Sunday, October 10, 2010

politics and religion

everywhere you look, you see political ads. nothing wrong with that, i suppose. there is an upcoming election if you didn't already know.

i got burned out on politics years ago, though. i get criticised for that from time to time, but that's ok. different strokes for different folks. i do take the responsibility of voting seriously. it's a privilege i enjoy and do not take for granted. but politics is not something i enjoy.

one of the things that turned me off to politics a few years back is ...well, the religious community and republicans. before i go further, i should point out that i am part of the religious community, and i do mostly identify with a republican platform. and it's not that i think christians shouldn't care about social and political issues, i just think there needs to be balance.

a few months ago, i asked people on facebook to be nice and respectful towards those with opposing views. i got blasted for it, accused of being a democrat, people tried to convert me over the issue (funny thing, i already agreed with most of what they were trying to convince me of)...

i believe that christianity is not a political movement and that GOD is neither republican nor democrat. sometimes, we confuse spirituality and politics. we sometimes equate the two. but we really shouldn't do that. i read something interesting in the BIBLE tonight. in acts chapter one, we read the words of JESUS: "Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I have told you before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." we then go on to read what was on the minds of his disciples: "So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, 'Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?'"

guess those closest to JESUS made the same mistake we so often make. JESUS spoke of spiritual things, yet his disciples were thinking about political matters. i guess if they can make that mistake, we can just as easily do the same. perhaps i shouldn't be so hard on us when we "go there." not much has changed, i s'pose.

GOD cares about us and our world. don't get me wrong. he does have his hand on governmental matters, but GOD and all that he is about, is so much more than a political issue.

i just think that we need to have perspective and balance. we need to listen more to each other and judge a whole lot less. i've heard people say that there is no way a christian can be a democrat, and yet i know a few. =) they really are out there. i promise. and if we just listen to each other, we may find we're not as far apart as we originally thought.

should christians be involved in social matters? absolutely. should we care about politics? i think so. but everything in moderation. politics does not equal religion. just saying. =)


Pete Ahlstrom said...

Hi Hope,

Found your blog through your latest comment on Anne Jackson's.

Just wanted to say that my family very much agrees with what you said about politics.

My wife and I both began like some of your "friends." Then God led us through a whole series of experiences and pretty much clubbed me into reading the Bible to see what it said about "loving our neighbors." All that, together, pretty much stopped us from thinking of ourselves as either liberals or conservatives - Republicans or Democrats.

Jesus was neither a conservative nor a liberal - you know how much he argued with (and, yes, condemned) both of them. We just try to follow Him.

That means both loving God (which a lot of liberals don't do. It also means loving and helping our neighbors, which too many Republicans forget. And, yes, it means listening, thinking, being sensitive, being truthful, being honest, caring.

Have bookmarked your blog and am looking forward to reading more.

Our family website,, isn't a blog, but you can learn a bit more about our experiences there, in with a text I've written on "loving our neighbors" (based on about 3,500 Bible verses.)

Best wishes!

hope hammond said...

thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment. i spent a few minutes checking out your website. i LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the lists about what we can do to love our neighbors. i look forward to reading more. you're right. little things make a big difference. it breaks my heart that we tend to have an "us against them" mentality. that's one of the reasons when choosing a school at which to finish my degree, i chose georgia state, smack-dab in the heart of atlanta. it's a bit of a commute, but i love meeting ppl different from myself. i love getting out of my christian bubble. i'm finding i like and love the people i'm around, no matter their lifestyles, beliefs, politics. keep up the good work, pete. i look forward to hearing more from you!

Pete Ahlstrom said...


Thanks very much for your good comment on our web site. I appreciated that very much.

The lists you saw are shorter versions of some in the book itself. My daughter (Yvette) put them up, as well as designing the site and helping write one of the chapters. You'll find the longer lists in the last chapter, "Loving our Neighbors Today."

When we lived in Orlando (1986-1993), we used to go up into North Carolina and northern Georgia (especially around Dahlonega, Helen, and Gainesville) for most of our vacations. How close would we have been to you?

Looking forward to reading more of your blogs. God bless you and your family.

hope hammond said...

i will check out those lists. we used to live in north georgia, about an hour or so from gainesville. now we live about an hour south of atlanta. your website said you're in the wyoming area? when we lived in washington state, we were able to visit yellowstone a couple of times and we travel thru a lot of the surrounding states. beautiful country! GOD bless your family, too.

Pete, Yvonne, Yvette and Bill Ahlstrom said...

Yes, we now live in southwest Wyoming, in Rock Springs. We can see the Wind River Mountains (Wyoming's highest) way off to the north, and the Uintas over in Utah to the south. We ourselves are pretty much in the middle of the desert part of the state. Lots of sagebrush, but few places with trees. A bit like moving to the moon.

However, God has impressed us to get ready to move out of state - and our doctor agrees (my lungs have gotten allergic to dust). We're ready and set - will appreciate you praying with us for God to say "go" soon!

Last night, as we were looking over the last chapter of the book, my daughter discovered that most of the hyperlinks there have gotten messed up. (The other lists are OK). We'll be trying to work on those today; hope they'll be fixed by tonight or tomorrow.

God's blessings,

Pete A.

Pete Ahlstrom said...

We think the hyperlinks leading to examples of "love your neighbor" organizations in the last chapter are all fixed now. Still have to doublecheck the rest of the book, but there are few if any there.

When & where did you guys live in Washington? I went to college there and my first job was there too - lived there about 12 years. All in & around Seattle. A LONG time ago.

God bless you all, Pete A.

hope hammond said...

to answer your question, we were in the richland/pasco/kennewick area back in the late 90s. i loved it.

it's been a long week so i haven't had a chance to check out more of your website, but hopefully in the next few days, i'll get a chance to sit down and read some of your book. looking forward to it.