Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Comfort the afflicted? Afflict the comfortable?

When I think pastorally, I feel some sympathy for the concerns people have about UU church life being too much about politics.

But other times, I ask myself, what is the proper response of a faith community or a denomination at a time when our country is practicing torture, extraordinary rendition and what would be considered war crimes if performed by any other government on earth?

I'll admit that I am a pretty serious activist and don't need to hear about these issues from my church. And I'll admit that I've had enough going on in my life that I need pastoral care as much as anyone. And my sermon didn't mention any of these political issues this last Sunday.

But what is the purpose of our religious life together? To feel better? To keep us entertained? To feel smarter than people who go to "regular" churches?

How can our worship together serve its prophetic function without everyone complaining about politics? I've come to believe that anything that involves people and power is politics and there is no way around it. I'd rather plead guilty to being political in church than forget that silence is the voice of complicity and that the prophetic voice is just as important as the pastoral.


At 7:09 AM, Blogger Robin Edgar said...

Silence is indeed the voice of complicity and I take note of the complicit silence of the U*Us, including UUA President Bill Sinkford, in response to the U*U injustices, abuses and hypocrisy that I have been bringing to their attention for over a decade now. . .

At 8:27 PM, Blogger PeaceBang said...

J, I think this is a false dichotomy you've set up. What is the point of worship? To bring to people's attention the things we can read in the paper every day (and do?)? Or is it to bring us all to reflection of morality and general,to teach the art of theological reflection and to cultivate reverence?

People aren't so much complaining about politics, I think, as they are about empty worship that consists of liberal grandstanding and talk-show tactics. Worship services aren't intended to bring to our attention issues of the day -- they are intended to help us look at our times, and all times, through the lens of religious values.

Too many churches are utterly failing to do this. They aren't prophetic -- they're mistaking their frustration with the current administration for a legitimate religious mission. People aren't buying it because its patently secular and partisan.

At 11:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Historically, people of faith, have taken a stand, about politics like when Christ said, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesars’ and unto God the things that are Gods’.” There is a separation, but an awareness that we live a spiritual life, in man governed existance, until...
If Christ did not tell people to obey the laws, but live spiritually, they could have gone to prison, or worse.

The the Apostle Paul, advised and motivated us to use the whole armor of God, or all the resources we have to protect ourselves. Because of where we live, the attacks can be at a personal level, a spiritual level or a community or global level.

The Bible says, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13).

God ordered the Israelites to go to war (1 Samuel 15:3; Joshua 4:13). War is never good, but neither are we to be led to our destruction, like lambs to the slaughter.

Ecclesiastes 3:8 “there is…a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. See also, (Romans 3:10-18).

Christians are not to oppose government placed in authority over them (Romans 13:1-4; 1 Peter 2:17).

If we do not discuss the issues in our most spiritual places of worship, how then do we pray for Godly wisdom, safety for all the world, (Philippians 4:6-7)?

Blessings to you and yours and may you never have to go to war. But if you do, may those who know you and love you, keep you in their prayers, and all the rest of the world pray for peace and a quick end to conflict.
Former U.S. Army Soldier, Combat Medic & Pscy Tech,
PFC Kalletta


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