I had a conversation with a few days ago that has really stuck with me since then. The conversation was with someone who regularly reads my blog, but who I see very infrequently. She said that through reading my blog she discovered that I’m a pretty radical guy, a conclusion she presumably drew from what I write about nonviolence. I would contend that opposing violence is not something that radicals do, it is something that Bible-believing Christians do, but at the same time I also firmly believe that Christians are called be be radical people. So in that sense perhaps she is right to call me radical.
As the conversation continued this person, who I greatly appreciate and respect, she suggested a topic that I write about. She suggested that I write about what Christians should do about the __________ agenda that is in schools and is going to make it’s way into the Church. I told this person that was not a subject I was especially interested in writing about because it is so divisive and there is so little mature, biblical public discourse on the subject. In short, I’m just not interested in making enemies by writing about the topic.
But as I walked away from that conversation I was thinking about her question, “What do we do about the __________ agenda?” And I wanted to post a brief answer here in hopes that it might be helpful to some of you. My answer, an answer that can apply to how Christians confront any alternative “agenda”, is:
We start by not calling them an agenda. When I hear someone tell me that I am a part of a particular “agenda”, I instantly know that they don’t want to love me, they don’t want to know me, and they don’t want to understand me. I do know that they want to fight against me. “Agenda” is a worldly word, it is not a Christian word. “Agenda” is a word for people like Keith Olbermann and Glen Beck to throw around as they continue to poison their followers. It is not a Christian word. Christians don’t see people as part of an agenda. Christians see people as broken image bearers of God. Christians don’t fight against agendas. Christians love people. Christians don’t fight for their legal rights, they don’t file lawsuits against the ACLU, or American Atheists, or other such groups, they don’t enforce their morality through legislation. They love. They tell the truth. They proclaim the gospel with their words. And they live by radical gospel values: love, generosity, selflessness, nonviolence, hopefulness, compassion. In a sense Christians do “fight”, but they fight by living lives of radical love that expose the silliness and futility of the vengefulness of much of our world. Too often Christians instead choose to fight like the world, using words of derision like “agenda”, and “right-wing”, and “left-wing”, when our call is to show people Jesus by our lives, and to invite them into the Kingdom of God where they to can experience the forgiveness we have experienced and learn to grow in these gospel values. I am not saying that we don’t name evil, and I am not saying that we affirm every opinion, philosophy, ideology, or lifestyle, but I am saying we remember that we serve a God who promoted his cause not be conquering, not by filing a lawsuit, but by dying on a wooden cross at the hands of his image bearers. We stop agendas by taking that word out of our vocabulary.