A group of evangelical leaders who are concerned about the growing polarization in U.S. politics has launched a small group course to help Christians think biblically and “honor Jesus” in their political engagement.
The small group course, titled The After Party: Toward Better Christian Politics, was launched earlier this year by Redeeming Babel and is designed for the “exhausted majority of faithful Christians who lament the political divisions within the American church that have heightened in recent years,” according to its website. The course is available free online. A print version will be released on April 23.
“The project isn’t targeted at a particular ideological or partisan group but rather is designed to encourage and equip Christians of all ideological stripes to honor Jesus in the way they engage in politics,” the website says.
The small group course “helps Christians overcome toxic polarization by advancing a Christ-centered political identity” and was born “out of a friendship” among Redeeming Babel founder Curtis Chang, New York Times columnist David French, and Christianity Today editor-in-chief Russell Moore, the website says.
“We have to recapture the fundamental call of the gospel, which is we love our enemies,” Chang said in an After Party launch event. “We have to love our enemies because our Lord and Savior embodied that very practice in his death.”
Each of the six small group sessions is designed to be completed in 60-90 minutes and includes videos, interactive exercises, and group discussions.
A teaser for the print version says the curriculum is for those who “want to culturally engage but are exhausted by the tension in our families and churches.” The small group course “reframes our political identity outside partisan divides while rebuilding strained relationships,” the teaser says.
The curriculum encourages Christians to jettison an “us vs. them” mentality.
“Other human beings are not our enemies and cannot be our saviors either,” the website says. “Our deepest fears and hopes will never be answered by the victory of any political party or politician, but rather only by the wedding feast of the Lamb, which marks the return of our King Jesus. This truth should radically humble all of our ‘flesh and blood’ political allegiances.”
The course is neither conservative nor liberal, a description says. It’s also not Republican or Democrat.
“The After Party aims to shift Christians’ focus from the ‘What’ of politics -- ideologies, policies, and candidates -- to the ‘How’ of Christian engagement in the public square,” the description says. “That is, the biblical virtues that ought to mark Christian political activity regardless of whether one advocates conservative, liberal, or moderate policy positions.”
The After Party course is non-denominational and “affirms the traditional orthodox understanding of the Christian faith as articulated by the early church in the Apostles’ Creed,” the website says.
Photo Courtesy: ©Getty Images/lawcain
Video Courtesy: Redeeming Babel via YouTube
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.