Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Beck calls Wallis a Marxist

When Glenn Beck calls Jim Wallis a Marxist, I have to wonder if Beck knows what a Marxist is.

Because Jim Wallis is no Marxist. He is, however, a Christian through and through.

Jim was born and reared in Detroit in an Evangelical family. Jim's work over the years has consistently been rooted in Jesus Christ and everything Jesus teaches.

Jim's leadership of Sojourners is without question. His loyalty to Christ unimpeachable. His theological acumen and social awareness is formed and empowered by the Bible! Jim Wallis is a man of deep faith and great compassion.

And what's Beck talking about when he's critical of Obama for having spiritual advisors. Bush had them all the time - pastors were flocking to the White House, tripping over one another to get there, including Bill Hybels from Willow Creek and Rick Warren from Saddleback, and many others as well. How do I know? I've heard them speak of their White House trips and late-night calls from the President.

Presidents have always had spiritual advisors - look at Billy Graham's influence.

But getting back to the charge of Marxism.

This mindless hurling of inflammatory words, this casting of aspersions, this insidious attack on someone's character, is damaging to the public well-being and drags discourse down into the dumpster levels of the mind.

Jim Wallis is no Marxist.

When something like this happens, it's time for Christians to speak out and speak up. Whatever one's theological family, the prohibition of "false witness against your neighbor" is one of the Ten Commandments, one of the most basic elements of godly living.

Lies and misrepresentation are a blight on the soul and a serious violation of God's will and purpose.

Beck is wrong.


As for me and my house, I'll go with Wallis any time.

He's a follower of Jesus Christ our Lord!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Conservative Christians and Creationism

For many a conservative Christian, the road ahead is frightening and painful. For me, a life-long Christian and a Presbyterian pastor for 40 years, it's sad beyond description how the conservative churches in this country have failed. Rather than equipping their members to live well in the world - being the salt of the earth - they have vilified the world, creating one enemy after the other, offering, not enlightenment for their congregations, but shelter from the world - Plato's cave comes to mind. In recent years, home-schooling has provided an additional haven for them and their children.

Yet they learned an important lesson from liberals - social activism, and one of their pieces: take charge of school boards.

It's terribly important that liberals pay attention. Our track record on civil rights reminds me that organization is critical, and perhaps we've got to go to work and be sure that we have the right people on our school boards. We can write and talk all we want, but if we're not represented on our school boards, our voice is meaningless.

Hopefully, Mr. Harris and what is happening in Texas will energize liberals around the nation to take a close look at their school boards, and, if needed, throw some hats into the ring and seek election.

To read more about Mr. Harris and Connecticut, check out Michael Zimmerman's fine article in Huffington Post.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Small Promises of God

Been thinking a lot about Genesis 15, since I preached from it Feb. 28.

Been thinking about the small promises of God - God promises Abram a bleak 400 years of slavery for his descendants, and though God will rescue them at the right time and bring them to the land, there's no promise here of bliss, but only of life.

Abram, at least, is promised a long life and a peaceable death.

God's promises are small, but real ... more real than all the bloated, artificial, self-seeking, egotistical, manipulative, fear-driven, promises of our world - buy this, get this, do this, be like this, and you will ... (fill in the blank).

Been also wondering why Christians have bloated the promises of God.

Pop christian music is particularly bloated ...

TV preachers are pretty bloated, too ... and hungry for our money.

How many good and decent preachers have stood in a pulpit, compelled (by what forces?) to offer bloated promises, "If only we give our life to Christ - then, by golly, our teeth will whiten, we'll lose weight, popularity issues will be resolved, employment and promotion will come our way, parking places will magically appear while our godless neighbors have to circle the block endlessly, like some bizarre scene out of Dante's Purgatory ... while others die in freeway crashes and airplane accidents, our guardian angel will shelter us. Our kids will grow up to be successful; we'll live in a beautiful home in the right part of town. We'll be free of illness, and if you should get sick (silly me!), Jesus will heal you. And, then, when we die, off to heaven we go. All we need to do is ...."
What is up with this?

Are not the real promises of God good enough?