Over the past several years my life has changed dramatically. When I created this blog a number of years ago I was a full time political junkie. I considered myself a dedicated Christian and went to church on a regular basis, but I was fully immersed in North American politics. I lived for lively debate, often morphing into contentious arguments that pitted friends, and sometimes relatives, against each other. These arguments inevitably resulted in division between my brothers and sisters in the faith.
A couple of years ago I began attending The Meeting House in Oakville, Ontario. They align themselves with the Anabaptist denomination and identify themselves as a “peace church” – oddly a somewhat new term for me. Other churches I have attended preach peace, advocate peace, esteem to the principles of peace, but The Meeting House (TMH) takes peace to a much higher level than I have ever experienced. Within the doctrinal beliefs of Anabaptists (and I am not sure I am ready to call myself an Anabaptist at this point) is a belief that Christians have been called by Jesus to follow Him and we are citizens of His kingdom. From this belief, which is actually easily supported in the gospels, Anabaptists have no teaching about government or politics, nor do they necessarily encourage their members to seek political office or be involved in the military or police work. If, though, someone believes he or she is called into government or the military or police work Anabaptists view them as friends who see the world differently.
This radical shift took time to resonate with me. I have friends at TMH who love political discussions and follow world events and social causes with a passion and I enjoy weekly discussions with them. Politics and social issues are two very different things. Politics involves the apparatus of governance at the state level, including law. Social issues are the things that touch every one of us in our ordinary lives. Politics and social issues can, and often do, intersect, but my focus has shifted away from an emphasis on political parties and ideologies to social issues such as health care, poverty, people on the margins in our society, issues impacting those with disabilities and the elderly. That is the short list.
There are times when I make changes only to realize later that I have deleted something that should have remained. I can have a political part of this blog alongside the spiritual content too. Politics and my beliefs about Jesus and the Bible do not need to be exclusive.
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