Compassion & Conviction: The AND Campaign’s Guide to Faithful Civic Engagement

Physical Copy:


By: Justin Giboney

Rating: B+

Now that the election season is behind us. I have a little mental space to dive into the question of “what should Christians do with politics?”. I have not had the mental energy to go there but this book was a pleasant guide to how to wrestle with that.

I am exhausted by you people on social media. Haha

But through reading this, I realize, as a Christian, I have a part. I am not sure what that is yet but this book gave me some good exercises to figure that out.


Ch 1: Chris­tians & Politics

“The Bible and his­to­ry show us that God’s chil­dren can do great work in pol­i­tics as long as they aren’t of pol­i­tics.”

The author argues for Christian participation in politics, built on the “Great Commission” (Matt. 28:16–20), the “Great Commandment” (Matt. 22:37–40), and the “Great Requirement” (Micah 6:8). 

Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[b] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

Great Commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Great Requirement: “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness,[b] and to walk humbly with your God?”

While Christians shouldn’t engage in politics merely to win self-interested battles, we should engage in politics in order to love our neighbors and represent Christ well. 

Ch 2: Church & State

In order to be good stewards of our gifts, Christians need to have an understanding of how our government works.

We must be informed about the civic process and understand the relationship between the church and state.

“We can’t sep­a­rate what we believe in the polit­i­cal are­na from who we are in Christ and what ‘obe­di­ence to God’ demands. Jesus told Chris­tians to ​‘love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the great­est of Jesus’ com­mand­ments, and it doesn’t leave any room for us to dis­re­gard his guide­lines in pol­i­tics or any oth­er aspect of life.” 

“It’s impos­si­ble to sep­a­rate the val­ues of the peo­ple from their laws. Laws are always an appli­ca­tion of some group’s val­ues. Ide­al­ly, every­one would agree on what these val­ues should be — and some­times every­one does. But when that isn’t pos­si­ble, we must pro­mote our val­ues with­in the leg­isla­tive process. We can do this with respect for those who dis­agree, under­stand­ing that not every pre­cept in the Bible is meant to be a law of the state.” 

Ch 3. Com­pas­sion & Conviction

This is the MEAT and framework of The AND Campaign: social justice and moral order.

“It’s a mis­take to sug­gest that Chris­tians should always come to the same polit­i­cal con­clu­sions. How­ev­er, all Chris­tians should make those deci­sions from a bib­li­cal frame­work.”

Currently in the US, those on the right side of the political spectrum say they stand for individual freedom, patriotism, and moral order; the left, on the other hand, claims to stand for justice, equality, and inclusion. Conservatives say progressives are immoral because of their positions on abortion, religious liberty, and the like. Progressives say conservatives are bigoted and lack compassion when it comes to poverty, race, and gender.

“Both [the Democ­rats and the Repub­li­cans] have become less tol­er­ant of dif­fer­ing view­points and often stamp out can­di­dates and advo­cates who hold a more nuanced or mod­er­ate per­spec­tive.”

“Because of how the issues are pre­sent­ed, Chris­tians are told to either sur­ren­der their bib­li­cal con­vic­tions or neglect their Christ­like com­pas­sion.”

Aren’t you frustrated by this?

Feeling this frustration is not a bad thing.

“The bigger problem is when Christians are unaware or unbothered by the faults on the side they prefer.”

Christians must do better to avoid this kind of political and partisan indoctrination. We must be able to critique both sides using a biblical framework of “speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:14–16).

“Our iden­ti­ty shouldn’t be tied up in either pro­gres­sivism or con­ser­vatism. We shouldn’t hes­i­tate to cor­rect either when nec­es­sary. When con­ser­vatism means pre­serv­ing unjust sys­tems and insti­tu­tions, it must be opposed. When pro­gres­sivism means mov­ing from God’s truth, it too must be opposed.”

Ch 4. Part­ner­ships & Partisanship

“It is intellectually lazy to agree with Democrats or Republicans on every single issue. That’s a clear indication that we’ve been indoctrinated, which is never an option for Christians.”

“Chris­tians rarely go through an ardu­ous due-dili­gence process in eval­u­at­ing cul­tur­al and polit­i­cal part­ners before join­ing forces.”

