Dear friends in Christ,
I’ve been pondering the Gospel and politics this week. Two things have happened to get me thinking.
First, the Archbishop of Canterbury last week criticized sharply corporate greed and increasing economic disparity. You can read a bit about what he said in the Washington Post. Naturally, there was a fierce response from those who said Archbishop Justin Welby should stick to religion and avoid politics.
Second, several people have contacted me about the author of this month’s meditations in Forward Day by Day, saying that the author is “too political” and that our devotions should “stick to religion.”
Here’s the challenge for us, especially those of us who are United States Christians. We do live in a time of increasing partisanship and social fracture. It’s tempting to look for some quieter spaces into which we might retreat from the ever-louder cacophony of talking heads and yelling politicians. It might seem, to some, that church should be such a place of refuge.
Alas, the Gospel will not permit us to avoid issues that our culture has labeled as political. The scriptural witness is clear, for example, that we must welcome strangers. We must care for the poor. We must decry those who would label some as sinners unworthy of our love and care. We must share our wealth. And so on.
To take up these topics is not to inject politics into religion. To take up these topics is the very essence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Now, one can make the claim, with some support, that partisanship is to be eschewed in the church. I agree with this. We won’t be publishing meditations about tax brackets or mechanisms for funding health care or precise immigration quotas. These are all things that reasonable Christians can and should disagree about.
However, we at Forward Movement will continue to engage fundamental issues — including economic inequality, racism, sexism, and violence, to name a few – because they are key issues not just for civil society but for Christians.
The Gospel isn’t Republican or Democratic or Labour or Conservative or Green or any other party. But the Gospel demands that we work for a world in which justice, mercy, and grace reign supreme. Thanks be to God.
Today’s Flash Sale: Broken
Before Jesus broke the bread, he blessed it.
In the age of social media, where our lives are curated to show only our best and most beautiful selves, it is easy to believe we are the only ones who are broken. But we are not alone. We are all broken and in need of God’s blessing. No one has it all together; no person is perfect.
In essays both humorous and achingly vulnerable, author Ryan Casey Waller urges us to join him in pouring out our brokenness, not just to God but to each other. