#119: Can We Talk About Politics Without Killing Each Other?

If you want to usher in immediate tension into almost any social setting, then bring up a political subject and the tensions will rise. Heated debates will ignite like gasoline on a spark. Emotions intensity, things seems to get personal, anger shows up in people’s faces. Not to mention, everything seems to get negative real quick.

So what are we to do about this? Some people jump in and engage the emotional cage match. Others do not want to talk about it. Some try to say, “Can everyone just be nice to each other?”

First, we want to talk about “Where does this intense heat come from and how did we get here?” We also want to address, that for a believer who is seeking to walk healthy and whole in their relationships, what is the best way to walk through political topics and conversations? How should we position ourselves for the greatest redemptive impact? Is it even possible?

#119- Can We Talk About Politics Without Killing Each Other- [YouTube]

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Can We Talk About Politics Without Killing Each Other?

Mark:
I think that this is a great topic for us, because you, and I, have different approaches on the subject.

Melissa:
Yes. I’m more outspoken.

Mark:
Yes. You’re more, say it again.

Melissa:
Outspoken. Is that a good word?

Mark:
Well, you said it softly. “I am very outspoken.” It’s the opposite of what …

Melissa:
Well, yes. No, I am. I am outspoken. I have some strong convictions. We both have strong convictions, but I am more outward about my convictions.

Why Do People Get So Fired Up?

Mark:
Where does the emotional fire, from your opinion, and the passion, and the heat, and the “I’m going to kill you” come out? In places that you see, and the fire that you feel in yourself, where does it come from?Melissa:

Melissa:
I can speak to myself, first. I think, for me, I love justice. I love moral justice. This is for me. I love right conviction, in moral right conviction. I think that having a Christian faith in those things, they are who I am. When I am very passionate about those things, I see what is happening to our country. It doesn’t mean that I don’t love everybody. I think that people mistake that. That has been a very bad misconception, and I think that Christians have displayed a lot of hate, and anger. It doesn’t mean I don’t love, and accept, in everybody. I do my best in trying to walk out, I don’t want to sound cliché, but how Jesus was. That can sound cliché, but it is the truth.

I still have a very big part of who I am, that I want to talk about, and represent. Maybe, it doesn’t come out right sometimes, maybe it does. I am trying to figure that out, all within myself. I do feel like that sometimes we are under a bigger microscope, as Christians, on how we respond to things. I do have very liberal friends. I feel that they can get, sometimes, more of a pass on being malicious, or putting out their views, than we can. At the core of it, for me anyways, is this real fight for justice that I feel. A moral justice in my bones, that I am like, “That is wrong.”

Mark:
Don’t you think that politics serves, in a lot of ways, a lot of people in their hearts, the need for justice?

Melissa:
I do, yes.

Mark:
In the sense of we have seen wrongs, and everyone looks at society. They have certain things that they consider to be the big list of wrongs. If you were to tell everybody what is wrong with society, like specifically. Not like, “We need more God. We need to be nicer to each other.” I am talking about specifically.

Melissa:
Right.

Mark:
What are the things that you really feel are just wrong, or the injustices that you see? You have a list of five of them, they would vary. They would have a lot of overlaps. I think that is what drives then, our perception of who is going to feed the passion of what we feel upset about. Because politics, too, it involves our governmental structure. It involves the leadership. It involves the oversight of a lot of things, that we live in. We easily connect to our value system. We attach to the closest one that we think is feeding our values, what we feel is important.

Melissa:
True. We want to feel validated in that. I know if I, and I think everyone who is listening, or watching, can attest to this, when you put out a post, or you put something that is a strong conviction, and you have people that like it, there is a surge in you, and they have even tested this. The, “Oh, they agree with me.” Really, at the core of it, is having connection.

Mark:
Yes.

Melissa:
It is really having connection. I am on this whole journey right now, of being on Ancestry.com, and finding these things. You, and I, have been talking about this a lot. It is feeding this need of connection, at the next level of connection. Where do I come from? I am finding people in my generations that were evangelists, and the religious foundation, and spiritual foundation, they had. I am feeling empowered by that, just having connection in that way. I think even voicing our opinions, and having people, “I like that”, it is empowering.