As a helpful exercise in avoiding political indoctrination, the authors recommend picking at least one issue where you know many Christians disagree with you. Then commit to earnestly learning why they believe what they believe and consider it. The worst that can happen is that you will better understand your brothers and sisters who disagree with you. Perhaps you will learn something that will sharpen or even change your opinion.

“We allow our­selves to be indoc­tri­nat­ed by polit­i­cal, aca­d­e­m­ic, and pop cul­ture lead­ers and to sur­ren­der our con­vic­tions to avoid dis­as­so­ci­a­tion and crit­i­cism.”

We have to work with people who don’t believe what we believe. This is an opportunity to be a witness for Christ. Pursue that with strength and grace. If it isn’t biblical truth, you have to walk away.

“Part­ner­ing with anoth­er group or per­son should nev­er be seen as an endorse­ment of their entire agen­da.”

“Some Chris­tians are more will­ing to defend their ide­o­log­i­cal tribe than the Chris­t­ian faith.”

Whew baby…I felt this a lot this cycle. Lord give me wisdom. The agenda of the political parties are not scripture. We do not have to defend every piece of either. In fact, we must resist that.

Ch 5. Mes­sag­ing & Rhetoric

Words matter. 

Christians should strive to be quality communicators if we are to fulfill the great commission.

We should avoid the temptation to oversimplify debate down to buzzwords. We shouldn’t be duped by politicians who merely say what we want to hear. Don’t hear a politician quote MLK or scripture and assume the next action that follows is infallible.

“Polit­i­cal lead­ers often talk as if their side is for all that is good and true, and the oth­er side is for death and destruc­tion. We must be able to dis­agree and work against those with oppos­ing beliefs with­out dehu­man­iz­ing them. When we label oth­er groups evil, stu­pid, or irre­deemable — or deny their pain — we strip them of their human dig­ni­ty and make our­selves and oth­ers less like­ly to show them con­cern and com­pas­sion.”

The guidelines for effective communication were:

  1. Study and be confident
  2. Show love and concern
  3. Be informed
  4. Have a plan
  5. Main­tain a hope­ful, pos­i­tive tone
  6. Relate to the audience
  7. Be per­sua­sive
  8. Don’t hide your convictions

“Choose your words wise­ly and remem­ber that when you speak in the pub­lic square, you’re going about your Father’s busi­ness. Chris­t­ian mes­sag­ing should always be root­ed in the gospel.” 

That is quite the responsibility. That makes you think twice before hitting “Post”!

“Chris­t­ian polit­i­cal engage­ment shouldn’t be all about what Chris­tians have to say. We should go out of our way to make sure the voice­less are heard and respect­ed.”

We have to get proximite to suffering as Christ did if we are to be able to bring people to him.

Ch 6. Pol­i­tics & Race

The best summary of the position of the church and race was the following quotes.

“Racial rec­on­cil­i­a­tion is a process that starts with the gospel and ends with the gospel. If we are unwill­ing to become informed and push back against our tribes when they are racial­ly insen­si­tive or manip­u­la­tive, we will con­tin­ue to fall well short of God’s inten­tion for us.”

“Race is not an easy top­ic to engage, but an unwill­ing­ness to con­front the issue of racism is one of the great­est road­blocks to rec­on­cil­i­a­tion.”

“Col­or­blind ide­ol­o­gy can cause a form of denial in which we’re unwill­ing to acknowl­edge race as the root cause of tough issues because we don’t want to admit that we still have work to do. We have to come to terms with America’s race issue by hon­est­ly exam­in­ing our­selves and our insti­tu­tions.”

The goal is more like Christ. Period. How can we be more like Christ? 

Identity politics is deeply flawed. It is pushed on us incessantly and boxes us into mobs we “have” to completely side with.

The author give five great ques­tions we should con­sid­er before ​“throw­ing our­selves into a group”:

  1. Am I clear on the objec­tive of this group or the leader and why it’s impor­tant? Are the oth­er peo­ple in the group also clear?
  2. Is the rhetoric of this group or leader based on exag­ger­at­ed claims and base­less accu­sa­tions against oth­ers or on a sol­id, proac­tive rationale? 
  3. Am I allowed to ask questions?
  4. Is the group act­ing out of love for our neighbors?
  5. Do we lis­ten and respond to peo­ple who disagree?

