Monday, July 8, 2013

Go Back?

Some time ago I was a finalist for a well-paying, personal assisting position in New York.  After reviewing my resume, the older man seeking an assistant expressed his concern about my theological studies at Fuller and my employment history working at a Baptist university.  He was pleased to see University of Michigan on my resume, reassuring him I had to be somewhat intelligent.  Yet, he stated to another interviewer in the room, he didn’t want a born again Christian working for him. 

Somehow I knew this man didn’t have an accurate picture of what one is, so I wasn’t concerned when he made the comment.  His very next question confirmed my suspicion.  He asked me about my political affiliation.  I hesitated and then stated, “That’s tough.”  It’s true.  It was and still is tough.  I don’t trust either party.  And although for most of my life I’ve been a nominal Republican, the more time I spend with my Republican friends the more confused I become on how they go about communicating their affiliation.  They keep talking about wanting to go back to the faith of the founding fathers of our nation.  I’m sorry, but I think that’s a terrible idea.  I don’t want to go back to the faith of a group of men who treated women and black people like inferior human beings – like property, with no voting rights.  It seems to me the faith of our founding fathers doesn’t paint a very good picture of Jesus.  Why would I want to go back to racism and sexism?  Granted, our founding fathers did much for our nation, with Scripture and hopefully the Holy Spirit helping guide them in some of their decisions.  But that was just  the beginning - a starting point - not a selling point on why Christians should vote Republican.

“So you don’t lean strongly one way or another?” he clarified.  I replied no, and he said, “That’s good.”  What he meant by good is that as long as I wasn’t a born again Republican who adores Jerry Falwell then he had no problem with me working for him.  I received additional bonus points when he learned I also drink wine on occasion, confirming for him I wasn’t all that Baptist either.

Some Sunday later my pastor explained the negative connotations associated with the phrase “born again” in the NYC.  In New York, in particular, “born again” tends to translate “unintelligent Republican” who hates gay people and loves Rush Limbaugh.  In today’s America, the term “born again” for those who don’t identify with the Christian faith doesn’t mean what Jesus meant as he spoke the words to Nicodemus. 

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