Mark:
That’s right.

Melissa:
It is empowering to voice that, and then have somebody agree with you. We need that, right now.

Mark:
It creates united voices, and the more that people get around an issue, it creates a voice of movement. All it needs to do, is get some attention, and things begin to have a focus in those areas.

Melissa:
I think, too, social media has become so prominent, because we aren’t really having great relationships, in the natural. Face to face. Where we are getting together with people, and we have common ground, and we are talking about things, and encouraging each other. Now Facebook, because most of us, our schedules are crazy, or we don’t have time for those things, and we haven’t made time for them, and so now social media is our outlet to go, “Who am I going to connect to that agrees with me?”

Mark:
Correct.

Melissa:
“Where am I going to find some commonality, and common ground, with people?”

Mark:
Here is the thing I don’t like. Are you ready?

Melissa:
Yes. Go ahead. You can explain how you are, my dear. Go ahead.

Mark:
I went to a Christian school, and some of my classmates, they actually listen to the show. Some of my teachers, actually, that watch, and check out this show, you’ll relate, and connect to this. There was a lot of political forms I was a part of. There was the school president thing, that you run for. There is a debate in class. We had to do debates, in Speech class. We had to formulate a whole debate. I find that, very quickly, it turns very divisive. It comes very sided. Politics automatically, by its nature, creates sides, quickly. I was running for class president, with another dude. I think he was president, I was vice president. We were running against somebody else. We had debates, and stuff like that. It immediately started turning into like assaults, of making the person look like an idiot. Winning the argument.

There was a time where I was involved in supporting a political campaign, at the time. In 1992, Bush was running against Clinton. It is a very fascinating story of George Bush Senior, who had the highest approval rating in history of a President, at the beginning of the year. At the end of the year, loses the election, to a guy, in January, who was not really known. It is this fascinating change of circumstances, and how politics can sway, and move. I, literally, was out on the street with a sign, for the Bush campaign, at the time. Was talking to people, and I am getting hit, man. As soon as I stand there, I am getting yelled at. I was a young teenager, just getting my convictions formed, and how do I feel about things. I am getting yelled at, about trickle down economics, and Reaganomics. I am getting yelled at by this, and that, and the Gulf War, and all this stuff, and spending. I am like, “Woah!” Grown men yelling at me.

I think that immediately, when you enter in, it is sided. It is, whose side are you on? That creates a setup for relational conflict. Because, you don’t agree with everything, on everything, with everybody. That is not how life works. what I really don’t like, is how people engage politics very nasty, in the sense of this, like on social media, on Facebook, it is like, “here is my post oF the candidate I like, and you’re all idiots.” That is how it comes across. I am not saying that you do that. I am just saying that in general, there is this, “Moron, look what he did, and all of you that like him, you’re idiots.” It is very nasty. The goal is to make the other person look bad. Then, what creeps up in this, this is an interesting observation, what creeps up in this, is a savior mentality. We are looking for somebody to save us. To save us out of our negativity, out of the things we don’t like, to help us.

Melissa:
You’re saying, in a candidate?

Mark:
In a candidate. When we study politics, and look back, and study, just go back, maybe, one hundred years ago. Look at the subjects people were arguing about. Very similar, to the same ones we are arguing about today.

Melissa:
They were, actually, a little bit more nasty, back then.

Mark:
Correct. I was watching a documentary the other day about how, I want to say one hundred years ago, there was a person running for President, who was of Roman Catholic faith. There was so much propaganda promoted that if he got into office, the Pope was going to take over the United States of America. It created this fear of, “Oh, my goodness. We have a Roman Catholic President.” Which then, got changed, with JFK. He was the first one that came in. I think that there is a thing that we believe, that with this candidate, the country is going to go down off of a cliff. I get it. I, actually, agree with some of the things.

Because, there is certain value systems I find are important, to me, when I look at society. I think family, marriage, human life, is very, very important in every way, shape, and form, and how we mold that. Because, a society, I believe, rises, and falls, on that. It is interesting how we can, sometimes, pull the end time switch, and Jesus is coming back, and the world is going to Hell. We love to pull that, because it is very easy. It is very easy to demonize the other side. I, actually, find that there is people who disagree with me on politics that, actually, have some interesting perspectives on the issues.

