Words we need to hear
The Rev. Gregory Boyd of St Paul, Minnesota's Woodland Hills Church lost 1,000 of his 5,000 members because he had the audacity to preach that the "church should steer clear of politics, give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming the United States as a “Christian nation” and stop glorifying American military campaigns.".
This is a topic for another post, but I wonder if Christians fixation on others' sins such as abortion and homosexuality is merely a distraction from more personal sins such as adultery, gluttony, and idolatry. That whole eye/plank thing.
“More and more people are saying this has gone too far — the dominance of the evangelical identity by the religious right,” Mr. McLaren said. “You cannot say the word ‘Jesus’ in 2006 without having an awful lot of baggage going along with it. You can’t say the word ‘Christian,’ and you certainly can’t say the word ‘evangelical’ without it now raising connotations and a certain cringe factor in people.
“Because people think, ‘Oh no, what is going to come next is homosexual bashing, or pro-war rhetoric, or complaining about ‘activist judges.’ ”
“America wasn’t founded as a theocracy,” he said. “America was founded by people trying to escape theocracies. Never in history have we had a Christian theocracy where it wasn’t bloody and barbaric. That’s why our Constitution wisely put in a separation of church and state.
“I am sorry to tell you,” he continued, “that America is not the light of the world and the hope of the world. The light of the world and the hope of the world is Jesus Christ.”
Mary Van Sickle, the family pastor at Woodland Hills, said she lost 20 volunteers who had been the backbone of the church’s Sunday school.
“They said, ‘You’re not doing what the church is supposed to be doing, which is supporting the Republican way,’ ” she said. “It was some of my best volunteers.”
Folks - like it or not, America is not mentioned in the Bible. You can twist and contort Scripture however you want, but if you are serious about reading the Bible in a literal way, the literal text does not include mentions of our country, democracy, capitalism, or the Republican party.
But Nathan, homosexuality, abortion, and terrorism are the biggest threats towards America! Are you saying these aren't important?
No. Those are issues that Christians must engage - however, they must be derived from a full (not selected) Biblical stance, and definitely not from a political party's talking points.
There are many other issues that affect families of which our country needs a full Biblical perspective. Some off the top of my head are minimum wage, poverty, lack of health care, divorce, materialism, and business ethics.
But Nathan, you sound like a Democrat.
Well, I'm not one. I'm also not a Republican. However those issues along with the abortion/homosexuality/war issues need to be balanced. I sound like a Democrat because the Christians that currently dominate the Republican party are ignoring the parts of the Bible that other Christians feel are important. If national discourse swings too far to the left, I'll be accused of sounding like a Republican.
The church is not supposed to be supporting the Republican way. The church was created by God, for God. Period. The GOP does not have all the answers, and is fallible. It is not holy nor is it ordained. The GOP serves itself. The church serves God through worshipping him and educating believers how to follow Him and His word. God is eternal - His church will be around long after America is gone.
I refuse to be a part of a voting bloc like "soccer moms" or "Nascar dads". I will not be taken advantage of for political or corporate gain. We are not called for this type of shallow faith - we are called to be something greater than we are, and that means cultural and natural instincts must be re-examined.
I'm a Christian first, and an American second. Both are important to me, but in order for us to effectively have a voice in our country, we must give equal importance to all of Scripture, and must not let politics compromise our beliefs nor give undue importance to some issues over others.
I don't envy Christian politicians - how do you not compromise the integrity of God's word when the Speaker asks for support of a bill you strongly dislike and in return, promises support for a bill very near and dear to your heart? Politics is about compromise, and I don't want to be in that situation on a daily basis. That's why I don't see myself ever running for office.
I love our country. I love the fact that we can worship freely without retribution, and I will fight for others' right to do that. You cannot force God's love in someone's heart - conversely you turn them away from Him. The greatest religious movements in this country occured via the Holy Spirit through revival meetings. The Great Awakening and the Second Great Awakening did not happen because of any laws passed, but because of faithful believers seeking the face of God.
As Rev. Boyd said, our country was not formed as a theocracy on purpose - the folks that came fled theocracies because they're inherently bloody and full of vengeance. See present day Iran, Afghanistan, or even the Inquisition. Heck, read about Baptists in colonial Virginia and ask them how they feel about state-supported religious coercion. The mixture of politics and our faith cannot be taken lightly.
Remember, when we die, we must account to God - not the President.