On this edition of the Non-Partisan Evangelical Podcast, Host Paul Swearengin talks about how the political partisanship with evangelical religion is turning people away from our churches and from their faith. Good news, though, new ways of connecting to spirituality are rising up – and they’re exciting. Listen here or watch this podcast on YouTube. Please subscribe to our YouTube Channel and subscribe on your favorite podcast outlet.
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Transcription of the Podcast (transcribed by AI so 95% accurate.
[00:00:00] I getting it’s Paul hope you can hear me. Okay. I’m in my car. My son is doing physical therapy. So I thought I would take the moment to, to share today for the nonpartisan evangelical and just share some things that are on my heart and have been going on. and one of the things we’re going to talk about is why I call myself the nonpartisan evangelical.
[00:00:21] And of course, then the Christian response to Kamala Harris. Kamala Harris being named the VIP vice presidential pick for Joe Biden. So, but first let me say happy anniversary to my wife. we celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary yesterday, and some people are asking about what are we doing to celebrate?
[00:00:40] And we’re kind of a funny couple, on our fifth anniversary, we got a new couch. And so yesterday we had that couch carried out of our house and a new couch put in on our 26th wedding anniversary. So that’s our gift to each other, a couch that we can sit together on and so happy anniversary to my wife and I [00:01:00] posted today that she just changed my life in ways I never ever.
[00:01:04] Ever could have imagined so happy anniversary to my wife. Also, I want you to join our NPE Patrion community. That’s how we do our financial support for the nonpartisan evangelical. So if you liked the message, go to the website in P E podcast.com. Non-partisan evangelical NPE podcasts.com. Click on that Patrion button in the upper right corner.
[00:01:26] And subscribe. I am finally starting to record the audio of the book again. COVID kind of knocked me off of it. Cause I had people all around the house all the time. It made it tough, but I’m going to start recording the audio book again of my book. Joseph comes to town. I know it probably looks backward on the screen.
[00:01:43] Maybe. I don’t know, but that’s my novel. Joseph comes to town when the religious right goes religiously wrong. My imagination of what Jesus would say, where he in the flesh on earth today about right-wing evangelicalism. And you may enjoy reading that. so go to a [00:02:00] nonpartisan evangelical NPE podcast.com click on the Patrion button in the upper right hand corner and join us so recently.
[00:02:09] Non Partisan?And this actually happens on quite a regular basis. I have somebody say, well, Paul, you’re not very nonpartisan. Why call yourself that nonpartisan evangelical. And that’s because you just misunderstand the purpose of what I’m doing the opposite. Of nonpartisan evangelical is partisan of angelical. That’s what I’m speaking against.
[00:02:31] I’m not here to equally hit both sides of the political aisle. Like Jesus didn’t hit the Pharisees one day and the Samaritans the next, no, he said Pharisees. Religious people, good people of culture. You get your act together, you clean up your house and then you can point a finger at those other people that clean up theirs.
[00:02:51] The Pharisees were a group of religious people, very politically motivated. Their goal was to make Israel great. Again, they believe that God’s [00:03:00] purpose was for Israel. Once again, be the military and economic power of the world. And the only way that could happen is if their religious system was politically in charge of the country.
[00:03:13] And does that sound like any other religious people that you may know around? And so jesus’ point wasn’t to say, Pharisees, you do this wrong Samaritans, you do this wrong tax collectors, you do this wrong prostitutes. This is where your bad wine beavers. This is where your bad, no, on a daily basis, he stood up and said that religious system of those religious people has to change.
[00:03:35] And it’s wrong and that’s my job. That’s what I feel like God has for me to do, to, to come and say, evangelical, here’s a mirror. Does your political agenda look like the life that Jesus led when he was on earth? And does that matter? Should we care if what we’re doing politically doesn’t seem to line up with the way Jesus lived his life.
