A pastor at my church once said we could argue politics all the way to the door of the sanctuary. But once we entered the church, we were called to unite ourselves in Christ's name.
I have, for that very reason, tried to reside inside the "sanctuary" in this column. Every family knows that Thanksgiving dinner is often a bracing effort in bi-partisan diplomacy, so volatile is this topic.
So forgive me for daring uncharted territory. Father in heaven - please ensure my words are chosen cautiously. I want to be an instrument of peace and understanding.
Very recently I read a blog post written by a Christian voice I've long admired. The author posed the question, "Do your politics align with God's will?"
I admit it; my reaction was an emotional one. I prayed for clarity. Prayed some more.
Still. I couldn't not broach the subject. So here it goes.
Yes - I believe my vote aligns with my faith. But if I vote differently than another Christian, does it mean theirs doesn't?
Here's the truth - I can walk down the middle of the aisle and see the virtue (and darkness) on both sides. Hey, my family's comprised of staunch military stock and a long line of teachers. I've learned to consider every perspective along the spectrum. I'm open, but I tend to vote for Democrats. And I'm frustrated with the sentiment that all good Christians belong to Republicans.
Well, I know the one who holds the real power. And I'm pretty certain He isn't a Republican or a Democrat. I see His will carried out across both sides.
Speaking generally, Republicans champion individual rights. Democrats champion the greater good. Republicans passionately defend the unborn. Democrats lift up children born into poverty. And, of course, on both sides of the aisle you'll find those who don't always tow the party line on a given issue.
In my view, the Bible is full of scripture that underwrites the ideology of both sides. But also - the overwhelming message in the Bible points to our collective call to unity, goodwill and grace - not to a few verses that invite diverse interpretation according to the lens of culture and context.
As people of faith, we can do more to solve our problems by affirming and uplifting each other, from all sides of the spectrum, without politicizing our personal faith. We can serve as the example by finding common ground, because as anyone married for any length of time knows, compromise is not a bad word. We can debate passionately with civility, respect and love.
For me the real question is, "Does how you treat those who disagree with your politics align with God's will?"
I might cast a different vote from another Christian - but just like theirs, mine was an imperfect vote for an imperfect person. I hope we can all agree on that.
• Diane Meehl walks the fence in Ahwatukee Foothills, where she lives with her husband and their brood. They worship at Mountain View Lutheran Church. Reach her at email@example.com.