On Aug 2, I got to be on a CBS (national) News panel with 11 others titled “Racism and Charlottesville” and moderated by Ibram X. Kendi, American University professor and writer at The Atlantic. It ran for a little over an hour.

I never said a word, mostly because there wasn’t a time where I felt I could add anything different or uplifting to the conversion. I don’t think the discussion was very helpful or insightful about anything new, but what was aired was fine.

However, during the week leading up to the panel discussion, I thought and prayed a lot. I had already been thinking about the cross-section of Christianity and politics, mostly how polarization is getting worse; this is especially true in a city that’s known the world over for the Aug. 12 rally and in an area that the Atlantic ranks high for partisanship.

Here’s what I’ve come down to: Christ had Matthew, the tax collector (a Jewish collaborator of the equivalent of the Nazis) and Simon, the zealot (a religious terrorist) among his 12 apostles. Do you think those two people got along great — at least at first?

I mean, that’s like having a Trumper and antifa member in the close-knit friend group. If you do not have someone who is basically your ideological opposite as one of your 12 closest friends, are you living the gospel? Are you truly loving your “enemy”? Hard questions to be asked in this political age …

Christ says a person must “deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matt. 16:24); a better rewording for what that shocking statement is for modern ears would be, “To truly be a Christian, we must bring our own hangman’s noose with us wherever we go.”

So: Deny tribalism, be ready to be killed for the gospel, and go make a new best friend.

Robert W. Woodside

Charlottesville

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