an apology to democrats (and Jesus)

Dear Democrats (and Jesus),

I don’t how else to do this but to just swallow my pride, jump in, and start saying I’m sorry for stuff. I think it would be a lot easier if I didn’t have 35 years of judgmentalism and arrogance under my belt, but I guess it beats 65 or 75 years, right?

For the record, these aren’t thoughts that just hit me this morning or anything. God’s been working on my heart about this for a long time, but really in the past three years I’d say. And this past year most of all.

Am I stalling…? Here we go.

My Democrat friends, I’m sorry for assuming all this time that God was a Republican. I’m sorry for thinking that if Jesus were walking the earth today he’d vote Republican hands-down, no questions asked.

I’m sorry for thinking that God mostly lives in America and that we are the center of the universe and that this is where you should be if you want to experience what it’s like for God to bless a nation that does things right.

I’m sorry for being so narrowly focused on homosexuality and how wrong it is and abortion and how wrong it is, to the exclusion of many, many other issues. (The ones the Bible says over and over and over again that God actually cares about most.)

I’m sorry for mistaking my self-righteousness for righteousness. I’m sorry for labeling people who care about the poor and “social justice” as “liberal atheists” or worse. I’m sorry for blissfully ignoring the 2000+ verses in the Bible that talk about God’s huge, huge, HUGE heart for the poor and oppressed and command me to be kind and merciful and giving and do all I can to bring them justice.

I’m sorry for saying that as long as I “have an eternal mindset,” then it doesn’t matter two hoots what I do to the beautiful earth God created. It’s all going to be destroyed any minute anyway. Might as well live it up and waste, waste, waste!

I’m sorry for demanding that women not have abortions but then doing jack squat for them in their deepest hour of need.

I’m sorry for defending George W. Bush (and John McCain and Sarah Palin) no matter what they do or say, because as long as they’re going to church on Sunday and believe Jesus is the way to heaven, then I know I’m on the right train, so get out of my way.

I’m sorry for thinking that sitting at my kitchen table and reading my Bible and praying for two hours makes me more holy than someone who is holding and rocking an orphan in Africa dying of AIDS.

I’m sorry for ever thinking that AIDS is a “gay people’s problem.”

I’m sorry for my condescending, plank-in-my-eye attitude when this whole time my gospel had a big, fat, humongous, gaping hole in it.

I’m sorry for thinking that “loving people” is code for “watering down the gospel” when, in fact, I’m the one who’s been watering down the gospel this whole time.

I’m sorry for thinking that “getting people to heaven” is all that matters, and that their physical needs here on earth aren’t that big a deal. I’m sorry for putting so much stock in someone praying a carefully-worded prayer that’s not even in the Bible and ignoring the parts where it explains what it really means to be a follower of Jesus and surrendered to him.

I’m sorry for explaining away passages like Matthew  25:31-46 because I don’t like the thought of God keeping me out of heaven just because I didn’t help the poor.

I could go on for pages, so I’m putting the rest in a book.

Please know, my Democrat friends, that I’m not speaking for all Republicans. They aren’t all as narrow-minded and mis-representative of the gospel as I’ve been. There are some wonderful, wonderful people out there who fly the elephant flag.

And please know, my Democrat friends, that I’m not jumping ship, switching parties, riding the donkey into town. In fact, I don’t know that I want to align myself with a particular party ever again. I’m more concerned with God’s politics these days than anything.

And I know now that many of you are too. It wasn’t too terribly long ago that I seriously questioned how Democrats who called themselves Christians could sleep at night.

And last thing, my Democrat friends who don’t share my faith. I apologize with all my heart for turning you off when it comes to Jesus. If you’re offended by what he does/says in the Bible, that’s one thing, and I can’t do anything about that. But if you’ve been offended by me because I’ve been acting the exact opposite (prideful, Pharisaical, hypocritical) of how Jesus would act but calling myself his follower, then may I humbly ask your forgiveness?

I believe with everything in me that we are all sinners and that Jesus is our only hope for reconciliation to God and eternal life in heaven. I’m not throwing Jesus or God’s Word out with the bathwater.

But the filthy, stinking bathwater has to go. I’m done clinging to a party line and slapping God’s seal of approval on it without his permission. I pledge allegiance to my Savior. Period.

