Perhaps you know a way to love people while saying that it’s only the church’s job to care for them while others work against their interests. Perhaps you know a way to love someone in the here and now while only caring about the afterlife. Perhaps you know how to believe in mercy not universally applied, or compassion that keeps its distance. But I’m afraid I don’t.
By what ethical framework do we say that individuals and churches are supposed to take one stance towards the poor and dispossessed, but as a collective nation we should take a different — even opposite — stance? If something is right or good depending solely upon who carries it out, is that not a form of moral relativism?
Martin Luther King Jr. knew that the fight for justice and equality must continue, but he also knew that no protest or law or court battle can change a heart. What can is love, but not just any kind of love.
Allegiance to Jesus’ kind of Kingdom will inevitably cause division with those who have different priorities. Peacemakers get in the way of warmongers. Justice hinders the power-brokers. Mercy impedes revenge.
There is one simple and relatively reliable way to distinguish real persecution or marginalization: personal examples.
If a person can provide multiple, real life, personal examples of how they or their community have fallen victim to abuse, harassment or exclusion, based on who they are and with little recourse and choice, then it’s likely the real deal. If generalities are all a person can give in response, or if they return to a few isolated incidents that are not systemic, then it is likely manufactured (and likely stoked by certain media outlets).
From Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority to William Barber II’s Moral Mondays, the last few decades in American life have seen a bolder and different kind of pairing of between the religious and the political, on all points of the spectrum.
In these troubled times, we now pay tribute to our savior. It is in you we find our safety and security. It is to you we run when we are threatened; when our enemies come against our children and our families, we turn to you.
Especially when there’s cultural debate around a particular issue, people get trolled, families split apart, and pastors get fired when you start asking how we can take Jesus seriously.
For those of us who grew up in Southern Baptist or other evangelical circles, “revival” is a well-known phenomenon, especially for those older than I am. Some remember “big tent revivals.” Others remember special guest weekend preachers at their churches,…