The Political Spirit

I think underlying all this though, that we have to really understand, is when you engage this arena, it is run by a political spirit. What do I mean when I say that? A political spirit ties into, when we read in the Bible, Jesus says there is two leavens that you’ll see infect society. A leaven is, what does it do to dough? It helps it rise?

Melissa:
Yes.

Mark:
Just a little leaven, leaven is the whole lump. Just a little bit causes an affect on the whole bread. What he is speaking of, is he is speaking of a small agent, that gets inserted into something, that affects it. One, was the Leaven of the Pharisees. Which was a religious spirit, which has a form of worshiping God, but has no power to it. Then, it becomes this rigid formal legalism that, actually, disempower’s people. Then, you have the Leaven of Herod. What is the Leaven of Herod? It is the political mindedness. It is the political spirit. It is the political arena.

When you enter into that, there is a couple things that you need to know. It is built on people pleasing. That’s why polls are very important. What are the polls saying? Well, his approval rating is high. His approval rating is low. Many people say, at this time, this many people are going to vote for Trump. This many people are going to vote for Clinton. Then, it changes the next day. It causes campaigns to alter their perception. What are they doing? They are trying to win the approval of people. There is a fear of what people think, so you always have to create a persona. You have to create a front, an image. You have to demean the other persons image, you have to destroy their image, and enhance your image at all time. You cannot be honest. We all want authentic leaders, right? We want people to be real, but yet we don’t. Because, the moment they are, we slam them down.

Melissa:
Right.

Mark:
I don’t even know if I want to get into the specifics of the candidates, but it is like, we don’t want to know that you’re having marriage troubles. That you’re immoral behind the scenes, or that you’re sick,  or that you’ve got relational issues. We don’t want to know that, just cover it up.

Melissa:
Well, I disagree, if you’re the other side.

Mark:
Correct. For the person that you like, we don’t want to know it.

Melissa:
Right. The person that you like, we are going to ignore all of that stuff, correct.

Mark:
We want to hold you up to a certain standard, and we want to diminish. Let me use this as an example. Let me use a previous campaign as an example. When Bill Clinton was running for office, it came out, in huge measure, like this guy has got huge problems with infidelity.

Melissa:
Yes, it did come out then, yes.

Mark:
It is massive. The people that liked him, he had a growing swell, because he is so able to connect to people. He connected to their needs. He is relationally appealing to people that, literally, a big part of our culture went, “Eh, just do your job.” It says something about us, as a people. We don’t want to deal with those things. Then, the other side was like, “He is not faithful to his wife.” They’re highlighting it as best they can, to magnify it, to use it. It just gets nasty, where you don’t have a candidate going, “Hey, you know what? You’re, actually, a pretty good governor. You do a great job. I think I would do a better job, and I think I need my vote.”

No one runs a campaign like that. Trump, and Hilary, are not going to go, “You know what? You’re really great, but I feel like here are my strengths, but you know, you’re great, too.” It isn’t going to happen.

Melissa:
That all sounds really wonderful, but I feel like we have gotten to a point where, and I’ll sound very Christian, sin is abounding, so much. There is so much corruptness going on in our nation, that how do we avoid all of these things coming out? Because, I think it is important. Character is important, when you’re leading a nation. I am very vocal about my stance, and if you follow me on Facebook, you will see that. This isn’t news to everybody. I think it is important, if you cannot be faithful at home, and manage your marriage, you have no business running a country.

I have strong stances, when it comes on those things. I think they’re important to bring out. I really think that they are. It is like, what does that look like, for us to be able to even talk about those things? Because, I think we have just fallen off the cliff, as far as in our country, on even being able to sit down, and have good conversations about these things. I know you have a couple friends that have completely different views, and you are able to sit down, and have conversations with them. I think that that speaks to, both your character, and the other persons character, where you’re able to go, “Okay, how do you look at this?”

Mark:
Yes.

Melissa:
Explain yourself, and listen to each other. Most people cannot do that.

Mark:
Yes, and I think it is a sign of our immaturity. You made one statement that I would like to pull out, for a second. You said if somebody cannot manage their family, they are not fit to work in office.