Forgive me?

Marla

57 thoughts on “an apology to democrats (and Jesus)

  1. Ketutar

    Dear Marla 🙂

    Thank you. Apology accepted with grateful heart 🙂

    I offer you a counter-apology.
    I am sorry for expressing opinions that put all the Republicans or Christians or Americans in one big basket of bad apples, even when that is not my sincere opinion. I’m sorry for my part of making people in those groups feel threatened, misunderstood, not accepted, mocked and/or ridiculed, which – of course – just makes things worse.
    I am fully aware of that good heart has no political opinion, religion, sexual orientation, skin color, gender, etc. There are good people in every denomination, every group of identification, every part of the world, and there are bad people – and most often the good and bad are the same people. We are all a mix of good and bad, all have good qualities and bad.

    Thank you. Thank you for the courage to post this. I am full of admiration to you 🙂
    May God bless you and your loved ones, and may your words reach those who are like you were.

  2. Vincent Nattress

    Maria, What is truly amazing in ANY person is to be able to change ones mind. Congratulations for that.

    I am an atheist, raised Catholic, but now lacking any belief. But what really frustrates me about the right – and the farther right the worst it seems to be – is how they do not seem to care what Jesus said. I have not faith, but I am down with what Jesus is quoted as having said. Why don’t Christians simply do what Jesus told them? How much better would the world be? It boggles my mind.

    Here I sit, an atheist with two little girls my wife and I are raising, and I feel like we are closer to raising them with “Christian” values simply by virtue of the fact that we teach them to be kind, compassionate, honest, to love all people, not to discriminate against any people, and to stand up for those who have less.

    I ask this question in all seriousness, and if you can answer it, I would really like to know the answer: How can the “conservatives” adopt policies that promote waste of natural resources, discrimination against sexual minorities, and huge reductions is care to those in our society that need it most – the poor, the sick, the elderly and children – and still consider themselves followers of Jesus?

    Thank you for your time.

    1. Marla Taviano

      Thanks for stopping by, Vincent. And for your kind words. And your question? Is the same one I’ve been asking over and over again lately. I don’t have an answer, and I’m so, so sorry. I’ve loved Jesus my whole life, but I’ve only recently started really, truly following him.

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  6. Jeri

    Marla, congratulations, for you have just quoted the democrat regime of tolerance. It’s a very difficult issue for many Christians. It all sounds so right and good to respect those who are different and not judge them. But, tolerance is what has gotten us into the mess we are in especially in our schools. Christians have stayed out of politics for the wrong reasons. We didn’t want to get too close to the wicked politicians and catch their nasty ways. We became soft and in the meantime we became P.C. and tolerant of our immoral society. Why? Because we are human and we wanted to fit in; we wanted to be popular. So we decided to accept abortion on the premise that no woman should be forced to have a baby because of rape. No woman should be forced to have a back alley abortion, so make it legal so it is safer. The woman’s movement from the 60’s has even unashamedly admitted they lied about the numbers of women having back alley abortions and dying from the barbaric procedure. We also decided to accept homosexuality because we became convinced we should show love to all whom God loves and to accept those who are different. We have dismissed the story of Sodom and Gomorra in the Bible or made it into a story of lack of obedience, not perverted sex acts. As Christians, we have failed to know enough about the Bible, about God, and about our own faith and we have allowed the liberal side to convince us our God is only about love and good and we should be the same and accept all these perversions they support. God is love, but He is also the Creator of everything and He judges with true justice. There is enough proof in history to indicate that God gave this country to His people who where followers of Jesus so they could live in more freedom then any place in the world at that time. This history is being distorted more and more and not even taught in our schools or churches anymore. God gave America freedom and wealth and we shared that wealth with the world, and still do. Many, many churches still have food banks, food baskets, help for the poor with utilities and expenses. You just don’t hear about their contributions because churches have been doing these kind of things since America began and they don’t brag about the good they do.
    This message is really not just to the democrats because liberals are in both parties. People who want to destroy the history of how this country started and want to destroy a government that has worked successfully longer than any government in the history of the world, are in all the political parties. Rather, this message is to Christians. We need to wake up and see things for what they really are. We need to seek truth from our God instead of from man. We need to see right for right and wrong for wrong. We need to put on the full armor of God and be ready to stand strong. Marla, you apologized for blindly listening to Bush, McCain and Palin. Have you been blindly listening to Obama, Biden, Holden and others in the current administration? Not one of these people are perfect or right all the time. But, “know them by their fruits”, as the Bible says. The 3 Republicans named above talk of preserving this great country and it’s heritage and Constitution. The current administration talks of changing the Constitution (and has even taken steps to do so without Congress input) and they have outright lied about how this country was started. Obama wants to keep God out of the history and out of the future of this country. To me, it gets down as basic as that. Who wants to preserve America and who wants to change America to something it has never been before: weak (very little military), deeper and deeper in debt, and enlarging the numbers of people dependent on the government instead of becoming useful people and dependent on themselves. CHRISTIANS, WAKE UP! Allow God to take off the blinders of society and put on the vision of truth. Pray for guidance, pray for strength, and pray for all our leaders. They all need the same guidance we need.

