Hebrews 12:1-2

"..let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." - Hebrews 12:1-2

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Politics of Love

I just finished reading an article from the June 1st New York Times entitled "Taking Their Faith, but Not Their Politics, to the People". The main focus of the article is around The Journey Church in St. Louis and how there appears to be a progressive movement in evangelical circles to question the status quo in American Christianity. Here are some parts that I found most interesting:

They say they are tired of the culture wars. They say they do not want the test of their faith to be the fight against gay rights. They say they want to broaden the traditional evangelical anti-abortion agenda to include care for the poor, the environment, immigrants and people with H.I.V., according to experts on younger evangelicals and the young people themselves.
I am not sure if I qualify as a younger person or not, but I agree with this statement.

None of that means younger evangelicals have abandoned the core tenets of their faith, including a belief in the physical resurrection of Jesus and the literal truth of the Bible. They think abortion and homosexuality are sins.

And so far, there is no clear evidence that supporting a broader social agenda has led young evangelicals to defect from the Republican Party in great numbers, as many liberals have predicted.
I do not believe that my core tenets of the faith have changed, but I have become more and more convinced that the Church should be providing a lot of the so-called "services" that the government currently thinks is its job. If the body of Christ did the work Christ called us to do, then there wouldn't be a need for certain government sponsored programs. So while I am more empathetic to the plight of other people, I cannot say that my political ideals have changed that much. I believe that in most cases that my political stance has become more firm due in part to what I perceive as the reality of the Church not living up to what we are called to be in our world.

“The easy thing is to fight, but the hard thing is to put your gloves down and work together towards a common cause,” said the Rev. Scott Thomas, director of the Acts 29 Network, which helps pastors start churches. “Our generation would like to put our gloves down. We don’t want to be out there picketing. We want to be out there serving.”
This is absolutely where I am at in my thoughts and feelings at the moment. If we put down our signs and take the energy we might use to scream at people entering an abortion clinic and actually love on people as Christ commands us to, then the world might find that we have something better to offer - something completely different. In doing that work of love, we would impact our world much more than any law will ever be able to accomplish. If we love people as they in this moment and not as who we want them to be, then we could show them that there is a better Life to be obtained and a deeper Love than we can offer. That is attractive and cause more people to reconsider abortion than any sign I might hold will.

This is not to say that I do not have an opinion regarding political and social issues and that I do not feel there are things I should attempt to get passed in the legislative arena. It's just that I realize that even if petitions and amendments don't get enacted or struck down how I want them to, this alone is not a factor in how I should treat anyone. You may have a completely different stance on Roe vs Wade, but I am still called to love you through my actions, conversation and life.

To state it more clearly, I believe that my faith should impact my political positions and decisions but I do not think that anyone else's political or social stance should impact how I show them my faith through love.

3 comments:

  1. Well said...if you haven't yet, you should check out Sojourners (www.sojo.net). The guy who heads it up, Jim Wallis, is very sharp. Their focus is social justice and the call for the reconciliation of the evangelical community with the mission of Christ. I just finished one of his books called God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It--excellent read. I've got some similar stuff on my blog too: chaosforlackofabetterword.blogspot.com.

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  2. I would exhort the note's author to remember the primary mission of a believer in Christ is to bring glory to God and that includes proclaiming the Gospel. While we should be involved in social concerns, the Social Gospel is NOT the Gospel. Groups and organizations which focus on social action in lieu of declaring the sinfulness of man and his need for salvation found only in Christ have missed the primary thrust of Scripture.

    Caution, young one!

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  3. The main point of this post was to express my desire to see the Church of Jesus Christ step out from behind our Sunday morning rituals and start being involved more in social issues in a loving way.

    By no means would I ever promote the idea that the Church's main goal should be to provide social services to people. On the contrary, the main goal of the Church should be to promote the eternal life-saving Gospel of Christ to a sinful and lost world.

    With that being said, I fear that too many Christians (including myself) are far too comfortable sitting in their pews on Sunday, criticizing the lost for their sinful decisions throughout the week and not getting up and physically being the hands of feet of Christ in their community.

    This entry is directly related to this one: http://www.jeremywalker.us/2008/02/christianity-in-america.html

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