It’s a busy morning at work today and what I wanted to post this morning isn’t ready yet. So, enjoy this older entry from one of my previous sites:
I’m seeing a distressing trend in the Church (the Church universal, not just the Methodists) that mirrors the current political landscape. That is, we seem to be dividing into competing, if not warring, camps. This is different from the liberal and conservative views of the past. In the good old days, both ideologies had at least learned to agree to disagree. But, this new movement seems to have the same nasty hallmarks that fill current American politics. Of course, a lot of this started back in the 80’s with the Moral Majority and the rise of the Religious Right. But, until the last election, things weren’t as rough as they seem to be now. Case in point, Glenn Beck has encouraged people to leave churches that talk about social and economic justice. I’m not really surprised that a Republican pundit would counsel such action, but I am a bit surprised that there are Christians who would take such a call seriously.
On my Facebook page, I post a quote as my status every day. Some days, they’re secular, other days religious. One day last week, I posted a quote from Shane Claiborne: “If there is anything I have learned from liberals and conservatives, it’s that you can have great answers and still be mean… and that just as important as being right is being nice.” If you’re unfamiliar with Shane, he’s the author of “The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical” and founder of The Potter Street Community, a New Monastic community in Philadelphia. An interesting fellow, all way around. The day I posted this, it seemed to resonate with me for no reason I could put my finger on. Over the past few days, as I made my rounds of the blogs I check out looking for fodder for this one, I was reading The Wesley Report, a blog by Shane Raynor. More often than not, I don’t agree with what Shane has to say, as he’s a more conservative than I am. But, I will say, he rarely fails to make me think. The blog entry that snagged me this time was titled “I’m a Social Justice Christian“. It’s about a video of the same title in which different people espouse their support for the concept of social justice. Shane isn’t a fan of the term “social justice” because, for many (himself included), it conjures up images of government assistance and people abusing the system. He prefers the term “social holiness” instead. This isn’t the first time Shane’s written about social justice. In one post, he mentions Beck’s call for Christians to abandon churches that preach social justice. Statements like this don’t help the conservative cause at all. It’s not right and it’s certainly not “nice”.
All too often these days, it seems that people’s politics are coloring their religion instead of the other way around. I suppose it’s inevitable, that it’s just human nature for one aspect of your beliefs to bleed over into others. I’d like to think that our Christian beliefs would temper our politics and, hopefully, soften our attitude about other people. I’d really like to think we’ve progressed beyond the Crusader mentality and view everyone as “persons of sacred worth”. But, I guess we’re not there yet.