[00:03:58] I actually think it does. [00:04:00] I think it’s the most important thing we need to be comparing ourselves to, but as I hold up that mirror, it makes some Angelicals very unhappy, very uncomfortable. And so often what they come to me with is why are you not criticizing the other side as well? And because that’s not my job, that’s not what I’m called to.
[00:04:21] I’m called to talk to our people and say, It’s just like Jesus said to the religious people in his day. If you guys don’t first humble yourself and pray and turn from your ways, things aren’t going to go well. And I think, I think that’s the message for evangelicalism in this season. Let’s examine ourselves and change our ways.
[00:04:42] Then we can start telling everybody else what they should be doing, but instead I feel like we want to be completely absolved of any responsibility. We’re always looking for ways. Yes. Maybe we’re going to be upset that we stole gum when we were 12 years, but anything that damages, culture, divisive and [00:05:00] culture, we look for ways to blame everybody else.
[00:05:03] But us, our partisanship is hurting our culture of angelical church. Not only is it hurting our culture, it’s hurting our voice. There’s this amazing story in the book of Isaiah in the Bible where Isaiah sees God on his throne in heaven, whether he really was there, it was his imagination. I don’t know.
[00:05:25] It’s just an incredible story. And he saw God in the end, this God of the university and all this splendor. And he said, Oh fuck crap. my son, the stuff that I’m bringing into this is pretty ugly in comparison to this. Amazing picture I’m seeing. And that’s what I want to do to evangelicalism today is show you this picture of who God is and his relationship with humanity.
[00:05:50] And for us to say, Ooh, we may be bringing some stuff into this relationship that we’re not supposed to bring. And the thing about Isaiah and that story that was great [00:06:00] is that when Isaiah realized he had brought some of this ugliness into that relationship, The Bible says fire from heaven hit him, that he had this transformational experience where he let go of his stuff.
[00:06:15] And he said, I’m all in to be the way God wants me to be. And once he did that, then he was qualified to speak. For God in the story. And I think the evangelical church, if we were willing to go through that transformation, look in the mirror and say, what are we bringing into our relationship with God as shown by the personification of jesus’ life on the earth.
[00:06:39] And we’re willing to be honest about that and own it and repent of it. As it says in second Chronicles, seven 14, if God’s people will humble themselves. Pray seek God’s face, seek his ways and turn from our own ways, which the Bible calls wicked ways. Then our land can be healed, [00:07:00] not if we get the prostitutes and the tax collectors of the Samaritans to change.
[00:07:04] Not if we get to those people that we see as centers to change, will America be healed? No. When we repent of our mindset. Then it can be changed. So that’s the mirror I’m trying to hold up. And if I spend a lot of time, well, okay. Let me tell you what’s wrong with the Democrats and Joe Biden and Campbell Harris, then the people just do like they did in the book of Amos.
[00:07:26] Yeah. Go get them. Go get them. Yes. We’re with you. Those sons of bitches. Let’s get ’em and. That gives us freedom from our own sin. That’s why I have people posting on my page today. The term racist that’s, that’s the evil one today that, that black lives matter. They’re the evil ones today because it gives us freedom to give ourselves permission to not take responsibility for what’s happening in culture.
[00:07:52] And that’s the mirror I’m trying to hold up because ultimately when we see. God’s mercy and his [00:08:00] glory and his splendor and heaven that should make us say, Ooh, I’m bringing some things into this relationship that aren’t good. And I’m going to examine that and get it out. But, but we’re so opposed to doing that right now, because we’ve been under the influence of this mindset of law and order of religious partisanship of Republican’s going to save best of a strong presidential man raising up to be our Messiah to save us that we no longer are willing.
[00:08:26] To hear any input outside of that bubble, because now we have schools that teach us that churches that teach us that media that teaches that even our own storage, we’ve created our own subculture that will never allow us to encounter anybody different than that. So, so I’m trying to be the one person inside the evangelical bubble that makes you encounter something different.
