'Up Front' Explores Navigating Your Faith During This Election SeasonOct 27, 2020 01:55PM ● By Jason Huddle
St James Lutheran Church
For more information about New Hope Worship Center, visit www.newopewc.org
Jason Huddle 00:03
The election is almost here but civility in some cases seems to have been thrown out the window.
Dale Jenkins 00:09
Every conversation, I think that we have, we have to understand, we're talking with a person. And as people of faith, we must understand this, that every person is created in the image of God. Therefore, they deserve respect. They deserve to be treated with kindness. They deserve to be loved. They deserve to be treated with goodness. So these are the things that we do.
Jason Huddle 00:31
Cabarrus County is an area with deep roots and faith. That hasn't stopped some of us treating people like we shouldn't.
Dale Jenkins 00:38
It's very good to be focused and to stand on truth. But I think sometimes we end up being very narrow minded. And we think that our particular way of believing is the only way or the right way as if we somehow have a corner on the market of truth. And I think that the very careful of that.
Jason Huddle 00:57
This week we speak with Pastor Dale Jenkins from New Hope Worship Center in Concord, as he gives us some perspective on how faith relates to the upcoming elections. That's just a head on Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine, presentation of CabCo Media Group and sponsored by Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group, Cabarrus Eye Center, Cabarrus Health Alliance, Concord Downtown Development Corporation, Geico, Concord Mills office, Level Up Realty, New Hope Worship Center, and Walk Cabarrus. I'm your host, Jason Huddle, my friends, and welcome to yet another edition of Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine. We are up to Episode 79. Can you believe it? Last week, we had some very spirited discussion with some members of the Cabarrus County Board of Education. If you didn't catch that, I encourage you to go back and listen to that episode very informative, especially if you have children in the public school system. You definitely want to catch that episode. But this week, we look ahead to the upcoming elections. As I record this, we are just 20 days away from electing a new president, or re electing our current one, as well as electing other candidates from local and state races. By the way, if you haven't checked out the Cabarrus Magazine election guide, make sure you do that before you fill out your ballot. But this week, I wanted to appeal to a higher power. I wanted to talk about faith in the elections and how they are related. That's right how they are related. Everybody loves to talk about the separation of church and state. But the fact of the matter is we tend to vote based on our values and our beliefs. However, even though we might agree on some values and beliefs, we still tend to vote very differently. And unfortunately, we have a very polarized nation at this time. So I invited pastor Dale Jenkins from New Hope Worship Center to come back on the program. You might remember he gave us a little perspective during the shutdown. And this time, he's going to give us some help in navigating our faith and who we vote for. This, by the way is no endorsement of any candidate. You will not hear any candidates name mentioned during this program. It is simply a spiritual guide, if you will, towards navigating this election season. So we are going to get into all that. But first, we must do shameless plug time. You always hear me say at the beginning and ending of every program. That Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine is a presentation of CabCo Media Group. What exactly is CabCo Media Group? Well, let me tell you if you are looking to create awareness for your company at a very economical rate. Of course, we're all looking for ways to do that. And sometimes traditional marketing venues are out of our budget. But CabCo Media Group has some very special premium digital marketing products like geo targeting and geo fencing that are light years above what is typically out there on the market. And if you are looking to create awareness for your company, your business or you want to be a hero for your boss, just contact CabCo Media Group and tell them you want to know what they can do for you because I'm telling you, this is a way to increase your awareness exponentially and be budget friendly. But of course don't forget to advertise also in Cabarrus Magazine, which is also a product of CabCo Media Group. If you're looking for more information, give us a call 704-782-2353 that's 704-782-2353 and that is today's shameless plug time. All right, stick around after the break we will have Pastor Dale Jenkins from New Hope Worship Center. He's going to help us navigate this whole faith in the elections thing. Stick around.
Jason Huddle 05:05
Welcome back to the program. We have returning guest, Pastor Dale Jenkins from New Hope Worship Center, which is a sponsor of this program. And so Dale is somebody that I have gone to for guidance many times in my life over the last 20. I don't know six years that we've known each other.
