The mid-term elections last month were, for me, yet another exercise in disappointment – Republicans who don’t really give more than lip service to my concern for traditional values; Democrats who are learning to talk the talk but don’t even come close to walking the walk.
The deeper I’ve gone into what, according to Jesus, really matters, the more politically independent I’ve become and the more theologically minimalist: Salvation comes by grace to obedient followers of Jesus, who are supposed to care about both traditional values and suffering souls.
Very few Christians, however, seem to want to both respect what the Bible says and do the Gospel when it comes to the “widows and orphans.” Whether it’s the GOP or the Dems, Episcopalians or Independent Baptists, seems like everyone expects you to give up one or the other.
I’d really like us to carve out a place for people who want to both believe what the Bible says and do God’s justice, regardless of the stereotypes the extremists will tag you with. We need a place to push away from political parties, denominational labels, and legalistic criticisms and just focus on living an authentic Christian life in our culture.
That’s one reason I was so pleased to see that Rick Warren out at Saddleback Church invited both Barack Obama and Sam Brownback to speak at his Global Summit on AIDS and the Church this past month. Despite indignant howls from certain quarters, Warren stuck to his guns and welcomed both sides of our badly polarized political spectrum to the podium. Warren’s global P.E.A.C.E. Plan vision is built on the rock of the Gospel and reaches out in love to “orphans and widows in their distress.” As James/Jacob said: “Pure religion and undefiled.”
In the spirit of traditional values – journalistic values – AgapePress posted this excellent report by Jim Brown on Warren’s summit, despite the fact that Agape’s neighborhood includes some of the quarters from which the howls were emanating. I commend their report to you.
I hope more believers who see themselves toward one end of the spectrum or the other will turn down the volume on the howlers and listen for a moment to the spirit of the one who announced his ministry with the prophet’s words:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. (Luke 4:18-19 KJV)