Skip to content

Faith and Politics collide

May 22, 2006

Interesting language tidbit to me. God is Love can be constructed in Greek. It can't in Hebrew. In Hebrew it would have to be something like, "God Loves" or "God always loves". It is a language of action.

Too often we follow the Greek and talk about what things are or should be. We leave out the actual action.

Yesterday I was to finish up a discussion of a Christian's relationship to politics (Whew) and did a great job of getting nothing across I am sure. We did talk about the political climate of Jesus' day and related that to our own climate. Comparing groups then to groups now.

What I didn't get to that I wish I had was how that played out during the civil rights movement in our country. How politics and faith intersected. How zealots thought that any means were justified by the end result.

I grew up being taught that Martin Luther King Jr. was a trouble maker. Everytime I read this I see "God Loves" in action.

an excert:

I have traveled the length and breadth of Alabama, Mississippi and all the other southern states. On sweltering summer days and crisp autumn mornings I have looked at the South's beautiful churches with their lofty spires pointing heavenward. I have beheld the impressive outlines of her massive religious-education buildings. Over and over I have found myself asking: "What kind of people worship here? Who is their God? Where were their voices when the lips of Governor Barnett dripped with words of interposition and nullification? Where were they when Governor Walleye gave a clarion call for defiance and hatred? Where were their voices of support when bruised and weary Negro men and women decided to rise from the dark dungeons of complacency to the bright hills of creative protest?"

Yes, these questions are still in my mind. In deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the church. But be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. Yes, I love the church. How could I do otherwise? l am in the rather unique position of being the son, the grandson and the great-grandson of preachers. Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists.

There was a time when the church was very powerful in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators"' But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated." By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide. and gladiatorial contests.

Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Par from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent and often even vocal sanction of things as they are.

But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it vi lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. May 22, 2006 4:58 pm

    Great words from a great man….thanks for the reminder.

  2. May 23, 2006 9:45 am

    I wrote about growing up in a segregated world at my blog recently. (

    Not until I came face to face with prejudice did I realize how wrong it really was. The church of my day missed a real opportunity to do what was right. I fear that our focus was so much on doctrine and being right that we strained at the Nat and swallow the Camel.

    The teachings of Martin Luther were for the most part ignored. How sad, how very sad.

  3. May 25, 2006 1:50 pm

    An appropriate song to have sung after this speech would have been, “Were you There?”

  4. Anonymous permalink
    June 30, 2006 4:27 pm

    Super color scheme, I like it! Good job. Go on.

  5. Anonymous permalink
    July 17, 2006 7:14 pm

    Interesting site. Useful information. Bookmarked.

  6. Anonymous permalink
    July 19, 2006 2:10 pm

    I really enjoyed looking at your site, I found it very helpful indeed, keep up the good work.

  7. Anonymous permalink
    July 20, 2006 1:06 pm

    I find some information here.

  8. Anonymous permalink
    July 23, 2006 9:59 pm

    Here are some links that I believe will be interested or and

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: