On this Christmas day I have been reflecting on our unity in Christ, which seems increasingly threatened by divisions within the American Church, especially due to disagreements over political issues. This prompted me to think about the following possibility. Suppose, upon our arrival in the Next World, we ask Jesus, “Who was right regarding those early 21st century American political issues which divided us so much, even those of us who followed you, Lord? Was it the conservatives or the progressives?” What if Jesus replies, “Both sides were right and wrong about many things” and then he proceeds to itemize the insights and errors on both sides, to which we respond by saying, “Wow, it’s all so clear now. Why didn’t we see this during those days when we were so caught up in all of those political squabbles?” Then what if He says, “because it was not my will that you would see these things clearly but rather to test you and mature you through such disagreements. Those issues, vital and important as they were, served primarily as means of interpersonal engagement, to catalyze the forging of your souls, to build virtues of patience, generosity, perseverance, humility, and grace. In short, your political debates functioned as props on the stage of human life, the main focus of which was always about making you all more like me, though even you, my precious children, at times lost sight of this. But don’t worry about it, guys. For all is well now. And all manner of things is well.”

What if that is how it will go down in the Next World? And suppose we somehow could know now that this was God’s main purpose regarding all of the political strife which currently grips our nation. How might this change the way we approached all of these divisive issues?

2 Responses to “A Christmas Day Reflection”

  1. Steve Hoffmann


    This is a great perspective, Jim! I am likely to do a couple of Sunday school sessions on how to be faithful disciples in polarized times, and I will definitely incorporate this. It also is a reflection of all the work you have done in promoting discussion of issues over many years and, more recently, of your work in helping students engage ethical issues through the Ethics Bowl.


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