Monday, July 31, 2006

Christians as Messengers of Hope Not Hate

In his six sermons, Mr. Boyd laid out a broad argument that the role of Christians was not to seek “power over” others — by controlling governments, passing legislation or fighting wars. Christians should instead seek to have “power under” others — “winning people’s hearts” by sacrificing for those in need, as Jesus did, Mr. Boyd said.

Mr. Boyd is Reverend Gregory A. Boyd, pastor of Woodland Hills Church in the suburbs of St. Paul, Minnesota. The quote above is from an article about him in yesterday's New York Times. Boyd believes that churches shouldn't be telling congregants how to vote, and Christians shouldn't be telling people how to live their lives. How refreshing.

But he's not alone. There are others, like Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri (who happens to be both a Methodist pastor and a congressman), calling for the government to stop politiking in the name of Jesus.

""This is shamefully political and sinfully divisive," Cleaver said during an interview in his Capitol Hill office. "It's bad theology because there is nothing biblical about creating divisions between people."

Cleaver is referring here to the gay marriage amendment Congress voted on a couple of weeks ago. Whereas Boyd doesn't share his party affiliation (although he indicates he has conservative leanings when it comes to abortion and gay rights) Cleaver is a Democrat.

Whichever party they each vote for, however, both agree that it is not the place of Christians to rule over others, and they use their unique positions of power to preach this message.

It seems to me that these days, these two men are something of an anomaly. Christianity has gotten so wrapped up in our government (or our government has gotten so wrapped up in Christianity) that it has become nearly impossible to figure out where one ends and the other begins.

I applaud these men for not banging the rest of us in the head with their Christianity - personally, I might be more inclined to convert if Christians acted with this kind of tolerance (rather than bigotry) more often.

1 Comments:

Blogger LB said...

Before you convert, you should read this book: The End of Faith by Sam Harris. Or at least check out the first two chapters. I don't recall if he references gay rights specifically, but his analysis of the dangers of sublimating one's reason in favor of religious beliefs certainly can be applied to the Same-Sex Marriage debate.

3:05 PM  

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