I was watching a news show on PBS the other day and they had a segment about the growth of evangelical megachurches around the country. I'm not a fan of the megachurch model, but I understand how some people are drawn to them. The story showed several congregations around the country who were very proud to show people what they had to offer - including snippets of conservative preachers blasting same-sex marriage and abortion. I don't understand why these are the big issues to preach on, but they are the stereotypical positions for these evangelical churches. So what? These churches are growing - the numbers of them and the numbers of members they have. I'll be honest - that scares me. Not just because they tend to be conservative and I'm not - I don't think they preach sound theology. And I didn't think there was an alternative until I read this story in the July 30th NY Times.
The story talks with Rev. Gregory A Boyd, a pastor at one of these evangelical megachurches outside Minneapolis/St. Paul who did a preaching series putting down the churches who get too politically involved.
In his six sermons, 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. Christians should instead seek to have “power under” others — “winning people’s hearts” by sacrificing for those in need, as Jesus did, Mr. Boyd said. [snip]
“I am sorry to tell you,” he continued, “that America is not the light of the world and the hope of the world. The light of the world and the hope of the world is Jesus Christ.
This pastor is by no means a liberal (he admittedly doesn't approve of abortion or homosexuality) but he might really have something with this. I don't know though - maybe I'm just as bad as the conservative, evangelical stereotype but going to other way. I like when my pastor gives a sermon that talks about the reasons a Christian shouldn't be pro-war or why we should vote for certain people who have committed to working against poverty. Those are political choices based on faith values that fall on the liberal end of the spectrum. My faith also tells me that my sexual orientation isn't an issue for God (or Jesus) and I honestly don't know what to do with abortion (I'm fairly anti-abortion but also condemn bombing the clinics and men sticking women with the babies they helped create - it would be a whole different world if men got pregnant).
So, what do you think?? Is there a place for churches to get active in politics? Is this pastor correct in thinking the cross must remain separate to be true?? Is that possible in this day and age?? I recommend reading the whole news story - food for thought if nothing else.