Melissa:
I know, that is a harsh statement.

Mark:
No, it is all right. Let’s pull that out, for a second. Because, I don’t know that I agree with that, one hundred percent. For instance, the other day, there was a Pastor who came out, that he had a drinking problem. I don’t know the guy, I have heard of his name. It hits like a firestorm everywhere. All the blogs, and stuff. He is resigning, and he is going into this hole of isolation.

Melissa:
Everyone has shamed him, yes.

Mark:
We are so quick to, well there is a higher standard, and this and that. It is like, I get it, but there is no room in culture for people to process through issues, correctly. I like somebody in leadership, let me just say this, in any form, in any arena, politics, church, that has a genuine walk that they are growing. Everybody has holes in their armor.

Melissa:
Absolutely, yes.

Addressing Character Issues

Mark:
I think that yes, there are times where affairs, things like that, they create a major compromise into a persons value system. It is like what you said, if you’re not managing your home, something needs to be done, to put proper focus on that. I think what it goes back to, for me, for us as a family, when I look at politics, I want someone who has character. Now, I recognize though, someone with character is working in an arena that has zero character. It is very, very challenging, because you have to align yourself with people, to make things happen. You cannot just align yourself with people who all have good values, to get things done in a political office. It is very tricky. You have to be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. You have to find what are the non negotiables?

Then, what are the areas where it is like, “Alright God, you have to help me, because I have to work.” I’m not talking about like, “Okay God, I am going to cheat on my wife, to make this thing …” You know, that is not what I am saying. What I am saying, is that it takes a great deal of maturity, and strategy, and understanding, when you’re operating in this arena. Because, we would love it, to have candidates that were shining beautifully. Well, everybody has issues. Everybody had struggles. Sarah Palin went through this, where her kids were going through all these issues, and she stands for certain values. Now, she has to process her kids going through stuff, while still standing for values. There is two positions you can have on it. There is, “Oh, you’re a hypocrite, shut up,” or, there is a, “Hey, grow through this, we’re with you. We understand.”

Melissa:
Yes, because I think we are a forgiving nation.

Mark:
We can be.

Melissa:
We can be, we can be.

Mark:
Yes.

Melissa:
I think that the mainstream media, obviously, plays a huge role into this. You know what? You challenged me a little bit, and it made me think, even as you’re saying it. Yes, I do have a strong value, as far as someone running our country. If you cannot manage your home, and I know that is a strong statement, but I will say this, you are right. Everybody does have things that we struggle with, we go through. We all have a back story. We all have things that we have walked through. I think the thing that would help me is, okay, Bill Clinton had all those things happening. Being truthful, because we would forgive. “Yes, this did happen.” What I think I am speaking to, is all the lies.

Mark:
Correct.

Melissa:
It compounded more lies. If it had come out, “Hey, listen. Yes, this happened. My marriage was not in a good place, I did not take care of my wife. I did not respect her first.”

Mark:
Right.

Melissa:
From that moment forward, talked about, “Yes, that is behind me, and this is what we are doing going forward.”

Mark:
Here is a plan of action.

Melissa:
Yes, but now we are talking, and it is not just him, it is a lot of people in the political arena, it just keeps … You know, the Anthony Weiner story. We watched that documentary, fascinating, by the way. Watching that all play out, in real time, and what he did to his wife. It is concerning, watching a lot of these guys. They’re narcissistic.

Mark:
Because, the first response is, let’s cover this up.Melissa:

Melissa:
Yes, it was.

Mark:
Because, we got to protect the …Melissa:

Melissa:
It is a fascinating documentary.Mark:

Mark:
We got to protect the image. I would say that, unfortunately, this plays over into church world.Melissa:

Melissa:
YesMark:

Mark:
Church world is very political. It is all built on these things, and so there isn’t opportunities to have authentic growth with, both leaders, and those that they are leading. Because, we have a cultural issue, in how we deal with struggles, and problems. There is biblical examples of, hey, you know, help others with meekness, lest you also be tempted. The same thing somebody else is going through, you could get hit with. Keep that in mind.