  7. Susanelizabeth

    As a recovering Pharisee, I shout a hearty Amen! My self-righteousness began to crumble when I read Revolution in Missions. Then 7 beat me up some more. Then Radical charged into the rubble and kicked it around until my heart and soul ached. Literally. And it continues. It certainly is rough growing up at the young age of almost 60 yrs. And the funny thing is, this change in my heart and mind mks me feel younger and more alive than I have in yrs. And there’s hope people because today, I just happened to notice the “Food Bank” box at the Krogers store(who’s been hiding that thing all these yrs??) as I was leaving don’t ya know. So, I took my humbled little butt back into the store and purchased a lg bag of groceries and plopped it into the box as I was leaving. And I think I dropped at least 10 yrs off my life and heart.

  8. J Culligan

    Thank you. I have been seaching for years for the words to speak to my Republican friends. You have hit the nail square on the head.

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  10. Katie

    I simply wanted to thank you so much for this moving and honest piece. As a woman who considers herself a “middle-of-the-road liberal Independent”, whatever that might mean, I also came to this time in my life where I realized that what I stood for was not based on party lines, but on what I believed in my heart. I also realized that I held many biased and incorrect opinions and misunderstandings about Republicans and Christians. Luckily, I’ve met many wonderful people who call themselves both those things who I am proud to know and who showed me where my perceptions were off. If only more people of all stripes and beliefs could take your honesty and initiative, I think the world would be a much happier and loving place. Again, simply, thank you.

  11. Pam

    Amen Maria! I have the same issues with politics. We all need to ask for forgiveness when it comes to this! Our God is an awesome God and Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the light. Your heart is so pure. I want to encourage you to continue to write. Especially about this. I myself wake up every day and ask myself these questions. Just know I am right there with you sister. We as a country must pray for our political leaders that Gods will be done in all they do. And that the enemy is bound and cannot work against us. Please read Psalm 18. And Psalm 91. Thank you for your courage and your candor! Hang in there girl God will bless your socks off! Amen again and bless you.

  12. Krysten

    Have you been reading my diary??

    I have to say that stumbling across your blog today has me a little freaked out. It is simply one thing in a string of many things lately that has turned my stiff neck around one more millimeter in the direction of what I am now convinced God is trying to show me…

    He is not interested in divisiveness or labels, He is interested in loving people through those of us who claim His name. If we aren’t doing that well by plugging into His strength, nothing else will matter.

    Your honesty is so very appreciated.

    1. Marla Taviano

      God does this kind of thing to me all the time. I popped over to your blog for a minute, and I sure hope He’s not trying to get me to eat/drink more kale. 🙂

      Thanks for your kind words.

  13. David

    As a liberal atheist I’m touched by your honesty and courage. In the New Testament Jesus did talk truth to power so in that same “spirit” I think the Republican party is better for having you in it.

  14. Rebekah Gambrell

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/06/08/137031395/goshen-college-bans-national-anthem-at-sporting-events

    I am not of this world…. I love the mennonite ideal of not being part of a country…. they have fled many countries at different times because of their peaceful ways… thriftiness has always been a way a life for them… I know you are in the columbus area check out http://www.agoraministries.org/index.php/about-us/agora-christian-fellowship/

  15. Claudia

    OK…you have no idea of the impact this next read-a-long could have!!! When I first accepted Christ, my mentor/discipler made me memorize te book of James and it was absolutely transforming!!! Wish I could say that I have always lived up to the high standard it sets but I do still find verses from there popping into my head at the most opportune moments.