[00:08:50] So when you say, well, why aren’t you saying bad things about both sides? I’m just. Trying to be a mirror to partisan Evan jealous, [00:09:00] because I think it’s just, people inside the church by saying, you have to be angry about this, this, this, and this, that if you’re not to the extreme of wanting to criminalize women who are seeking abortion, then your not godly.
[00:09:15] You’re not quite on the right side. This, if you’re not extreme in your stance on transgender in military, which I heard. One prominent Christian writer saying that’s one of the reasons America is falling apart. I think those are things that God is way less worried about than we are. What he’s more worried about are the two commandments Jesus gave us.
[00:09:38] It was love. God love your neighbor as yourself and Jesus said, and in that are contained Oh, of the law of the prophets. He didn’t say love, God, love your neighbor as yourself and hate this list of sin.
[00:09:56] If we start to build relationship with [00:10:00] people that we previously has called evil, maybe they’ll want to start hearing our reasoning of what we’re trying to do, but right now, all they hear from the church is that we hate them. And we’re saying, no, we don’t hate them. Love the sinner. Hate the sin that I’m talking to people out there in the world every day.
[00:10:20] And what they hear from you evangelicalism is we hate you passionately. That may not be our heart. And that may not be what we want our message to be, but ever Angelicals what the world is hearing from us right now is we are angry. We are divisive. We want to win. We want political power. And thus, because of that, we hate anybody that comes against that.
[00:10:45] Don’t believe me, that that’s our message here. Here’s a post from a Christian on Facebook yesterday. I’m just going to read it straight out. It says some things that probably, I wish it didn’t, but this was about Kamala Harris [00:11:00] as Joe Biden’s VP pick. It says, was anyone surprised that Joe Biden’s pick for VP was Kamala Harris?
[00:11:07] I don’t get this democratic. American’s wanted him to pick a black female and Camela touts herself as a black person, but her father is Jamaican and her mother is Indian. So how on earth are you the democratic party, allowing her to pass herself off as black? Why on earth are you guys embracing her as a black female when she is not.
[00:11:30] Right off the bat. My first question is why does that matter to you? Black lives matter? Hasn’t mattered to this point. All of a sudden it’s a big issue. Come on. What would Jesus say about that? What did he say to the Pharisees? When they brought a faint self-righteousness talks about her privilege, talks about an accusation of her having an affair.
[00:11:55] With a man she dated many years ago,
[00:12:02] [00:12:00] I have Angelicals. This is what the world is seeing from us. Not a message of an awesome God sitting high on a temple that when we get in his presence and love him, it starts to change us and transform us and make us better. What we’re hearing is you’re not good enough for God. You’re not good enough for us.
[00:12:19] You’re not following our political agenda. And therefore we hate you. That’s what they’re hearing from us and inside the church, people are hearing, I have to adhere to that, or I’m not quite as Christian as my friends around me. And what spurs me on from day to day is the nonpartisan evangelical is like private message.
[00:12:44] I got yesterday from a young man who said. My dad and I have really been going back and forth on things. And the young man said, I read your book, Paul Joseph comes down, let me do the plug. Joseph comes down. He said, I read your book. I’ve been listening to your [00:13:00] podcast, reading your blogs on NP podcast.com.
[00:13:03] He said, I’m not, not ready to agree with everything yet, but I’m intrigued. I appreciate you giving me the permission to think differently than my dad and the church that I grew up in. And I responded with man, if you told me you agreed with everything, I said, I would say, you’re lying. That’s not good. But the fact that you’re thinking differently, I give you permission to do that.
[00:13:33] Latisha who sent me the message the other day and said, my dad was a brilliant man that had a chance to go to college in Mexico on a medical scholarship, but he wanted to come to America. Because he’d just heard such great things. And he came with $50 in his pocket and was treated horribly. He never imagined the subhuman treatment.