Dale Jenkins 06:52
Jason Huddle 06:53
And so first of all, let me thank you for once again, coming on to the program.
Dale Jenkins 06:58
Jason, it is so good to be here. And thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
Jason Huddle 07:02
Of course, some of you might remember Pastor Dale was on with us back in the spring right in the middle of the shutdown, like right, when we were needing some guidance. And we actually featured his interview in the September issue of Cabarrus Magazine, because I thought it was still relevant. Even you know, six months later, I thought this, this interview needs to be out there more. So I brought him back in because we are in the midst of such a volatile election season. You know, and I'm watching the comments on Facebook. And you know, it's just so divisive. You know, if you vote for Trump and you're racist, if you vote for Biden, then you're a communist. You know, it just there's no middle ground anymore. And Christians specifically, but people have faith in general. I think they're kind of caught in the middle as to how to handle this situation. So my, I guess my first question to you is, how do we handle this situation?
Dale Jenkins 08:10
Well, if I knew the answer that I guess I'd really have a lot of a lot to say, you know, it's very challenging, because the issues that we're facing in our community, and in our state, and in our nation in particular. And of course, these things go around the world. But as we're talking about what we're facing in our nation, it's very challenging, because these issues matter, they matter to people have faith, they matter to people, even if they don't have a particular faith, or if their faith may be different than our faith, these issues matter. And so I think we have to be very mindful of that, that there are reasons why people stand, you know, in the places that they do politically, but one of the challenges that we're facing in our culture today is that we have a very dismissive stance toward people who disagree with our particular opinions. And, and that's, that's a challenge. Because if we can't agree to disagree, or learn how to disagree, agreeably, if we can't learn to do that, then we're going to really have a lot of challenges. And probably the most devastating effect is that we are not able to learn from one another into appreciate into value, some of the things that we do stand on, and they're there's so much common ground, but when you're standing in opposition of one another, then it seems that we just can't find that common ground, there's probably more in common than we would realize, if we would just stop and have conversations instead of casting stones at one another, or having arguments or having these, you know, animosity kinds of comments that take place a lot so so I think we really have to do the hard work, especially as people of faith to bridge those gaps to come together and have good effective communication. Yes, to know what we believe to stand on what we believe, but also to have the right kinds of conversations that bring us together rather than to polarize us.
Jason Huddle 10:07
So let's take that a step at a time, then how do you even start the conversation, without it, de escalating quickly into an argument, which seems to happen a lot, especially on social media?
Dale Jenkins 10:22
Sure, every conversation, I think that we have, we have to understand, we're talking with a person. And as people of faith, we must understand this, that every person is created in the image of God. Therefore, they deserve respect. They deserve to be treated with kindness, they deserve to be loved, they deserve to be treated with goodness. So these are the things that we do, if there's any group of people who ought to be kind, who even ought to learn how to turn the other cheek, that should be believers and followers of Jesus Christ. Those are the things that he taught that he exemplified in his own life. And so it's important for us to make sure that we are coming in with an approach that not only is doing the right thing on the outside, but more than that, making sure that our hearts are right on the inside. As we're being motivated toward other people, I believe if we would leave with kindness, if we would open up and begin to establish that relationship, I think that we would have a lot of conversations. Now, of course, there are some people who, frankly, don't want to have conversations, they just want to have the battle, they just want to have the debates, they just want to have the arguments, you can't get very far with people who are like that. But if we will begin with kindness and begin with respecting one another, I think that will we'll be able to go very far in terms of our communities and the conversations that need to be had.
Jason Huddle 11:42
When it comes to believers in voting. There are a lot of conflicts that people have, well, I want to vote for candidate a, but he believes in this, I want to vote for candidate B. But I don't like the way he has behaved. Or some things that he has said, you know, and somehow believers have to pick one or the other. What is the plumb line for figuring out who they should vote for. From a faith standpoint.
Dale Jenkins 12:14
The interesting thing is that either side of that equation is going to claim a moral reason for why they are voting the way that they are voting.
