by these rumors and are willing to base their vote on their next door neighbor, rather than doing some research on their own and seeking the truth. As much as this article repulsed me as I looked at it from a not-as-educated-as-I-could-be political view, it broke my heart as I looked at the article from a Christian stand point . And it broke my heart all because of one measly, little part of a sentence: "...a Buckeye tree decorated with Christmas ornaments celebrating Americana..."

As I read this article about the lack of knowledge, the inability to be open-minded and the down right lack of respect the voters in the United States have for the election process, I found myself having a heck-of-a-time getting through the rest of the article after the afore mentioned sentence. The first thought in my head was, "wait, what does Christmas have to do with America? And why are the ornaments 'celebrating Americana'? Shouldn't the ornaments at least have something to do with that Jesus character that was born in a manger?" Apparently, in Flag City, USA it's totally acceptable to turn any celebration into an American celebration. Even if that celebration happens to be a religious holiday.

Wait, doesn't the good 'ol U.S. of A have a belief called Separation of Church and State? So, tell me, why is it OK to mix Christmas and red, white and blue ornaments? I think it's because many in this country have forgotten that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ, and with that Christianity-- a religion. I shook most of my frustration about all of this off, until I later sat down to read Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw. And within the first page of full text I found the following:

...And so we're hardly able to distinguish between what's America and what's Christian. As a result, power corrupts the church and its goals and practices. When Jesus said, "You cannot serve two masters," he meant that in serving one, you destroy your relationship to the other. Or as our brother and fellow activist Tony Campolo puts it, 'Mixing the church and state is like mixing ice cream with cow manure. It may not do much to the manure, but it sure messes up ice cream.' As Jesus warned, what good is it to gain the whole world if we lose our soul?

So, I may not have gotten the full political statement the Washington Post article was trying to make, and my sinful assumptions of the Mid West may have been reinforced, but I did take something profound from the article (with the help of Claiborne, Haw and Campolo): There should be a separation of the Church and State because if there is not a separation of the two, the Church is going to lose its soul.

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