I am an Adult Sunday School Teacher.
Every Sunday I teach I see a variety of views expressed in my class.
That’s ok. My goal as a teacher is not to manipulate their viewpoints in my class as much as inform and instruct on a lesson that I hope the class finds relevant.
This past Sunday, I knew we were having class following a tough week for many in my class.
You see, my class if full of people who tend to be very conservative.
But the Supreme Court decision about the Affordable Care Act did not go the way most conservatives wanted. Following that was the Supreme Court decision about the civil legality of same-sex marriage.
I knew it was going to be a rough Sunday.
I don’t like to talk politics in Adult Sunday School.
Just my opinion, but politics is of “this world” and political talk is rarely fact-based. Too often a heated discussion ensues and division occurs and people make broad statements about types of people. Very little is accomplished and it all boils down to generalities which don’t seem that relevant or helpful.
This past Sunday, I let the venting occur as much as I could.
It was hard; at times I just wanted to leave.
I did not.
I hung in there with a message that Pastor Chan might have appreciated. “We as Christians should be about the business of helping others and practicing love. Love opens doors of opportunity for us and others. Hate shuts door of opportunity for us and others.”
I don’t know if they got it.
I repeated it several times.
You see, I have come to believe in Ephesians 3:20-21 from The Message “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.”
God gives us all skills and abilities to make the world a better place. It is just a matter of choice; are you going to use those skills and abilities or are you going to waste them?
Back to my Adult Sunday School Class: I could not convince the class that we were wasting our time talking politics so I became part Sunday School teacher, part therapist, as the riled up people got their feelings out. My wife said, “Maybe they needed to do that.”
At least I did not get visibly upset.
Pastor Chan is often associated with the “Emergent Church.” That type of church binds people of all types together under the umbrella of Christianity. Politics does not matter as much as Scripture. Politics does not matter as much as loving God and Jesus Christ. Politics does not matter because we are all supposed to heed the two greatest commandments: Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV) “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’”
Where is Republican or Democrat in those ideas? Should Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton follow these ideas? Of course they should. Should Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Donald Trump and the many Republican candidates follow these ideas? Of course they should.
What is Pastor Chan up to? He is trying to find ways to bridge gaps between people. He is trying to go back to the early church when the similarities of Christian belief were more important than any worldly difference.
He’s trying to get it right.
You see, a decision by the Supreme Court will fuel debate for many days, months and years to come if you keep throwing fuel on that fire. But what are we doing when we have that debate? In my opinion, we are wasting precious energy.
That energy needs to be applied to real problems here on earth; the man up the road who has Alzheimer’s and can’t find a ride to the doctor. The friend who has just lost his job and he needs to talk to someone. The child who has no father but he could benefit from some time with a positive male role model.
God needs us to focus on what we can do to make the world a better place, in His Holy Name.
You see I believe He wants to turn His Spirit deeply and gently within us as we take on tasks worthy of our attention and His.