[00:13:54] He would get in coming to the United States. And she said he did a great job of [00:14:00] making a way for her, for her family.
[00:14:05] But she said in the churches, they went to, they were treated as second class human beings. We have to say, no, this can’t happen anymore.
[00:14:17] I wrote a blog this week. I want you to check out and I’ll wrap up with this.
[00:14:23] Jesus was saying to the Pharisees, you have to clean up your act or something bad is coming. He said, if you can’t clean up your act, you’re like that fig tree with no fruit over there. And you’re going to be cut off at the roots and thrown in the fire. And then as time went on and he saw that lack of repentance happening one day, they were walking by the temple and the disciples said, wow, look at these buildings.
[00:14:45] Aren’t these amazing haven’t we done an incredible thing. And Jesus said, you know what, not one stone of that thing is going to stand on the other. He said, Pharisees, if you religious guys, don’t get your act cleaned up. Not those [00:15:00] Samaritans, not those tax collectors, not those prostitutes, not those wine Bevers, not those foreigners.
[00:15:05] You, if you don’t get your act cleaned up, your religious and, and, and governmental system is going to be overturned. And sure enough later he said not one stone of that. Thing’s going to stand on another and in 80, 70, that’s exactly what happened. Israel, its entire religious, and, and a governmental system was overturned and that temple completely destroyed.
[00:15:31] And I think. He’s asking me to say to evangelicalism today, if we’re not willing to clean up our side of the street, not those liberals, not those Democrats, not those black lives matter leaders. Not those we call socialists, not those we call baby killers, baby murderers, but us, if we’re not willing to clean up our side of the street, then we’re like that fig tree not bearing fruit, that just should be cut off at its roots and thrown into the fire.
[00:15:58] And I believe [00:16:00] if you read my blog yet. It’s it’s gosh, I can’t remember the name now. I should have had it in front of me, but it’s it says evangelicalism is, is sick and may not recover. And something new is coming. I see a new type of community built around a search for that glorious God coming together where it’s not about getting together in a building on a Sunday and then fighting like crazy.
[00:16:24] If we’re ever told we can’t do that in the middle of a pandemic, but it’s going to be about authentic love for humanity and for God and for the earth and for our city and communities. And if evangelicalism isn’t willing to repent and turn to that. Then it’ll be like that fig tree that just needs to be thrown on the scrap heap and we’ll do the new thing that God has for the new season.
[00:16:46] And I think the new thing is amazing from the search for reality of a creator in the universe that I hear from millennials is, is, is awesome. I get so excited when I hear them talk about it and it’s [00:17:00] nothing like their parents evangelicalism and their parents get so terrified of that. Because we want our way to be right.
[00:17:08] Cause we’ve needed it to be right for so long, but I’m telling you the new thing that God is going to raise up as this old system is overturned, is going to be great. So why would I spend a lot of time trying to be both sides when I’m looking at what can come with our repentance and transformation?
[00:17:31] That’s the stuff I’m going to call out. And sometimes that’s going to feel like criticism of evangelical churches and of my, of angelical friends. And I have to say, so be it. I cannot help you with that. I cannot fix that for you. This evangelicalism podcast I watched the other day where they said, yeah, it’s it’s it’s acceptance.
[00:17:54] Yeah. Homosexuality. That’s the problem in the church. It’s that we’re [00:18:00] getting light on sin is the problem in the church. Let me promise you evangelicalism, you are not soft gun sin. Talk to the rest of the world and see what our messages we’re not known for grace and mercy and an amazing God and a self sacrificing Jesus that gave himself for us.
[00:18:17] We’re known for the things we hate and are against and are telling them they’re horrible because of them. And that list used to be abortion and gay marriage. But now that list is become taxes and transgender and military, and who goes to what bathroom and whether we wear a mask or not, we’ve had it all whole new list of rules onto this thing.
