Today's Orlando Sentinel has a good essay on Christian involvement in political issues by Joel Hunter, pastor of Northland Community Church. We visited Northand a few times, including when they were still meeting in a partially-coverted roller skating rink. ("I knew him when....") For many reasons it's not the church for us, but there's no doubt they do good work.

A few points from the article:

  • [B]etween the liberal's panic of a Christian lockstep toward theocracy on the left, and the fundamentalist's paranoia about America's persecution of Christians on the right, a growing number of conservative Christians believe we can be more constructive in our political involvement. Intent on dousing the fire in the morning, many of us see a need for more positive approaches and expansion to more oft-mentioned biblical issues.

  • [W]e must change our tone. Fear and anger get immediate, but usually destructive, results. Ideas compete; radicals attack. Let's stick to discussions of solutions rather than accusations of those who disagree with us.

  • [W]e must desire more than political gain (and be linked to biblical values rather than a political party). Winning at the ballot box can mask the need to be more personally responsible for our neighbor.

  • [W]e must quit slinging slogans and propose our biblical ideals in an intellectually credible way....Governments don't need more special-interest lobbyists; they need more groups that can work with them in creating solutions.

  • Jesus said, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's" (Matthew 22:21). In this country, our government ("Caesar") doesn't just expect taxes; it expects participation—input, service, and political involvement from every citizen, including the Christians. Public service should be a normal part of every Christian's spiritual responsibility.
Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, August 13, 2006 at 10:50 am | Edit
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Followers of Jesus advance justice to transform public life. But often justice seems to be "just us" and not the common good. No doubt there are competing visions about what the common good is. I would like to see a genuinely pluralistic public square where all ideas can truly compete, including Christian ones.

Posted by Mark on Saturday, August 19, 2006 at 9:03 pm
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