Courage. Kindness. Unshakeable faith. In the world of influence, especially for Christians, these should be traits that we wear as a banner for the world to see. Black History Month might be over, but on Super Tuesday eve and in the spirit of doing it for the culture and the kingdom, we want to bookend this series with some powerful truths and a call to action from Justin Giboney from the AND Campaign.
AND Campaign is an organization on a mission "to educate and organize Christians for civic and cultural engagement that results in better representation, more just and compassionate policies, and a healthier political culture." It's a blend of who we are as Christ-followers and how we engage with culture and the world. After all, the mission is the influence the world for Christ right? Speaking of influence, fourteen states will head to the polls to weigh in on the presidential election on Super Tuesday. If you're in one of these states, you need to know what you believe and how that should affect your vote and your conversations with others around the issues that affect many people. My discussion with Justin was so insightful on why we should care and how we are to go about voting and be involved with the heart and mind of Christ in a world that is in full political chaos.
Black Christian Influencers: How did the AND Campaign start?
Justin Giboney: In my profession of being a lawyer and a political strategist, I was finding that my friends were saying if they ran for a political office, they would have to compromise on their convictions. So I set out to help Christians be more Christian in the political and public sphere to make sure we weren't separating our faith from our politics. We set out to dispel the separation between love and truth. The AND Campaign, much like the gospel, is about love and truth, compassion and conviction, justice and moral order. We do believe that no matter what political party you fall into, you have to be Christian first because politics gives us an excellent opportunity to live out the great commandment to love our neighbor.
BCI: In forming the organization, were you met with opposition from either side?
JG: Definitely! People who are tied to ideology versus a biblical theology are going to have a problem with what you do. People want you to be on one side or the other. We are picking a side, just not the one presented in public square. We aren't focusing on what people want us to be. We are focusing on being faithful.
BCI: Considering our current political climate, how would you encourage someone who is deeply discouraged by the lack of morality in our current administration and the seeming support from the white evangelical world?
JG: The Bible tells us when things get bad, it is not the time to run away or put our heads in the sand. When times get bad, people need us to speak up even more. It is daunting because of what we see in happening in the news, but when God puts the plights of others or issues in our sphere of influence, we have to do something about it.
BCI: What is the ultimate responsibility of a black Christian influencer?
JG: The number one thing is that people know through your public witness that you love them. We start with compassion, which doesn't mean agreeing with everything, but even in the disagreements, the people that you influence know you care and love them.
BCI: As Christian influencers, how do we challenge the culture?
JG: It's pretty clear in the Bible that we have to be distinctive in character. Because of common grace, we can engage and enjoy the culture, but we can't just accept the culture as it is. We can't assimilate. Daniel and the Hebrew boys worked alongside King Nebuchadnezzar and the people around them in Babylonia. But when the time came for them to draw the line, they said they would not drink your wine or eat your meat. They said they would not compromise. There is a middle. We can engage in the culture, but we have to apply biblical scrutiny and be willing to call out things that are wrong with the culture. When doing it for the culture, we have to ask, "Which part of the culture?" We must keep our biblical lens on at all times.
BCI: Finish this statement, "Black Christian Influencers I encourage you to..."
JG: Black Christian Influencers I encourage you to engage politics and culture from a biblical perspective.
Wow! What started as a support group/bible study for people working in the political world, Justin Giboney and the AND Campaign have done the work to build a bridge and become a model in how we are to be IN the world without the world being in us. Don't be discouraged by humble beginnings, influencers. Trust that God has a way of making things bigger than you in His timing.We hope this helps you operate in your influence, knowing that we have a responsibility to engage in the world and culture but with the heart of the Father. We will have more of this interview in different forms as we get closer to the 2020 Presidential election. Be encouraged. Be engaged. Be excellent.
Looking for more info on how our faith and politics work together to help your influence, connect with the AND Campaign.
Justin Giboney is an attorney and political strategist in Atlanta, GA. He is also the co-founder and president of the AND Campaign, a coalition of urban Christians who are determined to address the sociopolitical arena with the compassion and conviction of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He served as the co-chair of Obama for America’s Gen44-Atlanta initiative, and in 2012 and 2016 Georgia’s 5th congressional district elected him as a delegate for the Democratic National Convention. Giboney also served on the Urban League of Greater Atlanta Board of Directors and has written op-eds for publications such as Christianity Today and The Hill.
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How do you engage politics but keep your faith at the front of your mind?