Jason Huddle 12:25
Dale Jenkins 12:26
In other words, there's no one party or no one particular person or group who exclusively has, you know, morality on their side. Yet, that's oftentimes how we have conversations, we think that, you know, our way of thinking is the side that is right. And that that's, that's a moral term, by the way that our site is right and the other side is wrong. And so you'll hear these things, we have to come to a point, we realize that there is no perfect party, there's no perfect candidate. And in fact, I think what we're seeing now is in these candidates, and even with the, with tension that seems to be and not only a presidential race, but also all the way across the board, there's just so much, you know, just slurring of character, and really coming against one another. And it's really a sad thing to see. Because I think that we can, as human beings be better than that. Now, we also need to call things out that are there. And so what i'm not saying is, let's just all be nice and act like we all get along. What I'm saying is that we have to do the homework, we have to make sure that we're being aware of the issues very educated, not just listening to people's rhetoric about what they think we ought to think but really doing the homework. And as believers, we in particular need to do that homework, and make sure that the boats that we cast, first of all, that we are involved, that we are voting, we are serving in our community, but also that we are praying, and that we're seeking the heart of God, we're seeking the leading of the Holy Spirit, and that we're giving deference to others around us to where even if they come to a different conclusion than we do, you know, there are believers who are going to vote in one direction, and there are believers who are going to vote in another direction. Those groups of people are going to do so because of their faith, not because they're somehow, you know, trying to dumb down or water down their faith, but because of what they believe in God because of what they believe that is the right thing to do. So we have to give room for those kinds of conversations and somehow come together. I think if we can do that, if we can bring some of these parties that are so polarized and some of these personalities or whatever, if we can bring some things together and actually have conversations as a community, that I think that we'll be able to find that there is a path forward. But we're gonna have to do a lot of hard work to do that. It certainly can't be by throwing stones.
Jason Huddle 14:57
I'm gonna cut it to break real quick when we get back, Pastor Dale is going to tell us who God wants to win the election. No, No, but seriously, when we come back, I do want to talk about having those conversations and specifically as it relates to social media, how do you have those conversations? And try to defend yourself without it becoming an all out social media, keyboard war. So we'll talk about all that right on the other side of this break. Stay tuned.
Jason Huddle 15:49
And welcome back to the program. I'm sitting here with Pastor Dale Jenkins from New Hope Worship Center. He is helping us to get a little guidance during this election season. And before the break, Pastor Dale, we were talking about having conversations with each other, like actually having real conversations, productive conversations with people who have opposite views. The problem is that in this divisive climate that we have, especially on social media is where you see it most. And I guess it's because a lot of people are keyboard warriors. No, they're the real big people behind the keyboard. And they can say what they want. Probably wouldn't dare to say that to your face. But they can behind a keyboard they can. They're brave and it becomes tough when people attack not necessarily you personally but people with your similar beliefs or your similar political stances. And they just basically call you all out and say you're, you know, communist, you're racist, you're whatever. It's hard not to jump into those conversations and go, wait, that's not right. And here's why but as soon as you do that, it's like a never ending, battle back and forth. Like there, nobody is going to give anybody the last word. And so it just keeps going and going and going and going. And it becomes unproductive a lot of times it descalates as we talked about in the first segment. It the escalates into something that's harmful. And maybe even bullying, where name calling is, you know, comes into play. For those of us that are believers, how do we navigate defending ourselves and defending our position? I means there's just a time you just back out and say, You know what, we're not going to change each other's mind? I'm done.
Dale Jenkins 18:28
Yeah, it's a great question. With all of the wonderful things that social media can provide for us. There's also this very dark side of this, that can become really a vortex, a black hole of sorts. And it's just a never ending cycle of just opinion after opinion. And people feeding off of one another. And it's very difficult, that can happen in in person as well, that can happen in other situations as well. But particularly in social media, in those kinds of outlets. So how do we navigate that as believers? I do think that we have to be very mindful, a how much stuff that we're really putting into, you know, your Are you really going to win, you know, someone over with just a post that you make about something or whatever. I'm not so sure that that's the most effective way to do it.