Melissa:
That is sobering, too. When you’re really attacking somebody, you know, listen. No one has a perfect history, right?Mark:

Mark:
Right, absolutely.Melissa:

Melissa:
Go ahead, I didn’t mean to interrupt you. Go ahead.

Mark:
No, I landed that thought. It was just from that standpoint, of how do we have a right perspective? Let’s say a candidate has an issue, that comes forth. What is your posture? Most peoples posture is, if you like the candidate, let’s ignore it. If you don’t like the candidate, let’s highlight this thing as big as possible. We lose the humanity, at the end of the day, of each other. Most people are not going to follow this, but I would like to maintain humanity, in the discourse of what we are looking for, and what we are trying to accomplish, as a culture.

We have Christians, that we are fighting certain arguments, that other people, they don’t care about the argument. It is like, how can we begin to interact? We can see each others things. I know it sounds like pie in the sky, but I think it has to do with, first, my perspective is, at the end of the day, you’re a human being. I am going to respect you. Now, how do I respect you? I start off, by believing you’re not a moron. Okay? Right? Isn’t that saying it accurately, though? If I start off, by believing you’re not a moron, then there is something that I need to understand about you. Because, people make a lot of ignorant statements, on social media.

Melissa:
Yes

Mark:
They just kind of, “Oh whatever.” They just say stuff like, “See? There.” They don’t sound very clear, or smart. It is like, okay. This person is not a moron. What is it? It is, usually, like a hurt, or pain. Then, they hurt somebody else, say something …

Melissa:
That validated their hurt, and pain, right

Mark:
That made sense to validate their pain. Whether, or not, it was true, or accurate. Then, we reprocess it, that’s why the media is so forming to culture.

Melissa:
It is interesting, it is like, we started off you asking me why do I feel the way I do, so strongly? Most people, you’re exactly right. Whichever leaning you have, right, left, whatever, in the middle, whatever that is, comes out of your upbringing. Comes out of your experiences, and what are those things? I think it is best to, maybe, start there, in conversation. Why do you believe that we should have welfare? Why do you believe we shouldn’t have those things? Why? Not, just because people are lazy. Give me actual reasons, to why you believe those things.

I think that is the thing, a lot of people cannot answer those questions. I think late night shows will do spoofs on it, or they will go out with a microphone. The ones I love, is they will make statements. Say, they are going to the Hilary supporters, and they will say, “Okay, this was a statement that was made.” They will, like, “Yes, yes.” “Well, do you know Trump, actually, made that?” It is like really, at the end of the day, people don’t know what they believe.

Mark:
They will make up a candidate, that is not even running

Melissa:
Yes, and they are like, “Yes. I love when that happened.” Those are the best ones. I think that, really, is speaking to, we are kind of turning into a dumb nation, in a lot of ways. We are just believing what is on social media, we are not researching things. I know I have done that. I am like, “Oh, that makes me feel fired up, I am just going to post that.” I have had to check myself, like, wait, why do I believe that? What about my thinking agrees with this? Why do I agree with it? I have had to hold myself back on some certain things, just because I have been fired up about something. It is not worth the argument. Half the time, it is not worth the argument. You, and I, can talk about it, and it is over

Mark:
I think that we created some spaghetti strands, here. Let’s try to put some action steps, how do we begin to have some fruitfulness, as we move forward? Take a quick break.

Speaker 3:
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Learning to Listen

Mark:
All right, so what do you think would be a good action step? I want to first share, I have two values that are very important to me, when I think of politics. They are not exactly held in high esteem, because I think they are very forming to society. One, is family. How family is respected, and held. I know it is not the government, necessarily, responsibility to create it, but I do believe there is an aspect of respecting it, in the way God designed. I also believe in the human life, when it begins, that it begins at conception. I believe in protecting human life. I believe in understanding, even different races, and colors, and understanding human life in its value, at every form, shape, size, and who we are.

