Tuesday, August 1, 2006

There They Go Again

It seems we can't get a break from the left or the right.
The following is an email response I sent to Paul Chesser, regarding a column he wrote for The American Spectator. My comments were directed specifically to what he had to say about average church goers being "politically aware". I did a double take when I first read it and I must say I was a bit irritated. The gist of his column was beware of categorizing evangelicals, yet that is just what he did. Anyway my letter is below.


I want to thank you for doing exactly what you accuse everyone else of in your column "Values Apply to All " My favorite sentence was "But go to your local evangelistic Christian church on any Sunday and ask the politically aware (few are, sadly) what their chief concerns are about the country, and the answers will be little, if any, different from what you hear from anyone else." Thank you for 100% missing the boat. It seems you are just as ignorant as the rest of the media/pundit/Hollywood crowd when it comes to what your average Christian is thinking. I don't mean that as insult but as a sad fact.

I attend a small Baptist Church just outside of Houston, Texas. We have a nice cross section of America who attend. Blue collar, white collar, young old, poor, and wealthy. Engineers, police officers, teachers, secretarys, sales people, machinists, mechanics, ditch-diggers etc. In the three and a half years I have been a member of this congregation I have never had a discussion with anyone about, "Issue No. 1 likely is: Do I have the promise of a job to provide for my family? No. 2 (and closely related to No. 1): Can I afford in the current economy to meet my family's needs? Never, not once and I am usually there three or four days out of the week. I lead a ministry and serve in other capacities. (When I am not there I am out pounding the pavement to make a living.)

Here's a slice of recent discussion topics.
Gas prices, we grumble and gripe but what can you do.
The war in Iraq, it stinks but it is necessary. There is usually someone in the military on our prayer list each week. We are always praying for our troops.
Iran, why haven't we destroyed the mullahs? We know they have caused most of the problems in the middle east since Carter. Why haven't we bombed them into the stone age? Why haven't we done the same to Syria? I know I know, how can you say that and be a Christian. You see, we who aren't so "politically aware" know that without freedom we will be back in the arena fighting off lions. We know the consequences of Iran nuking Haifa, or Tel Aviv. We also know Iraq, Iran, N. Korea, Syria, and Hezbollah are all connected and the sooner they are dealt with the fewer lives lost.
These are actually rare conversations. We don't go to church to solve the world's problems. We go to praise and worship Christ our Saviour. To fellowship and serve. To love our God with all our might, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. We don't always do a good job, we screw up a lot but, we don't stop trying. We all have a sinful nature, but Christ has made it possible by His death on the cross that we can be saved. He died for all of us. You, me, and even the mullahs. Our job is to accept, to have faith, to surrender to him. If we don't nothing can save us and we are then truly dead.

I am linking your article to my blog.


Larry Hicks
To hear some Good News, click here.


Helen Losse said...

Hi Larry, I couldn’t get the link to Paul Chesser’s editorial to work but found it quickly on Google.

It seems as thought the essence of his essay is that too few conservative Christians are in tune with the issues and that the men he calls “talking heads” do not speak for all conservative Christians. Those who do not keep up with the issues vote on the one or two issues that are spoken about the loudest and that Christians are not more concerned with politics than non-Christians. When he says, “you won’t hear in unison from the churchgoers, ‘Abortion!’ ‘Homos!’ ‘Porn! ‘Evolution!’, he is pointing out that not all Christians think alike, despite what the media says. Then he asks how one’s faith colors his view of larger issues. Chesser is right when he says “all issues have moral implications.” The “values voters,” to whom the Republican Party caters, “should [] apply their worldview to everything that concerns mankind.”

An editorial in Sunday’s NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/30/us/30pastor.html?ei=5090&en=6e51918eb9327aca&ex=1311912000&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&pagewanted=all might shed some light here. Reverend Gregory A. Boyd of Maplewood, Minnesota refused to endorse Republican issues—“conservative political candidates and causes”—and lost about 20% of his congregation. Why? Boyd first became concerned a few years back as he visited a mega-church that held a Fourth of July celebration in which the congregation sang “God Bless America” while a video showed “fighter jets flying over a hill silhouetted with crosses.” The more he thought about what is going on the more he felt that “there are the two buttons you push if you want Christians to act.” “And those,” said Boyd, “are the two buttons Jesus never pushed.”

For an excellent take on Sunday’s editorial, see Sherry Chandler’s blog. http://sherrychandler.com/index.php?cat=8

I’m not sure I fully understand you response to Chester. You say your favorite sentence is “But go to your local evangelistic Christian church on any Sunday and ask the politically aware (few are, sadly) what their chief concerns are about the country, and the answers will be little, if any, different from what you hear from anyone else.” Why? Aren’t gas prices, the War in Iraq, why we haven’t kicked ass (my paraphrase) the same questions asked on the street? But the conclusion you draw about freedom isn’t mine at all. I’m a Pacifist and a Christian. (Actually I’m a pacifist because I’m a Christian). The early church was both pacifist http://www.mb-soft.com/believe/txn/pacifism.htm and socialist, though some will deny it. I’m not following what I’m told a good Christian ought (i.e., the men in charge.) I think my faith makes me different from the Christian mob who are blindly following Bush, who love him because he quotes scripture, is opposed to abortion, and uses the military to “fight for freedom.” Not all Christians think alike. Some of us think war is obsolete. Some of us think we obtain freedom by means other than physical might. Some of us see Jesus as the Peaceful Savior. Each person (Christain or not) must make up his/her own mind. Maybe that’s what Chesser’s talking about. He certainly isn’t mad about what you do at your church.

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Larry said...

My point is this. He is writing about talking heads all lumping christians into one category, and then he turns around and does the same thing. By saying most church goers aren't politically astute.


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