Resources for Christians Navigating Political & Theological Divides
Compiled by Andrew Tsou and Dean Borgman
We live in polarizing times—but we’re not the first. Many time-tested kingdom principles about how to engage with others in political matters are already recorded in insightful Christian books and resources.
On November 9, 2018, the Emmanuel Gospel Center held its first Long View Session—a new series of gatherings where seasoned, visionary ministry thinkers discuss matters crucial to the future of urban ministry and Christian engagement in society. At the inaugural session, Professor Dean Borgman discussed Christians’ call to engage in political conversation amidst explosive and frayed emotions in our nation, state, and communities, and he offered tips and resources to light the way.
Long View Session participants also had the opportunity to share ways that they’re already engaging—well, poorly, or not at all—with friends and family on issues of political relevance.
“Moving out to do something has to have a deeply spiritual basis,” Prof. Borgman cautioned. For biblical principles on how to engage well about politically-charged issues when talking to friends, family, and people on the other side of political divides, check out Dean’s recommended resources below.
“What should the role of Christians in politics be? More people than ever are asking that question. Christians cannot pretend they can simply transcend politics…. Those who simply avoid all political discussions and engagement are essentially casting a vote for the status quo.” - Pastor Tim Keller
Evangelicals on Public Policy Issues: Sustaining a Respectful Political Conversation by Harold Heie (2014)
“…One of my primary proposals for a “Way Forward” beyond the debacle of current American Politics that emerged from my recent eCircle on “Reforming American Politics” is that politicians and their supporters need to ‘develop personal relationships of mutual understanding and trust by listening to and talking respectfully with those who disagree with them’. …To develop such a personal relationship is to become a friend.” - Harold Heie
Obery Hendricks is an ordained Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, a former Wall Street Investment executive, and a scholar, professor, and author also of Living Water and The Universe Bends Toward Justice: Radical Reflections on the Bible, the Church, and the Body Politic (2011).
God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It by Jim Wallis (2006)
God’s Politics covers the taboos of talking about religion and politics, and how spiritual values impact international relations, economic justice, social issues, and social change.
The Politics of Jesus by James H. Yoder (1994)
“Tradition has painted a portrait of a Savior aloof from governmental concerns and whose teachings point to an apolitical life for his disciples….Such a picture of Jesus is far from accurate,” argues John Howard Yoder.
Yoder gives us a picture of a political Jesus, and offers a polemic for Anabaptist pacifism.
Other Movements, Organizations & Resources
Civilitas, Doug Birdsall
Civilitas represents a foundational commitment to strengthen the influence of the Bible and the role of the Church as a means of bringing healing and cohesion to our fragmenting society.
Civil conversations will work to change the tone of our society by supplanting vitriolic public discourse with respectful listening, constructive exchange, and positive partnerships.
Revive Civility, from the National Institute for Civil Discourse: To Restore and Call for Civility in our Democracy
Integrated research, practice and policy to support and engage:
Elected officials who are capable of working to solve the big issues facing our country.
A public that demands civil discourse as well as government that works in the best interests of the country as a whole.
A media that informs citizens in a fair and responsible way.
National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) is committed to the success of all legislators and staff. Its mission is to:
Improve the quality and effectiveness of state legislatures.
Promote policy innovation and communication among state legislatures.
Ensure state legislatures a strong, cohesive voice in the federal system.