There are people that didn’t hold that for years. One day, I said, “You know what? I need to understand why.” I began to, when I was in certain communities, or cultures, that I knew didn’t hold the same political stances that I did, I would ask them questions, and I would just listen. I would never give my opinion, I just sat, and listened. I have a friend of mine, who is on the completely different stratosphere of political views, than I am. He is a great friend. We share coffee together. You may be watching. If you are, you know who you are, or listening. When I engage him, there are times where, you know, he knows the things that are important to me. I really listen, and I am really trying to understand him. Because, at the end of the day, he has a value for society, and people, and I like to understand where it comes from. What makes him tick?

I am not saying everybody has to be like me, but I think that the way that we can really engage, is choose to listen a little bit more. Don’t just listen to what is being heard, what is behind it? What is behind it, when people were yelling black lives matter, I am not listening to the black lives matter. I am listening to the hurt behind it. What is the unresolved thing that needs to be healed? There is not a lot that I can do, about the whole cultural aspect of it. What can I do in my prayers, and what can I do as a neighbor, to be more positioned for healthier interaction, and dialog?

I want to make a statement, too. Because, I think that, especially the Christians that are listening, whoever is listening, we have a lot of, “Yeah, but this one is this, and this one does this, and that is wrong.” Yes, we could sit here, and lay out all the injustices on both sides of the aisle. That is not what this show is about, today. We want to talk about, what does it look like for you, to position yourself healthily, in all these things? We are not asking you to compromise, or to look blindly away from the very deep injustices that have gone on in our nation, in a lot of ways.

We could lay them out, but I’m not going to, because it will cause arguments. Really, emphasizing on how to position ourselves. Because, even I have, “Well, this one has done this, and this one has done that, and that group did that, and look what they’re doing.” That is not the point. The point is, how do we position ourselves to be positive, healthy, in all of these things? How can we tweak that? How can we be in a loving place, and position ourselves without … Anyway.

I think what that did for me, for example, I will share this, I didn’t vote for Barack Obama. For various reasons. When I positioned my posture, to try to engage in a healthy way, to listen. To listen for the pain, listen to the heartache of people, because I am not going to change the world through politics. I am not going to change the world through arguing with people. I am going to change the world by touching the needs that people have, and helping them to fulfill their needs with who God is, and in healthy relationship.

That is where I think we need to come from. Then, when I had that posture, there is certain speeches I would listen to President Obama give, and there would be moments where I would say, “Okay. I hear you, in what you’re saying on that.” I wouldn’t agree with his follow through on his solutions of what he felt like, but I would listen to the pain point. Then, I would take the pain point away, into my life, and go, “Okay. What are some things that can be helpful?” Because, calling the President an idiot, it bothers me that people just call Obama an idiot. He is not an idiot.

Disrespect

Melissa:
Disrespect, right.

Mark:
It bothers me that people call George Bush an idiot. He is not. These are both highly educated people. They have certain value systems. We could argue, spiritually, what is influencing them. I get all that. At the end of the day, one of the most wicked kings in all of history was Nebuchadnezzar. It doesn’t get more tyrannical than him, right? Daniel worked for the guy, and we love Daniel. We just like, Daniel is the best. It is great. Daniel has, there is a dream that comes, that Nebuchadnezzar has some bad stuff coming to him. Daniel looks at him, and says, “I wish this wasn’t true for you.” I don’t know many Christians that would say that. If they don’t like Barack Obama, they would be like, “He had it coming to him, and we warned you.”

I thought we were in the new covenant. I thought we were in a greater covenant, that produced grace, love, mercy, and provided opportunity for God to meet people. We are not even better than the old covenant, which Daniel is living under, and he is going, “King.” Because, he respected authority. Even when Paul was being hit on by he church leaders, he yelled at them, and called them whitewashed walls. Then, they found out that one of them was in the leadership position, high priest, I believe. He backpedals in his words, because he is like, “Oh, this is a person of authority.”

I think that we have a lot to learn, in how we disrespect authority. Politics has ruled to create sidedness, demean the other person, tear them down. Lift up our agenda at all costs, who cares. Meanwhile, we disrespect people, and I think respect has to be restored. It is not going to start with people that do not know God. It is us. It is on our shoulders to respect people, and it is how we talk. It is how we treat others that disagree with us. That’s where it is the most. When you, and I, talk, it is fairly easy to respect you because, at the end of the day, we have similar values. That’s what bond us in marriage, right?

Melissa:
Yes.