[00:18:40] And that’s when Jesus says you’re like that fig tree not bearing any fruit over there. We’re just going to have to get rid of that and plant something new. That’s what I see in evangelicalism today. And that’s what I’m calling us to. All right. Love you guys. So that’s why I’m the nonpartisan evangelical.
[00:18:59] That doesn’t [00:19:00] mean I’m gonna, I’m going to speak ill of Joe Biden this day and Donald Trump tomorrow. I’m not against Donald Trump or Joe Biden, to be honest with you, I’m against the spirit of evangelicalism that says you have to support everything Donald Trump does. You can say, Oh, he makes me a little uncomfortable there, but yeah.
[00:19:19] No, the, the going mindset is you have to support him all the way. That’s the mindset I’m against. And I was against it way before Donald Trump ever started running for president. This has been growing for a long time in us, and that’s why it’s so hard to get out. So I understand why we’re so married to it, why we’re so battling for it, but let me be a mirror and say, does this look like Jesus?
[00:19:44] Is this something Isaiah would take into the throne room of heaven and say, Oh my gosh, I’ve got to get rid of this because this looks really ugly in light of what I see in God,
[00:19:57] we’ve come to think. Christianity [00:20:00] means I do stand for these conservative political values. And when we compare that stance to who Jesus was, who he sat with. Okay, I’ll finish with one more story. I got to stop. This is getting too long, but I loved this, this exchange I had with somebody the other day. Do you understand that when Jesus went to lunch with Zach Kius, that was a total violation of cultural protocol.
[00:20:29] He was a rabbi giving honor to a tax collector. We think, Oh wow. You went and sat with the tax collector. That’s bad. No, it was a complete degradation of who he was as a rabbi. He was giving up his entire reputation to the good community of Jerusalem. Him going to Zacchaeus his house for lunch was an endorsement of who’s.
[00:20:55] He is what, and then to come out of [00:21:00] that lunch and say, This guy’s a son of Abraham. I promise you if Jesus were on earth today, he would be sitting with people that we, as good as Angelicals are convinced he should not be sitting with. We would bring the same accusations. I get on my Facebook page on a regular basis.
[00:21:22] We would say, Jesus, you shouldn’t be standing with black lives matter. They’re Marxist and against the traditional family, which I get that. Statement word for word on a regular basis. And that may be true and Jesus would still sit with them and it would make us so angry because a, he would want to show honor first before asking people to change.
[00:21:45] Second, he would want to push the buttons of the religious people, so they would check their hearts in the mirror. That’s my goal. Let me be a mirror is the way we’re living. Exemplary of the [00:22:00] way Christ lived or have we gotten off a little bit? Okay. I gotta go. I’ve gone too long. Love you guys love to hear your comments, your private messages.
[00:22:08] Thank you for all of you who have been messaging me recent. I’m feeling a lot of momentum on a lot of people saying, Hey, I’m not going to comment on your page because I’m afraid to, but I want you to know that I read everything and it means so much to me, that means the world to me to hear that because I know you’re out there.
[00:22:24] Evangelicals. I love the evangelical church. It’s been my life. I’ve given everything to it, but I want to go where God is going into season. Not where the church is going. I think something new is rising up and it’s amazing. And if we stop our fight, we’ll be able to see what he’s doing in the season. So that’s what I’m doing.
[00:22:47] I’m just laying down my old stuff and saying, Jesus, I want to see what you’re doing today. Not what you were doing in 1972 with Richard Nixon’s law and order platform. I don’t want to see back, come back. [00:23:00] I want to go where the newest today. That means we’re going to have to sit with people that we haven’t sat with before.
[00:23:06] We’re going to have to be accepting of people walking into our churches that don’t look like we do. Don’t have the same political beliefs that we do, and we’re going to have to be ready to love and accept them because in acts chapter two, that’s what the first church did. And out of it, people loved what was happening and God added to their number daily.
[00:23:26] Okay. I’m ranting on. Love you guys. Talk to you later. Bye. Bye.