Jason Huddle 19:16
Oh now that you posted that news article. Now, I've totally changed my position.
Dale Jenkins 19:22
So, you know, I think that we have to navigate that there is this scripture in the Bible that says that, you know, not to cast your pearls before swine, right? We're just seeing. Sure, but basically what it's getting down to is sometimes you have something of great value, and it really is precious, maybe it is true, maybe it is something very close to your heart. You know, don't don't just flippantly put that out there for just anybody to just have opinions about it just to bring that down and dumb it down to a different kinds of conversation. The people in your life who you love the people in your family, maybe your your spouse your children, your brothers and sisters, your friends, your co workers, your classmates. These are the people that we ought to have conversations with, so that we can learn from one another, learn from our neighbors have conversations with people who are different than us have conversations with, especially with other believers, if we're wondering about all of these things, and how, as a believer or person of faith, how are we to, to vote or what ought we to be thinking about? There are very real issues that we ought to be thinking about. But let's learn to open up and have conversations about that, in particular, to those who might see that a little bit differently than we do. It will help us to frame our conversations, it will help us to ask the right questions about why we believe what we believe. And it will help us hopefully, to have a different perspective, a broader perspective so that we're not so narrow minded. It's very good to be focused and to stand on truth. But I think sometimes we end up being very narrow minded. And we think that our particular way of believing is the only way or the right way, as if we somehow have a corner on the market of truth. And I think we have to be very careful of that. Because the Bible for those of us who would look to the Bible for wisdom, Bible says pride comes before a fall, it's very easy to stand in a place of kind of self righteousness and judgment. And I just don't know that that's the safest place for us to stand, I think we ought to have a little more humility and openness about some of these conversations, because there are very good things to consider from a lot of different perspectives.
Jason Huddle 21:34
My wife, Kristy, who you course know, she always asked herself, whenever this situation comes up, she asked herself is, is my relationship with this person, less important than being right. And more times than not, she will just refrain from entering into the conversation at all because of that, because she knows that they're not going to change each other's minds, but she still loves this person. I think that's a good rule of thumb.
Dale Jenkins 22:02
I think it is relationships are very valuable. And you have to navigate that and prioritize that. Now, I will say on the other side of this, and I know that your wife would agree with this as well. But I will say this, there are times where you may have to take a stand on a particular issue, even at the risk of losing some relationships simply because it is the right thing to do. And so there there is a voice that needs to be heard, there is truth that needs to be heard and understood. Sometimes the mindset of a culture has to be challenged by people who would rise up and to say, you know, what, the way that we're doing this, or the way that we have done this historically is wrong. And we need to make changes, you know, we have a couple of different parties. And this is completely an over oversimplification here, but we have a couple different parties that oftentimes are at play politically, one of those parties tends toward wanting to conserve the things that have been a part of our past, the other party tends to lean toward progressing towards something that has not yet been realized. But we're kind of reaching forward. And the reality is, is that there are some things in our past that we should hold on to. But there are some things that we must let go of, and that we must move forward on and progress to a different place. And so you find this tension, because you have a lot of people who are trying to hold on to the past, a lot of people trying to reach or to the future. Again, neither one of those things is morally superior than the other. There's something to be said about a wise person, a wise woman, a wise man, who would be able to say, you know what, there are things in the past that we should hold to. But there are also things we still need to make our way toward. And so a wise woman and a wise man will understand that I don't have to be put into a box where I have to choose a either whether it's a political party, or a particular candidate, or a denomination, or whatever all of the boxes are that society wants to put us in, I can stand as an individual person. And I can say, here are some things that I value. And here's where it would agree with this particular stance. And here's where it would agree with this other stance, and I am an independent person who can think for myself and I can make decisions and vote according to those values that I believe that God has entrusted and given to me through his work, that I don't have to just take everything from one particular group but I can stand on my own two feet and make a decision to be wise and discerning as a person.
