A friend of mine who lives in CT made a comment about the challenges of living in a blue state; the context was valuing the sanctity of life. As I thought about his statement I considered the possibility that it is more difficult for a follower of Jesus Christ to live in a red state than in a blue state – or at the least both are difficult and each has its own challenges.
The problem with living in a red state is that many people closely associate church culture with a certain type of political culture, they see them as one and the same – and in fact they can be. People in a red state can associate a way of thinking and a social way of life with Christianity, and if Christianity, in its foundational meaning, means following Jesus Christ as Lord, then the thinking that focuses on political and social life lulls people into thinking that Christianity is something that it is not. People in a red state are more likely to merge the Cross and the national flag – and that is toxic – because the Cross always becomes the servant to the flag.
Professing Christians in a red state often think that if their political candidate wins that the Gospel wins – but sadly, often when their political candidate wins the Gospel of Christ loses because these professing Christians often put their trust in political agendas rather than in Christ. In this environment, when other Christians challenge this thinking they are just as likely, if not more likely, to face ostracism from others just as Christians in a blue state who stand for the Gospel might face opposition. The difference in this is that Christians in a blue state face opposition from those who do not profess Christ, but Christians in a red state face opposition not only from those who make no profession of faith, but also from those who do. Furthermore, there is nothing quite like being opposed by religious people who think they right, and when religious people wrap the Cross in the national flag we have a lethal mixture of religious self-righteousness and national fervor.
The Biblical state for Christians to live is not colored red or blue, it is colored the Kingdom of God, it is colored having our citizenship in heaven, it is colored knowing Jesus Christ and Him crucified – perhaps it is the white state of the glory of God in Christ. Our identity must never be red or blue, it must always be Jesus – otherwise we cannot have a credible Gospel witness, no matter what color of the earthly state we live in.