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  17. Melissa

    I pledge allegiance to Jesus! Amen, amen! I don’t align myself with a political party because of this exact type of judgmentalism {if that’s a word} and the potential to exalt people rather than the Gospel. Thank you for saying this as I have been at the receiving end of all types of “opinions” from fellow believers when I dare question the legitimacy of their candidate, political view, etc.
    I heart you even more now!

  18. Gaylene

    Marla,

    I don’t know you personally, but I know this could not have been easy to write; yet the freedom once written and internalized! Politics have destroyed families, churches, organizations, friendships, etc… Your ending, though, is what as Christians should be all our pledge. Thank you for sharing.

  19. Laura

    Marla, this is awesome. I realized a few years ago that I was a political moderate, and the ugly political contention within the Body of Christ grieves me terribly.

    God’s Kingdom over any earthly kingdom. Or, in your words…

    “I pledge allegiance to my Savior. Period.”

    Chill bumps, and AMEN.

  20. Anne F

    You do realize that these changes in your heart will make it eternally harder for you to vote? It’s been killing me these past few years. NO ONE will stand for all your new found belief/emphasis and so you will have to continually compromise. Being a hard-core Republican is easier because there tends to be a politician that votes just as you believe. Being a solid Jesus-type of voter…WAY HARDER!!

    I’ve been tempted to NOT vote because I hated some part of each of the politicians platforms. When it comes time to vote, feel free to call and we can weep together.

    1. Amy

      Seriously! This is my problem too. How do we decide which issues are most important and which ones we’re willing to compromise on at the voting booth? It’s sickening.

      1. Lori

        Right on ladies. It’s so easy to ignore it and not vote but that is the system we have and God knew it would be just like this and calls us to honor our leaders.
        And when you can’t trust the media, and can’t spend mega hours researching or even trying seek out a candidate to meet in person……is there value in voting without all the info?
        How do we decide???

        1. Deirdre

          my opinion?

          There is no way to have “all the info” only God has all the info. All we can do is pray for real guidance from God and then pray continually for our leaders (whether it is the guy we voted for or not) that God will make His will known to them and overwhelm them with His grace.

  21. Leigh

    Thank you for this, Marla. I forgive you:)

    This is the letter I could have written a decade ago when I began to grapple with the intersection of faith and politics. To my great surprise, I realized I was a moderate Democrat, to the chagrin of my family and many friends. I found great comfort and insight from Sojourners and Jim Wallis, especially during the Bush vs. Gore election. I don’t consider myself loyal to either party at this point, mostly because they continue to fall short no matter what they espouse. I hope that in my own corner of the world, I can be a solution to some of these problems.

  22. Gretchen

    Bless you, Marla. Love your heart & humility on this post. As a moderately conservative democrat (labels are so yesterday) I thank you. For so many years, I’ve been almost ashamed of my political ideals b/c some of my church friends would flip if they knew them–at the very least, I think they would question my faith, & some might think they needed to save me from myself. But most of them have not lived how I’ve lived, or seen what I’ve seen. And, to be fair–I’ve not walked a mile in their moccasins, either. Your letter could have come from me, w/my narrow focus as an American. I sure thank God for His grace & mercy where my selfishness has been concerned–grateful He gently convicts & mercifully forgives.

    So…your letter confirms in me the thought that it truly is Jesus I seek to follow. And for now, I’m gonna ask the Holy Spirit to make Micah 6:8 my political affiliation.

    xxxooo

  23. Danielle

    I pray, sister, that those who read your words would not be stirred in their hearts and yet fail to act accordingly. I pray that the church of God, myself and my brothers and sisters, would take seriously our call to defend the weak, care for widows and orphans, subdue the earth, and proclaim the name of Jesus until his return. I pray that we would step back from our internal battles, both within government, and within the church, and step into the fight for holiness, justice, and redemption of hearts. May our hearts long for the great and fearful day of our God, when he will return and make all things new, and he shall reign forever and ever, AMEN!

  24. Gina Hartley

    Well Marla…a post you and I finally agree on. TODAY YOU ARE MY HERO. That post said everything that more people in this world need to say. Thank you for so willingly and humbly sharing that.

