Sunday, July 30, 2006

Nice Things to Read on a Sunday Morning...

...especially when they come from an article discussing how the pastor of a megachurch is refusing to make "Christian" and "Republican" synonyms:
The requests came from church members and visitors alike: Would he please announce a rally against gay marriage during services? Would he introduce a politician from the pulpit? Could members set up a table in the lobby promoting their anti-abortion work? Would the church distribute “voters’ guides” that all but endorsed Republican candidates? And with the country at war, please couldn’t the church hang an American flag in the sanctuary?
After refusing each time, Mr. Boyd finally became fed up, he said. Before the last presidential election, he preached six sermons called “The Cross and the Sword” in which he said 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.
“When the church wins the culture wars, it inevitably loses,” Mr. Boyd preached. “When it conquers the world, it becomes the world. When you put your trust in the sword, you lose the cross.”
Mr. Boyd subsequently lost 20% of his congregation. But, he was voicing
"A common concern... that the Christian message is being compromised by the tendency to tie evangelical Christianity to the Republican Party and American nationalism, especially through the war in Iraq."
Mmm. Amen to that, preacher! And,
"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."
I love this point. Why? Because in the brouhaha over the true "nature" of Judas Iscariot at my church, when some people try to suggest that he was just a fallible, weak human being, many more-conservative members say he was a vindictive soul, angry at Jesus for not setting up a wealthy, worldly kingdom. Now, if Judas was wrong for that 2000 years ago, why has that become the mission of far right Christians these days?

And, dear to my own heart, he seems to know a little history:
"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."
This man even addresses the Christian persecution syndrome:
Mr. Boyd lambasted the “hypocrisy and pettiness” of Christians who focus on “sexual issues” like homosexuality, abortion or Janet Jackson’s breast-revealing performance at the Super Bowl halftime show. He said Christians these days were constantly outraged about sex and perceived violations of their rights to display their faith in public.
A veritable "Hallelujah" seems in order.


Quinn said...

I love this.

Elle said...

you know i love when you love my stuff!

JustMe said...

i second that alleluia!

this mr. boyd sounds like a good preacher.

Revelations and ruminations from one southern sistorian...