Mark:
It is really hard, when somebody totally disagrees, and I can still be respectful when they are being, even, obnoxious.

Melissa:
Yes, so let me ask you this question. Because, we have, actually, been talking about this at home, where it has been kind of annoying, to where we have seen certain Christians becoming almost grace, grace, grace. To the point of, just ignore it. It is okay, they have a right to do that. When it is okay to stand up, and say no, no, no this is wrong.

Mark:
Yes.

Melissa:
Do you understand my question?

Mark:
Yes, a good example is, recently, Colin Kaepernick. He is now a back up quarterback for the 49ers. He makes a stance, that he is not going to stand up during the national anthem during a game. You have certain scenarios, whether it is certain things that are happening in politics, where people have a level of disrespect for the country. We had a generation of people rise up, starting to take our American flag, and burn it. I think it all goes back to disrespect.

There is a value that we have in our home, that I teach in our home. You can talk about anything, you can address any subject. There is no subject off limits in our household, but everything can be engaged with respect. Once it is engaged in disrespect, we lose the ability to have the conversation, and we have to regroup, and start over. I think that there is sometimes an approach that Christians can have, where it is like, grace, grace, grace, and it is not power. It is an un-sanctified grace. It is a, I am just going to wash over this. I think the real power of grace is, “Hey, no. We are going to have a respectful conversation. I love you, and I am willing to have an engagement with you, because you are important to me. Now, let’s do that.”

Melissa:
Right.

Mark:
Versus, “Oh, everybody just be nice, and God loves everyone.” I think, a lot of times, that is avoidance. I think sometimes love is often spoken of, and grace, in a way of just avoiding things. Grace, and love, and Gods mercy, they are very powerful. They come into engage. It is coming in to go, “I am with you, and I love you so much. We are going to talk about this, and we are going to have a healthy dialog with each other.”

Melissa:
Yes, that is really good.

Mark:
Am I helping to answer, what you’re talking about?

Melissa:
Yes, absolutely. Because, I think that that is a hot button issue right now, you know?

Mark:
Yes. For instance, Colin Kaepernick. Now, I am a 49ers fan, so this is kind of frustrating me. Because, it is not helping the team, anyways. It is not setting us up for a great season. I think there is an aspect that he is manifesting, that is very typical of our generation and that is, “I am going to make a stand, in whatever way I want to, to make my point.” I do not believe that is the mature way to handle things. If you have an issue, there is ways to do it. A lot of times, what we really want, let’s get to the core need. We need attention for a deep need, that hasn’t been fulfilled. That is really what is going on here, is there is a deep inner area, and we could get into further details, and all those kinds of things. There is a deep need, that we find. Often times, our protest is getting attention to a pain, because we don’t know any other way to do it.

Melissa:
That is great, Mark.

Mark:
It comes out of, which I have been writing on, is a lack of fathering. Which is, if you have an issue, there is a way to maturely go about it, to deal with it. To get it processed, filled, and to go about redemptive ways. It is like our kids, when they have a need, and they come into the kitchen, and they are like, “Mommy!” Right? What do we teach them? “Shh, wait. Time out. Stop. When you come in, here is what you do, here is protocol.”

What does it teach? It teaches respect of healthy interactions. What society is doing now, is we are just going to do something that is extreme, to get people attention. Because, we don’t feel that we are getting the issue heard. It is really not the issue, it is the need. There is a deep underlying need, that has to be fulfilled. We are using this avenue to talk about it, but it is really not.

Melissa:
That is good, yes.

Mark:
I don’t know. I don’t think we solved a whole lot, but at least we gave people some ….

Melissa:
No, I think we are starting some conversation. I know we got some great comments on our Facebook wall, and keep them coming.

Mark:
Yes, do it, and send us your questions.

Melissa:
Your questions, and your feedback, about it. As we know, this is a hot button topic. We could go on, and on, and you know I have a lot of opinions about some stuff.

Mark:
Did you feel like you were able to exhale a little bit, or did you feel like all you were doing was holding back your opinions?

