Same with political elections. The only way to get elected, it seems, is to sling mud. It doesn't matter what kind or how old it is (or even if it's true or not), mud is the weapon of choice. Most politicians feel they only rise to the top by pushing their opponent down. Most of the country is sick of it, yet it continues because it seems to work. Even candidates who run a "clean campaign" eventually either get smeared with dirt or respond with a return mud volley. It gets depressing to watch. Even with the outcry against it, many voters with a preference even resort to it. It's easy to put someone down. Much easier than singing the praises of your own candidate.
I shared this paragraph with the congregation this morning. It's from a comic named Brad Stine in his book, Being a Christian Without Being an Idiot. Cool title, huh? But he did a fine job of articulating many of the things I've been trying to say for quite a while.
Still I'm looking for the rise of the neo-Christian in this country. Educated in his faith, desperate for God, and daily sacrificing his flesh for the sake of the lost by being real, admitting his weaknesses; yet never ceasing from moving forward in the quest, not to ever demean other religions or ideologies, but simply, by education, reason, and practice to lift up the name of Christianity.
My correction would be that we are to lift up the name of Christ, but aside from that Stine hit it on the head. Instead of marching to the tune of Onward, Christian Soldiers all the time, we as Christians need to lift up Jesus Christ by the way we live our lives. Sure, it's easier to take potshots at atheists and shoot flames at Hindus and talk down the Moslems and badmouth the Humanists, but our concern should be lifting high the cross of Christ. There is nothing wrong with debating or even calling a sin a sin. But tearing down in not the goal. The goal is presenting, living, learning, experiencing, and demonstrating the love of Jesus.
Jesus dealt with people, not with condemnation (except for the corrupt religious leaders) but with compassion, forgiveness and instruction to "Go and sin no more." My prayer that is all that I do -- explaining Christian doctrine, dealing with people I meet, playing with the kids, preaching His word and whatever else I do during the day -- will all be done in the spirit of lifting up Christ, and not pushing down others. It is also my prayer for all Christians world-wide.