Jason Huddle 24:44
You're dancing very eloquently around an issue that I think we all know what you're talking about. So I'm going to segue into it more directly you a few months ago, had a joint online q&a session with neighborhood church that is African American. In case you hadn't guessed, Pastor Dale is white. And so but you actually did a q&a session where you and the pastor of this African American church, came together and answered some tough questions. Tell us about that experience and what that was like.
Dale Jenkins 25:19
It was it was a wonderful experience, Pastor Bert Hinton, of Bethel Temple Faith Church is a very good friend of mine, we have been good friends for many years. And it is upon that friendship and that partnership in ministry in our community, that we were able to come together at a time where our community was really divided. And of course, not just our community, but we're talking about things that were nationwide that all of us were feeling. And so we came together. And we were able to gather at his at his church, and we had an online conversation that was recorded. And I think the greatest thing that we walked away with I mean, Pastor, Bert and I, we have a great friendship, we have conversations and communication about these kinds of topics, quite often. But I think the benefit of that was that other people were kind of allowed into, into that room where we were having these conversations, and realize that here were two men of God who are very different in many ways, and some very obvious ways were very different. But yet we are committed to following after Jesus Christ to serving him to making a difference in our community to giving other people hope. And, and there's a lot in common and we choose to come together, in the name of Jesus in particular, we choose to come together and and I think that there are a lot of, we can do so much more together than we can. When we are divided and we are apart. It's one of the things that Jesus prayed in his, in his some of his final hours, he prayed, Lord, I pray that all of these people who are following after me who are yet to come forward, I pray that they would be one, that they would have a unity that they would not, it's not unity, that would just be conformity, it We are very diverse in terms of who we are, where we come from, how we think how we look. But yet there is a unity that can come together where we can, despite our differences, we can stand on the truth of the Word of God, and we can move forward. And part of that means that we can make a difference in our community together. That is the impact that I believe that God would want us to have is that we can really make an impact in our community as the body of Christ as believers as people of faith, that we can come together and we can make a difference. So good. So very good.
Jason Huddle 27:42
I have to cut to one more break. But if you will indulge me, I have one more question that I would like to ask you, as it relates to what the Bible says about submitting to leadership. So if you would just hang with me a little bit more. I'm going to cut to one more break and we'll come back right after this. That last question from Pastor Dale Jenkins from New Hope Worship Center. You guys stay tuned, we will be right back after these messages from our sponsors.
Jason Huddle 28:08
Welcome back as we close out the program. I appreciate pastor Dale Jenkins from New Hope Worship Center sitting with us just a few minutes longer, because I have one more question as it relates to the Bible and leadership. There seems to be a mentality that if the person that I voted for doesn't get elected, that they're not my leader and I don't need to listen to anything they say. What does the Bible say about leadership even when you we talked about moral high ground and both parties believe They have the moral high ground, even if the person that is in office doesn't hold your values, and maybe even is putting directives out there that are contrary to your values. What does the Bible say about following or submitting to their leadership?