Melissa:
Actually, no. I think my opinions on certain things, are my opinions. They are not everybody’s opinions. I know I have a lot of people, that probably listen to our show, that would agree with a lot of things I’m saying. I know that there are some things that people wrote here, on our wall that you’re absolutely right. We are not sitting here, trying to say ignore the things that people have done. Absolutely not. We have a voting system in our country, that will cast the vote towards the person that we think should be running our country.

We could get into arguments, and arguments, on even how that process works. Because, sadly, sin is infested in every area, but really, it is the righteous that need to stand, and shift our nation. Even if you look at the statistics of the Christians that did not vote in the last election, who don’t get out there, I think, at the end of the day, if you want things to change in our country, and shift, you need to be part of the solution. That means getting involved. Really, coming from the things that you pointed out, taking a stance on what is healthy. What can be good, and loving, in conversation, and really, let’s just start manifesting the Kingdom, people. I mean, come on.

Mark:
Yes.

Melissa:
Listen, I’m the first to say, I got stuff to tweak, too. I get fired up. I have posted some things. I swear, I have a ton of people that have un-followed me, from high school, because I have a lot of liberal friends. It is okay. It is okay, it is what it is. I, too, like to have people that agree with me. It, actually, feels good. It does feel good, to have people like my stuff.

Mark:
Sure, and I think, how do we redemptively be salt, and light, in the world? If i am just bashing people, or if I am just continually demeaning people that disagree, I am not being salt, and light. I am not helping. I would love to see more, and more, Christians have engaging dialog. I would love to see more, and more, Christians that hold my value system. Have a sit down with somebody who doesn’t, and have really good dialog, to invite God to come into the midst, for there to be a redemptive understanding.

All relational change, or even change in value system, has to be done by the Holy Spirit. God, himself, says, come let us reason together. He said this to Israel, I believe it still echoes today. You can’t do that, if we are just all attacking each other. I think that there is another practical step that we can take, too. That is, if one of your friends posts something on a social media wall, and you completely disagree, I am just going to state my opinion, that is not the forum, and the arena, to have the argument in this area. I just don’t. They are posting their opinion, go have a sit down with the person. Go have coffee, or do something like that. Because, just slapping then, a statement underneath it, creating an argument, doesn’t help the engagement. It doesn’t help them. No one, listen to me folks, no one changes their opinion, because you won an argument.

Melissa:
Correct, right. Yes. I have a pretty intense stance on this.

Mark:
It doesn’t mean you don’t stand for things, and there is ways that believers will stand. If we spent as much time arguing about politics, as we did praying. If we spent as much time, actually, getting out there, and being salt, and light. If we, actually, for crying out loud, voted.

Melissa:
Right, that is what I’m saying.

Mark:
Unfortunately, most pastors I interact with, they are pretty divided, in the sense of political spectrum’s. They have both Democrats, and Republicans, in their church. How do you manage that? I know some churches that, their board meetings, they are not allowed to talk about politics. It is a rule, because it got so heated. I think that is a problem.

Melissa:
It is a problem.

Mark:
We need to start growing in our character, of what we are able to exchange, without just slapping people, and throwing our opinions. That is all I’m saying. I am just challenging us to grow. I, not necessarily, don’t infer anything that I don’t ignore character, or whatever kind of things that people are coming up. Not at all. I’m just saying, there is a better way to handle it.

Melissa:
I think that is well said, babe.

 

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Mark DeJesus has been equipping people in a full time capacity since 1995, serving in various roles, including, teaching people of all ages, communicating through music, authoring books, leading and mentoring. Mark's deepest love is his family; his wife Melissa, son Maximus and daughter Abigail. Mark is a teacher, author and mentor who uses many communication mediums, including the written word, a weekly radio podcast show and videos. His deepest call involves equipping people to live as overcomers. Through understanding inside out transformation, Mark's message involves getting to the root of issues that contribute to the breakdown of our relationships, our health and our day to day peace. He is passionately reaching his world with a transforming message of love, healing and freedom. Out of their own personal renewal, Mark and Melissa founded Turning Hearts Ministries, a ministry dedicated to inside out transformation. Mark also founded Transformed You, a communication platform for Mark’s teachings, writing and broadcasts that are designed to encourage people in their journey of transformation. Mark and Melissa currently live in Connecticut.

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