Westside Vineyard Pastor to Tackle Political Divide in Church; Can We Find Common Ground?
UPDATE: We’ve added the notes that were passed out at the event. See below.
There are some dynamics of the current political climate that need to be confronted in our conversations, said Pastor Brad Bailey of Westide Vineyard Church in Los Angeles, who will be the guest speaker at Metropolis Cafe in Santa Monica on Thursday evening.
“Out of all the diversity that’s found in the church, and that includes racial, socioeconomic, and generational, political diversity within the church is the most challenging,” Bailey told Together LA on Wednesday. “I think Jesus has significant things to speak into our political passions. We should stop and consider what Jesus would think.”
Bailey’s talk, “Political Common Ground – Is it Possible in Today’s World?” kicks off Philosopher’s Cafe on Thursday nights at Metropolis. A Q & A discussion with the audience is planned to follow.
Although the question of common ground may not really be answered, he said he would hope there might be an answer to how we engage each other. “I don’t think I’m going to satisfy the question of finding common ground. However, our differences don’t have to divide us and should no longer define us. The point is that we’re really divided, so how do we talk better?”
On Thursday evening, he said he wants to point out that political perspectives are connected with “all of our other differences… race, socioeconomic, generational, and more. Therefore, our conversations involve the potential for dismissing far more than just political positions.”
When asked about to what degree should Christians be concerned about politics, Bailey answered, “In looking too much into political power we’re going to corrupt the power of the Gospel, which is focused on changing people.”
For more information about this event on the Web go the the Metropolis Santa Monica events page – click here.
To watch a Facebook LIVE (NOW ARCHIVED) of the event go to Together LA’s Facebook page.
Engaging Our Political Divide
Philosopher’s Café – March 1, 2017
Four dynamics that are at work in our political positions and divide…
1. Simplification: Political issues involves multiple complex and competing issues that we naturally want to simplify into some cohesive “side”… which is what political parties and platforms are… but by simplifying we are often further separating ourselves…because we are choosing to ignore a lot of actual information about what others believe and why they believe it.
2. Dismissal of the significance of different personal experience: Political perspectives are connected with all of our other differences… race, socio-economic, generational, and more… and therefore our conversations involve the potential for dismissing far more than just political positions.
3. Self-Righteousness: We are polarized by voices that are designed to serve “self-righteousness.” (Most of the talk about political issues is not an actual dialogue designed to think fairly and fully about the common good, but rather to affirm our rightness and demonize others.)
4. Personal Security: Our political positions can reflect what we are trusting in most as a source of personal security…which is hard to face.
How Jesus speaks into our political divide.
1. Jesus calls us into the more ultimate nature of establishing God’s reign …that puts earthly governance into perspective.
· Jesus has declared a larger revolution … the coming of “God’s kingdom”… which provides the restoration of life with God … a restoration that is personal, not political.
· Jesus bears a warning not to give our ultimate allegiance to any form of power for the sake of personal power and gain.
· Jesus calls us to keep an appropriate perspective on the merits and limits of government and legislation. Human governing…including laws and legislation… can serve God’s purpose in containing evil… but cannot overcome evil. Laws do not make people good. Overcoming evil can only be accomplished by the power to bring the will of God within the human heart.
2. Jesus calls us to that which is changed by the power of personal transformation rather than political force.
Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16
· Embrace the humility to recognize that having the “right position” does not make us a right person (righteous).
1 Peter 2:12 (NIV)
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
Titus 2:7-8 (ESV)
Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.
- Keep from presuming and projecting assumptions on others based on simply the party or position they share with others.
- Listen and learn from those who believe in the merits of another position or representative.
Proverbs 12:15 (NIV)
The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.
Proverbs 18:2 (NIV)
A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.
3. Jesus calls us to seek and serve the common good.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.- Philippians 2:3-4
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. – Galatians 6:10