Dale Jenkins 30:18
It's interesting, because in the Old and the New Testament, you find that the people of God, were in situations like this, whether it was Israel having their own kings that oftentimes did not follow after God, and were wayward. Or if that was the the people of Israel who were in another nation, maybe in captivity, and found themselves for a number of years that were in a pagan culture, and really having to deal with all of those things. How do you deal with that? Well, in the New Testament, Paul talks about it very specifically. And he says that, above all, I ask that you would pray for all of those who are in authority, recognizing this, that all authority has been appointed by God. Now, that's really hard to navigate around, it's really difficult and challenging. When you have a very strong belief system that says this was the right candidate. And this was the wrong candidate, morally speaking. Sure, very difficult. But here's, here's what we have to trust is that God in His sovereignty, he understands a much bigger picture than what we do. And there are times where we may have people in authority who are maybe morally going the wrong way. There's, they're perhaps not godly individuals, what however, you would like to characterize that. But yet God still gives us this mandate. It's a primary responsibility that we have as believers, and that is that we are to pray for those people who are in authority. That is our responsibility. We don't just we don't First of all, we don't pray against anyone. We pray for people, because it comes down to this. God loves that individual. And God loves all of the individuals that that person is leading. If that woman or man who is in leadership, is going astray, and maybe is doing some wrong things. Well, God still wants us to pray for that person. Because God cares about all of those people who are under their leadership. And we as believers must set ourselves to prayer. Yes, we need to be politically active. Yes, we need to be active in our communities. Yes, we need to put our faith into action and have have works. But we cannot forget the power and the privilege of prayer. And that when we go before the Lord, every day, multiple times a day that we can cast our cares upon Him, we can intercede, and more is done in our prayer closets, than what we'll be able to be accomplished, whether that's in a rally or even in the voting booth, or in all kinds of now I believe in doing all of those things. But we as believers must pray. And here's the reason why if believers aren't praying, definitely nobody else is going to be praying, unbelievers aren't going to be praying. That's not what they are doing. So believers in God, we have a mandate and a responsibility. And can I just say this a privilege, to be able to pray to lean in and to allow God the Almighty sovereign God, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, that he would lead our leaders, it is our responsibility to pray for our leaders. It's God's responsibility to lead our leaders. And of course, we want to take full advantage of all of the opportunities and privileges and rights that we have. But beyond all of that, when it's all said and done, the Bible says that this way, it's not by our own might. It's not by our own power, that we will see things taking place, but it is by the Spirit of God. And so we must be people of prayer, no matter how the election lands, we must be people of prayer, and that we would respect and honor those people who are in authority.
Jason Huddle 34:01
Well, in keeping with that, and this may be a little bit unorthodox, but it's my show, I can do what I want. I'm going to ask as we close out the program today, if you will just pray for our community and for our nation.
Dale Jenkins 34:15
Absolutely, I'm happy to Father God, we come to you today, recognizing as Jason and I are here having this conversation. There are many people listening, some of whom have a very close and deep relationship with you. Some are, are still getting to understand even who you are, or the fact that you exist at all. But Lord, we come to you today as men who do know and have a relationship with you through Jesus Christ. And we Lord want to be very diligent in our prayers. We want to be the right kind of citizens in our community. We want to make a difference. Lord, we don't want to just stand in a shouting match. But we want to really make a difference in an impact in the world around us. We ask right Now, Lord God that you would be with this whole process. Lord, would you be right now with our current president, but we asked you also Lord, to lead us in terms of the next president that we will have, Lord, we have all kinds of other people that we're going to be voting on. Lord, governors, mayors, city officials, in lots of different capacities, judges, justices, we ask that your will would be done here on Earth, just like it is in heaven. We ask Lord, that You would do a work in our own hearts, Lord, let it begin with us, so that we can be faithful and good stewards of that which you have been trusted to us. We ask the Lord that you would forgive us where we have been wrong, where we have gone astray, where we have not stood on the truth. And we ask that you would lead us to greener pastures, to still waters and that you would bring about freedom and justice. And we thank You, Lord, that we can trust you to do that we put our trust and our hope and our faith in you, the King of all kings, the Lord of all lords, we give you praise for that in Jesus name, amen. Amen. Pastor Dale Jenkins, from New Hope Worship Center in Concord, thank you so much for spending some time with us today and giving us some perspective on this election season. It's my pleasure, Jason, thank you so much. And I encourage everybody to be as involved as we can be. And just to keep your heart in a place of hope, understanding that you know what, we don't have to be in despair, we can be in hope and we can continue to move forward and God is going to be with us.
Jason Huddle 36:35
Thank you, again, we're just going to go ahead and close out the program. So I will let you know that you have been listening to Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine is a presentation of CabCo Media Group and sponsored by Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group, Cabarrus Eye Center, Cabarrus Health Alliance, Concord Downtown Development Corporation, Geico Concord Mills office, Level Up Realty, New Hope Worship Center and Walk Cabarrus it is produced and hosted by me Jason Huddle, and please remember to support those that support us, until next week. Better get to prayin Y`all
Episode 80: Faith and the Elections