“They’re getting a little too political.” This is one of the catchphrases that people use whenever a church starts talking about something that makes them uncomfortable.
The idea behind it is that “the gospel” is somehow free from politics, dealing only with spiritual or “religious” matters.
Unfortunately a gospel that is “only spiritual” would have been pretty unrecognizable to Jesus (and most of his contemporaries).
“The gospel is always political; it’s never partisan. I remember hearing this in seminary, and instantly resonating with it. To be “political” has nothing to do with being a republican or democrat. Being political has everything to do with how we choose to live together in society.
(Pssst: Like it or not, we live together, in a society. We need each other.)
The gospel is not just about going to heaven when we die; it’s about how we choose to live now, as citizens of heaven.
It’s a political gospel.
And, to the degree that advent is about reflecting on the love, peace, hope, and compassion of Jesus, advent is political.
(Though again, just in case it needs to be said: It’s not partisan.)
Advent, and our gospel as well, should have a practical, tangible impact on the way I live in the world, the way I treat others that I come into contact with. (Whether I vote the same as them or not, whether I look the same as them or not, and so on and so on.)
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