Friday, April 29, 2005

Justice Sunday

Perhaps that was a real "Justice" Sunday. With so many of faith speaking out against what they see as, to say the worst - blasphemy, or to say the least - improper use of the pulpit, it is heartening to think that some who had previously bought into the verbiage of the Religious Right may now be hearing the falsehoods hidden in the words.

A fantastic video of Jim Wallis from the "Freedom and Faith" service held in the same town on the same day came to me via email subscription to sojomail (go to sojo.net if you are interested in this provocative commentary). If you use RealPlayer this is the link: rtsp://real.faithandvalues.com/streaming/sojourners/050424_wallis.rm or if you use Windows Media Player this is the link: mms://real.faithandvalues.com/streaming/sojourners/050424_wallis.wmv

Jim says it better than I can, he really gets it, but the gist of it is that if you see and hear what the GOP neocons are doing as wrong, it's time to take the fight to the streets, to stand up and speak your mind, to seek opportunities to tell others within and without the church how you feel.

There is no Biblical basis for attaching God to any political party. My sense is that God wouldn't support any one political party anyway - He's not that kind of entity. We are all His children and we all, depending on the moment, either horribly embarrass Him or provide Him with great joy. I think the Justice Sunday telecast was an embarrassment to all of us, and to God. Just my opinion, my understanding, my personal theology.

The good that came from Justice Sunday, however, is in the embarrassment that I think some in the room and watching on TV or the web must have felt. Even the staunchest listener had to wonder at some point - "Would God exclude any person of faith from His kingdom for their political opinion?" And the simple answer, and the absolute answer is "No." God is not political, although He probably enjoys it when we get it right in His eyes. God, through Jesus Christ His Son, is about forgiveness through faith. Forgiveness trumps all of our mistakes, or sins, whatever they may be. Forgiveness alone is available through faith alone, politics don't matter.

Faith, however, does. Through faith alone we are forgiven. Through faith and baptism we ask the God through the Holy Spirit to enfuse us with the ability to lead better lives, to please God as we walk and talk, and yes, to forgive us as we forgive others.

So - we are left with the responsibility to forgive Senator Frist and those religious leaders for the harm we see them doing to our country, for their extremist spouting of their interpretation of The Word driving non-believers further from The Truth, for the lies we hear them speak. I find grounds for me to personally forgive them based in not knowing what leads them to these conclusions, what their life experiences were like, and in accepting that people, all people, make stupid mistakes. And gosh, do I see those as some stupid theological mistakes they made in their "Justice Sunday."

My forgiveness of them, however, has nothing to do with my desires to strongly oppose them at any opportunity, to spread The Word as I understand it, to work towards an America and a world that will bring God greater joy.

Going somewhere that I am even less learned - isn't it against tax laws to speak politics from the pulpit? My understanding is that a church, being a non-taxed entity for religious reasons, and for the separation of church and state, cannot promote one political ideology over another. If so, can we get those churches non-taxable positions revoked, please?

6 Comments:

Anonymous Meg said...

Last fall I turned on the radio in the middle of a stunningly good speech. It was Julian Bond speaking at the NAACP national convention. The speech was powerful and gave me much-needed hope.

The IRS learned of the speech, in which Bond criticized Bush administration policies, and began an investigation of the NAACP, challenging its tax-exempt status....

Meg

4/30/2005 9:56 PM  
Blogger Christian Democrat said...

Meg -

Not knowing the speech you mention, it's difficult to comment. Knowing that government agencies are being used as part of the neo-cons arsenal when possible comes pretty easily. All the more reason to get the word out that The Word is not theirs alone.

5/01/2005 9:37 AM  
Blogger JP Manzi said...

Great post again, I know of the situation but did not watch it. Excellent points you made here, especially: "
God, through Jesus Christ His Son, is about forgiveness through faith. Forgiveness trumps all of our mistakes, or sins, whatever they may be. Forgiveness alone is available through faith alone, politics don't matter."

God Bless those words.....may we never forget this truth in the midst of our political and theological discussions.

5/02/2005 10:15 AM  
Blogger Christian Democrat said...

JP - thanks again for the comments and encouragement. It's always a little odd for me to go back, reread what I've written and think "did I really mean that?" Usually it comes down to a subtlety of wording and the connotations included. I need to clarify a couple of things here:

1. Who could God be "embarrassed" before? I don't think God can be embarrassed. Let me change that to "disappoint," please, in both uses of the word. Yes, that is a better statement.

2. Forgiveness is not the only thing available through faith. Faith alone can provide forgiveness, but through faith we also lead much richer lives by talking to God, knowing He hears us, and attempting to walk His walk.

3. Politics do matter. Not to God, but to us. We need to clean up Washington and get some more politicians in there that work for the people. And yes, I think we'll find them mostly in the Democratic Party.

5/02/2005 11:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am most put off by ANYONE, Xn or not, who claims to possess absolute certitude about all and everything: God, the cosmos, evolution etc.

5/12/2005 2:15 PM  
Blogger Christian Democrat said...

And you should be.

I don't profess to any complete or perfect understanding of theology and think I state pretty clearly that this is my opinion only, not an absolute interpretation of The Word as it applies to society.

I also state in several instances that each of us has our own interpretation and application set from our understanding of our faith; even in any given church, listening to the same pastor(s) each week, every person has their own relationship with God and Christ.

I am seeking to provide an alternate thinking to those that DO claim to have the perfect understanding, the absolute definition of what it is to be a Christion, namely the neo-cons of the GOP. I truly hope to change some opinions - of Christians that have heard the neo-con pitch and have bought it, as well as those that are put off by Christians because they associate all Christians with what some say.

I truly apologize if I have led you to think differently and hope you will read more of my commentaries and come to some acceptance in so doing.

5/12/2005 2:39 PM  

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