  25. Laura

    AWESOME! This definitely needed to be said. Thanks for being so bold. I went through the same journey a few years ago after assuming that all Christians should be Republicans and therefore I should be on board with all Republican causes/beliefs. After actually learning more about the issues and where each party stands, I realized how wrong I was and that Jesus would probably not agree with most Republican viewpoints.

  26. Shannon Wheeler

    So many of your words echo what has been in my heart over the past year or so…. as I see Jesus more and myself more in light of who he is… Wow.

    You have a precious heart, and I’m blessed by your words and convicted by them as well.

  27. Kandi

    Oh I love this so much…not so much for caring which way people vote but b/c I’m so sick of the “righteousness” of politics on either side. I have voted Democrat since college b/c of the influence of a Christian professor that I worked for that told me that if all Christians followed the Bible and took care of people the way Jesus told us to that we would not need the social programs that the Democrats had to care so much about…but that since we did not, we had an obligation to take care of people somehow. Well, and there’s more depth to my convictions than that, but I won’t delve into it here. As I’ve matured, it seems almost impossible to settle on one party unless I select one issue that is “my issue”…and I’m just not willing to do that. And in the past few years, I’ve grown almost completely apolitical. I did an in depth one year study of Isaiah last year and a recurring theme for me was that God certainly does not need any politician to carry out his plans. He has consistently used whoever he wanted as his servant to do good or evil to accomplish the plan that He already has in place. Well, now I’m just rambling. But anyway, I loved this b/c this is the spirit that I wish we all as a body of believers had.

  28. Nora

    Smug Republicans have just about driven me away from my church. I’m not a Democrat, but the vitriol toward Dems in my church (here in the heart of the Bible Belt) has me seriously considering leaving. I wish more people would leave off the political rhetoric at the church doors and look at what God tells us; many would be surprised at how close-minded and intolerant (in a bad way–I know “tolerant” doesn’t mean what it used to mean) we can be. (And yes, I include myself in this; I went through several “card-carrying Repub” years, too.)

  29. Dean

    Everyone knows Jesus is an Independent! 🙂

    It speaks of the inadequacy of government to truly change the world when you realize a Democrat, as far left as you are right, could write a similar letter and apologize for all of the same things from a different perspective. To borrow Cal Thomas’ words, Christians should all repent of thinking the kingdom of God would arrive on Air Force One.

  30. Claudia

    You’ve been reading my mind! 😉

    I’m sorry for sitting around and letting our government meet the needs that I should be helping meet! Socialism was never meant to be a political philosophy, it was meant to be God’s children being His hands and feet in this world.

  31. Sabrina reinhart

    Beautiful! And exactly what I’ve been wrestling with lately. Apparently we’re reading all the same books and having the same “tugs” on our heart.
    Sabrina

  32. Elizabeth

    This is one more piece of writing that God is using to open my eyes to some of the flaws in my political beliefs. It’s really not about a political party at all, but about how my life lines up with Scripture.

  33. Amy

    What a beautiful and brave post, Marla!

    A few years ago, it really opened my eyes when I heard someone say that they could not entirely get behind the Republican party because they do not do enough for the poor … which does not exactly line up with the heart of Christ. Of course, then you can get into the discussion about whether or not that issue is supposed the government’s responsibility … but I digress.

    I love that you are open to whatever Christ has in mind for you … no matter which side of the aisle that puts you on. I have often thought that only Independents REALLY carefully consider the issues …because they have to.

    Also, I can’t wait to see the comments on this one. Gonna be priceless!

  34. Ali

    Wow. You’ve always known where I fall, politically speaking (slightly left, if I really had to choose), but never ever ever once did you make me feel judged. We’ve always been able to talk about issues with open hearts. And that’s only one of the many reasons why I adore you, sweet friend.

  35. Joy @ Joy In This Journey

    “I’m sorry for labeling people who care about the poor and “social justice” as “liberal atheists” or worse. I’m sorry for blissfully ignoring the 2000+ verses in the Bible that talk about God’s huge, huge, HUGE heart for the poor and oppressed and command me to be kind and merciful and giving and do all I can to bring them justice.”

    Yes. A thousand times yes.

    And also? Standing ovation.

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