Non-Violence - Courtesy

A Covenant for Civility (Sojourners)

[You can sign this covenant online at the Sojourners site. I have added underlines and bolds to the version below.]

How good and pleasant it is when the people of God live together in unity. -Psalm 133:1

As Christian pastors and leaders with diverse theological and political beliefs, we have come together to make this covenant with each other, and to commend it to the church, faith-based organizations, and individuals, so that together we can contribute to a more civil national discourse. The church in the United States can offer a message of hope and reconciliation to a nation that is deeply divided by political and cultural differences. Too often, however, we have reflected the political divisions of our culture rather than the unity we have in the body of Christ. We come together to urge those who claim the name of Christ to “put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).

1) We commit that our dialogue with each other will reflect the spirit of the Scriptures, where our posture toward each other is to be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19).

2) We believe that each of us, and our fellow human beings, are created in the image of God. The respect we owe to God should be reflected in the honor and respect we show to each other in our common humanity, particularly in how we speak to each other. “With the tongue we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God….this ought not to be so” (James 3:9,10).

3) We pledge that when we disagree, we will do so respectfully, without falsely impugning the other’s motives, attacking the other’s character, or questioning the other’s faith, and recognizing in humility that in our limited, human opinions, “we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror” (1 Corinthians 13:12). We will therefore “be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2).

4) We will ever be mindful of the language we use in expressing our disagreements, being neither arrogant nor boastful in our beliefs: “Before destruction one’s heart is haughty, but humility goes before honor” (Proverbs 18:12).

5) We recognize that we cannot function together as citizens of the same community, whether local or national, unless we are mindful of how we treat each other in pursuit of the common good in the common life we share together. Each of us must therefore “put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body” (Ephesians 4:25).

6) We commit to pray for our political leaders – those with whom we may agree, as well as those with whom we may disagree. “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made – for kings and all who are in high positions” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

7) We believe that it is more difficult to hate others, even our adversaries and our enemies, when we are praying for them. We commit to pray for each other, those with whom we agree and those with whom we may disagree, so that together we may strive to be faithful witnesses to our Lord, who prayed “that they may be one” (John 17:22).

We pledge to God and to each other that we will lead by example in a country where civil discourse seems to have broken down. We will work to model a better way in how we treat each other in our many faith communities, even across religious and political lines. We will strive to create in our congregations safe and sacred spaces for common prayer and community discussion as we come together to seek God’s will for our nation and our world.
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  • WES, I belive you are a very CONFUSED Individual. Please read Matthew chapters 5 through 7, but pay special attention to chapter 6 verses 16 through 24 …”Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy…….”Also verse 24..” No One can serve two masters either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and hate the other. You cannot serve both GOD and money.”
    Also read the parabole of the Good Samaritan…Is your actions what defines your christianity …not just claiming to be one.
    You are the kind on individual that have distorted Jesus word and messages. You take a single sentence and discard the rest of the text.
    By the way comunism, capitalism , socialism , social democrasy, democrasy….are all different but similar in many ways ….Actually within the same political principle …you have many versions of it . Christianity is any of them and you can find christians in all of them.

  • Sojourners and many other Democrat ideas are communism. Liberation theology is communism.

    Consider the many Bible verses on envy and the tenth commandment.

    “In fact if a man won’t work neither should he eat” is a Bible verse.

    The Democrat party has become vile and very anti-Christian.

    Many Christians are played like a card by the politicians. Some assume their rhetoric is truthful and they are actually compassionate. In reality much of their policy is to buy votes and enslave people in government programs. Psychologist Abraham Maslow has the view that people should be empowered to be all they can be.
    Democrats tell everyone we can’t do anything without them. They tells us we are incapable of self-government. They tell us we can’t even decide what to eat.

    The Democrats and the Obama administration are corrupt and full of unjust scales. Google “unjust scales and the Bible.” This is just one of many things that are an abomination to God. In recent years the Democrats have practiced those type of values. They tell you one thing but do another.

    We have to judge people by their works not by their lies. Politicians lie about each other all the time. They lie about our history. They lie about business and banking. The lie about unemployment. The lie about healthcare. They lie about their true motives.

    You need to become wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove. We are to have no fellowship with their deeds of darkness.

    Here’s more information.

    Read history Communists oppress Christians.

    Democrats ridicule belief in God and are pushing for a atheist society. You views are warped and uninfomred.

  • Sojourners alway has good initiatives. One of the problems created over the years that has affected the discourse is that our culture has equated political beliefs with religious beliefs, giving political beliefs a false sense of righteousness. Everyone believes they are carrying their cross, when in reality no one is, because the cross does not divide us. Our political beliefs are always going to be influenced by our religious values, but we need to learn to separate the political from the religious, if, after 2000 years, we are to ever render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and render unto God that which is God’s.

  • Hooray, Larry, both for his specific post, and for still manning this oasis of Christian thought.

    Great idea.

    Pretty soon it’s going to come down to signing in blood. These are trying times, and they have hardly begun.

    Very important teaching.