Jan 112013 12 Responses

Why the President Won’t (and probably Shouldn’t) Listen to Christians

In the span of a week, Louie Giglio has accepted and declined (apparently with White House encouragement) an invitation to pray at the President’s Inauguration. Several excellent pieces have been written about the social ramifications of this de-invitation (see Gabe Lyons or Ed Stetzer or Al Mohler).

While this week has revealed much about culture, it also reveals much about the state of the church and particularly its influence in American society.

Why would a 900 person petition and a few bloggers have more influence than 60,000 students at the Passion conference (which raised $3.5 million to end modern day slavery) and millions of evangelicals who would applaud Louie Giglio praying for our President?

Imagine if every day on your way to work you passed two people on the side of the road holding signs directed at you.

The first person was mostly encouraging. Every day his sign said “have a great day” or “good luck.” On occasion he might say “be careful” or “slow down,” but no matter the situation he was trying to make your day better.

The second person was always degrading. Every day he said, “You are ugly” or “I hate you” or “You are stupid.” No matter what the circumstance, the second person was against you.

If, while driving to work this morning, you passed the second guy and his sign said, “Stop, you’ve made a big mistake,” what would be your response? You would keep on going, because no matter what you did, the second guy is against you. This sign would be nothing different.

If, while driving to work this morning, you passed the first guy and his sign said, “Stop, you’ve made a big mistake,” what would you do? You would slam on your brakes and ask what you have done wrong.

Two people, holding the same sign, but one you ignore and the other you hear. What’s the difference? One has proven himself for you and the other has proven himself against you. You only listen to those you trust are for you.

Which person has the church been to President Obama?

The church is currently holding up a sign to the President saying “Stop, you’ve made a big mistake” regarding a violation of religious freedom in the healthcare law and, now, with the censoring of an evangelical pastor because of his traditional view of marriage and sex. We are warning the President of his dangerous decisions, but he is not listening because we haven’t proven ourselves for him over the past 4 years.

We haven’t admired his love for his wife and children. We haven’t encouraged his faith. We haven’t applauded the things we agree with. Having failed to stand with him when he has been right, we have no voice to persuade him when he is wrong.

If we do not applaud when someone does right, we have no right to boo them when they do wrong.

Far too many Christians have spent the last four years booing, so that when we boo now, it is not even noticed.

If I were the President, I would only take advice from those who have proven themselves to be for me. I wouldn’t listen to those who always flatter me and I wouldn’t listen to those who always curse me. I would find a true friend who is always wiling to tell me the truth and always willing to tell that truth within the context of love.

Sadly the church has not been that type of friend to the President and, therefore, we have lost our voice.

Have you lost influence with a spouse, a friend, a child, etc? Ask yourself, have I proven myself to be for them? Focus first on building credibility before ever worrying about correcting conduct.



12 Responses to Why the President Won’t (and probably Shouldn’t) Listen to Christians
  1. Whitney Reply

    Thank you for writing these blogs. I appreciate your wisdom and your perspective! I have enjoyed reading them!

    • Kevin Reply

      Thanks Whit.

  2. Jflake Reply

    Appreciate your consistency of thought KT.

  3. Ben Brockway Reply

    We seem hopelessly polarized. It seems like everyone has lost all objectivity. I’m pretty conservative and even I’m sick of the retoric coming from the right. We have gotten to the point where we just sound foolish.

  4. Jon Reply

    Good article.

    • Kevin Reply

      Thank you Jon.

  5. Jenny Reply

    Kevin, by his own mouth Obama has says he is a Christian. Therefore, he is as responsible before God for studying to show himself approved as I am or as you are. The stance his inaugural committee has taken is that a man who stands on the authority of God’s Word should not be allowed to pray at his inauguration.
    My personal stance is “that by their fruit you shall know them”. Therefore I have cause to question in my mind the validity of his salvation. However, regardless of that, the Jesus of the Bible never backed away from bold confrontation with the “religious” leaders of his day. They didn’t care for truth. They hated truth. But Jesus never sacrificed truth to accommodate them. I think it is high time Christians learn to do the same thing. Jesus wasn’t ugly—He was a friend to sinners always. And in this postmodern culture of 2013, the church needs men and women who will “contend earnestly for the faith” and not “dance” with the world. We are in a warfare—we aren’t at a party!

    • Kevin Reply

      In no way do I excuse the President’s responsibility. Since the three authors I linked to had done a good job stating my thoughts (as well as my previous facebook/twitter comments) I wanted to look at the issue from a different perspective. No doubt Jesus never backed down from the religious leaders, but he did encourage those who were uncertain about their relationship with God. I would see the President more in the second category than the former. I would see him more as a seeker than a Pharisee. Either way, the point remains the same–if someone has applauded the President for when he has done well, they have the credibility to boo him now. So have we applauded him? Did we laud his National Prayer Breakfast speech? Did we ‘amen’ when he gave his personal testimony for Christ? Do we actually pray for him? Did we applaud him in his compassion of Hurricane Sandy? Sadly, most have played politics for 4 years instead of encouraging that which is right and critiquing that which is wrong. I’ve hammered the President on this decision and I have no apologies for doing so. However, I think we can do better in being vocal on those issues where we agree with him.

  6. Chris Reply

    Kevin, I completely with your blog post! It is only reasonable that a person would not trust someone who constantly vilifies them, and never encourages them. I think you’ve also hit the nail on the head as to one of the reasons why Christianity has not been a significant influence in this country for some time (there are other reasons, of course, but this is a big one from an individual’s emotional standpoint). The way our current president has been vilified right out of the gate has really saddened me. Of course, every political figure has points which various groups can disagree with, but the personal attacks from otherwise “loving” Christians have sickened me at times. Modern day politicians are more like the Ceasars of ancient Rome than they are the Pharisees, though. The Pharisees would be more equivalent to the modern day pastors and priests. Both are in positions of power, and both need truth spoken to them.

    From your last comment: >>”I’ve hammered the President on this decision and I have no apologies for doing so.”

    How have you “hammered” him?

    • Kevin Reply

      Thanks Chris.

      I have been pretty vocal on Twitter about some of the President’s choices.

      My hope, however, is to always applaud louder than I boo.

      Thanks for reading.

  7. Tara Reply

    Wow! So many ways to apply this word to everyday life and relationships. Thank you for sharing.

  8. [...] Why the President Won’t (and probably shouldn’t) Listen to Christians [...]... kevinathompson.com/how-the-gay-rights-movement-has-been-good-and-bad

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