Tim Lucas, lead pastor of Liquid Church in New Jersey, hopes to elevate political discourse during the election season by not only talking about politics during Sunday worship services in September but leading live polling on hot button issues via text messaging.
"Right now there's this toxic partisan climate that pervades Washington and all the news shows. If you are for Romney then you have to be anti-Obama – you have to assassinate his character, also impugn his motives, and say he's the anti-Christ," Lucas told The Christian Post.
"As Christian we're called to enemy love, even with people who we profoundly morally disagree. We're actually called to show compassion and love towards them. So we want to try and elevate that dialogue," he explained. "So instead of Romney or Obama, Republican or Democrat, we are going to try to challenge conservative Christians and ask, 'Would you be able to show love to your liberal brothers and sisters?' We will challenge liberals and say that not all conservatives are hard-headed and mean-spirited."
"That's my lofty goal for the series," he said.
Lucas knows he is entering shaky territory with his four-part series and poll questions for his church of 2,500 people.
"Growing up, I was told never to discuss three issues in polite company – politics, sex, and religion. But this Sunday, we're going to hit at least two ... with the potential for all three!"
During worship services, Lucas will invite the entire congregation to use their cell phones to text in their vote on various questions presented including:
- Can a Christian vote for a Mormon?
- How would Jesus handle hot-button issues such as gay marriage & immigration?
- Is the next generation of Christians moving beyond the Culture Wars?
- Do you have faith in God or Government?
He also plans to ask members who they will vote for as their choice for president. Live results will be displayed on screens as all the results are tallied in real-time.
"At election time, a lot of churches and pastors typically leverage their pulpit by telling others how to vote. You see this a lot of the time with the passing out of polling guides that say how Christian voters should vote their values," Lucas said.
"We said there is something presumptuous about that. We really believe in the power of Christians to think critically for themselves. What if we asked our congregations what their perspectives are on issues?"
Lucas said he is looking forward to hearing from people on important issues frequently in the news.
"I'm looking forward to exploring the tension that exists beyond the sound bite politics," he said.
He's also excited to talk about Jesus in the series.
"Jesus pretty much transcends liberals and conservatives. There's something about Jesus that defies red-state blue-state, black and white thinking," Lucas said.
The sermon messages will attempt to bridge the often polarizing worlds of politics and religion.
"The Bible tells us to pray for all our leaders – and that includes our Republican governor and our Democrat president," noted Lucas. "I'm hoping the Scriptures can lead us to bridge the partisan divide and find faith for the future of our country."
On the Web: http://www.liquidchurch.com/