The year 2020 may not have been one of civil engagement on many fronts, but one professor at Lancaster Bible College | Capital Seminary & Graduate School saw her students engage in political discussions in what she called a “gracious manner.”
Dr. Ling Dinse, right, Assistant Professor in the Counseling & Social Work Department at LBC | Capital, said she was “so proud” of students in her fall 2020 Cultural Diversity class as they took part in a roundtable discussion on hot-button political issues.
Some of the questions posed in the discussion included:
- How do you respond to this statement: “Any real Christian would not vote for …”?
- Do you think a specific political party represents biblical principles better than the others? Why or why not?
- How do you respond to others (Christians and non-Christians) if they have different political ideas than you?
- What is the one social topic that raises your “temperature” (i.e. sexism, racism, environmentalism, ageism, etc.)?
- What are some practical ways to respond to others with differing opinions that are God-honoring?
After the discussion, Dr. Dinse asked her students to post an answer to this question: “What was something that you became aware of because of this conversation?” Here are some of their responses:
- The unity of Christians.
- One person said they can get angry at the political parties and our rulers, but went on to say they are still people and in charge so I need to respect them. Even though we all have our opinions, these people are still people and we are called to love and respect them. This was just a good reminder to watch our tongue and our attitudes, because we all mess up at times.
- That you need to hear everyone out even if you differ.
- My response in public is just as important as my response in privacy.
- I truly saw how all of us had thoughts and opinions but had all been just shying away from expressing those because confrontation is a hard and scary thing. I think that because of this discussion board, I have more courage to talk about my opinions.
- I’ve learned that the people in my group do have a very similar perspective of politics and the Christian worldview as I do. This was encouraging because a lot of the time I feel as though I am alone in my view of how we are to interact with politics in the world today. … I was made aware of some other ways to respond to people when discussing politics that still align with the Bible.
- I realized that it is possible to have a decent conversation while talking about heated topics.
- Not everyone thinks about how people in other countries are being oppressed.
- After this group discussion, I have become aware that we as believers can have civilized conversations about politics and social issues that is currently happening and that we are able to freely express without any judgement.
- I became aware of how amazingly we were able to have a genuine conversation and be able listen and understanding each other from where we are both coming from.
- As Christian(s), we have a responsibility to share God’s Word to our brothers and sisters. Somehow because of politics and a couple other societal concerns, it has become slightly more difficult to communicate with one another without the fear of starting an argument. I think I appreciated this conversation because we were able to lovingly discuss with each other even if we did not agree with each other.
- I learned that we all do want to learn more, but it’s hard for us to find solid sources that aren’t so one-sided or cruel in their representation.
- I became very aware of the idea that as Christians it is important not to put our hope in human governments. I knew this but was reminded today that no person or party will probably ever fully align with the biblical values and truths we hold so dear as Christians. It is good to remember and trust that God has everything under control and that HIS will be done—not ours. No matter what happens on earth, we have a King who sovereignly reigns over the universe and who we will be united with someday.
- I was reminded that we need to see the person and not lose that/be blinded when in an argument or disagreement. I also became aware that having these kinds of conversations are not impossible and they can be done civilly!
- I was just saddened as to how hurtful and judgement people can people just because our beliefs are different.
- That sometimes it is necessary to take a step back and re-evaluate my own beliefs, because it is not always the other people whose beliefs are off. Sometimes I need to reconsider what I believe.
- That it’s okay for Christians to have different views on politics.
Dr. Dinse shared that she was encouraged that today’s LBC | Capital students are capable of “constructive conversations.”