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Jesus, Jason Aldean and small-town Christianity – Baptist News … – Baptist News Global

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Opinion  |  August 29, 2023
Jason Aldean’s song “Try That in a Small Town” is still blowing up the internet, igniting a huge amount of controversy and garnering an unreal amount of support. Sadly, as usual, the conversation is split right down the party line, with Democrats on one side and Republicans on the other.
Where should a Christian stand?
In his song, Aldean threatens those who challenge American patriotism and American freedoms. He challenges them “see how far they make it down the road.”
Shannon Makujina
Jesus tells us to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute us, and he asked God the Father to forgive those who nailed him to a cross.
Christian, please do not deceive yourself: There is nothing about those two perspectives that is in agreement. And maybe it is time for you to choose between the political party you’ve always identified with and the radical call of Jesus to take up a cross and follow him.
Maybe this will be the first time you’ve considered that being a Republican and a Christian might not be the same thing.
Contrary to the assumptions of many Christians, owning a gun might be a constitutional right, but it is not a part of Christianity. While Jason Aldean and conservatives would taunt the government to “come on and try” to take their guns away, Jesus says if someone sues you unjustly, you should not only give them the clothes off your back, you should give them your sneakers as well.
“Jesus did not call his followers to be patriots, he called them to be pacifists.”
Jesus did not call his followers to be patriots, he called them to be pacifists.
And yes, I know that just made some of you very mad.
Am I saying it is wrong to have political opinions, or to be a soldier, or to run for office? Absolutely not. I’m saying I’m afraid our first response to ethical and moral questions is an automatic repeat of whatever Matt Walsh or Dennis Praeger are saying, rather than even considering Jesus. Do we get more stirred up over our National Anthem than over Jesus, Prince of Peace? Do we tend to be political when we should be keeping peace with all men, at every opportunity?
Why is it that if you are a Christian, you are assumed to be a Republican? Why do we have pastors expounding on the merits of different Republican presidential nominees, rather than feeding their people the gospel? Why are churches conducting voting crusades, passing out voter registration cards in the offering plates and putting up political signs in the church yards?
Why do we ignore Jesus, several Sundays every year, and instead worship on the altar of American patriotism? Why are we singing “The Army Goes Rolling Along” in church? Why are we saluting the American flag in churches across the country? Do we not consider our brothers and sisters around the world?
Why are we worshiping the American dream, instead of Jesus, who will bring heaven and earth to pass away, and build a new one?
I love what Pastor J.D. Greear has to say about how much he hates his own Southern Baptist megachurch being leveraged as a political force, and how their church has offended many by teaching the truth of the Bible, even when it didn’t go with the mantra of the Republican Party.
“Pastors get to disciple our people about one hour a week, and Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow get them for three hours a night,” Greear said. “When the church gets in bed with politics, the church gets pregnant, and the offspring does not look like our Heavenly Father. It looks like the Synagogue of Satan.”
I remember my church showing a documentary about how the 2020 election was “stolen” — a church event, right after the Sunday service. It was a “fellowship” activity, complete with food and drinks.
When I questioned the wisdom in that, my father told me if he were a pastor he would make being a Republican a membership requirement to join the church. I also was informed you couldn’t be a Christian and be a Democrat.
And I know you are going to jump down my back and say, “What about abortion?”
Yes, sanctity of life is a biblical issue and one Republicans and Democrats typically divide over. But that does not mean the whole Republican Party platform is inspired Scripture and everything important to the Democrats is wrong.
“When was the last time you stopped thinking about it politically and thought about it biblically?”
It means — like everything else — we should examine everything with Scripture, and our allegiance should not be to a political party, but to Jesus. And unity in the body of Christ is nowhere made conditional by your political affiliation.
How many times have we thought these things?
When was the last time you stopped thinking about it politically and thought about it biblically? And if it is your reflex to give a political answer, where does that show your heart is?
Are our American ideals that we are so proud of reflecting Jesus? Or are they reflecting ideas that have nothing to do with him at all? It is not all one and the same.
Will you put Jesus before everything else in your life? Or are your “small town values” secretly more important? Consider deeply and carefully, beloved.
 
Shannon Makujina is an 18-year-old blogger in the upstate of South Carolina, excitedly sharing her journey from legalism to the grace of God. Shannon writes about church abuse, religious trauma and pursuing a relationship with Jesus after growing up in fundamentalism. Find her work at shannonmakujina.org
 
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