“By think­ing crit­i­cal­ly and lov­ing our neigh­bor, we can avoid the influ­ence of mobs that thrive off of divi­sion.”

Ch 7. Advo­ca­cy & Protest

Protest: ​“pub­licly reg­is­ter­ing dis­ap­proval of some action or set of cir­cum­stances for the pur­pose of mov­ing those with pow­er to act.”

Advo­ca­cy: ​“can be pri­vate or pub­lic and can reg­is­ter dis­ap­proval of some action or pol­i­cy, pos­i­tive­ly express sup­port for a par­tic­u­lar approach to a prob­lem, or both.”

An easy way to think about it is that advo­ca­cy is the large body of work done to make sure that polit­i­cal deci­sion mak­ers make the right deci­sions. Protest is what is done in order to let them know when they have made the wrong deci­sion.

“Like a ham­mer or a chain­saw, protest and advo­ca­cy can be weld­ed to do tremen­dous good or to cause tremen­dous harm. But when Chris­tians use these tools to pur­sue improve­ments in the lives of hurt­ing peo­ple and to uphold eter­nal val­ues in our soci­ety, we effec­tive­ly love our neigh­bors and, by way of these good deeds, glo­ri­fy our Father in heav­en (Matthew 5:16).”

Questions to answer before deciding to join in advo­ca­cy and/​or protest:

  1. What do we want?
  2. Who is the deci­sion maker?
  3. Who is on the team?
  4. What do we have?

Ch 8. Civil­i­ty & Polit­i­cal Culture

Without backing down from the truth, Christians should cultivate civility in political discourse and hold politicians accountable to that standard. 

“Civil­i­ty shows itself when we acknowl­edge the best in our polit­i­cal oppo­nents’ line of think­ing and the best in our polit­i­cal oppo­nents them­selves. Civil­i­ty is mer­cy and for­give­ness. It is a form of pub­lic grace.”

We shouldn’t use an appeal to “civility” to escape frank conversations, but we Christians should be known for:

  • giving our opponents the benefit of the doubt,
  • affirming points of agreement whenever possible, and
  • serving others instead of selfishly grabbing power for ourselves.

Incivility grows when there is criticism without fellowship. Social media is that exactly. It is hard to have true fellowship through a computer screen.

Humility is the cure for incivility.

“Humil­i­ty helps us sep­a­rate a person’s think­ing from their dig­ni­ty and to rec­og­nize and respect the lat­ter even when we vehe­ment­ly dis­agree with the for­mer.”

“Our respon­si­bil­i­ty to one anoth­er as Chris­tians ris­es above civil­i­ty. Civil­i­ty is the base­line for how we treat strangers, yet no Chris­t­ian is a stranger to us but is, instead, our broth­er or sis­ter in Christ. Chris­tians will have polit­i­cal dis­agree­ments, too, but our dis­agree­ments are to be in the con­text of mutu­al love and sub­mis­sion to Christ.” 

Guide­lines for civ­il polit­i­cal engage­ment.

  1. Hold out hope for polit­i­cal oppo­nents’ best pos­si­ble motives.
  2. Affirm the true and the good in our oppo­nents’ argument.
  3. Avoid decep­tion and manipulation.
  4. Ground polit­i­cal engage­ment in service.

“Chris­t­ian polit­i­cal and civic engage­ment is a spir­i­tu­al offer­ing. It is offer­ing time, tal­ent, and resources to the Lord so he can accom­plish his will.” 

Next Action:

Determine your foundation by finding out what the bible says about the following topics.

  1. Abortion
  2. Immigration
  3. Education
  4. Health Care
  5. Criminal Justice
  6. Foreign Policy
  7. Taxes
  8. Minimum Wage
  9. Gun Control
  10. Labor Unions
  11. Social Security
  12. Climate Change
  13. LGBTQ

The bible does not directly address a lot of these but determine what most fulfills the “Great Commission”, the “Great Commandment”, and the “Great Requirement”.

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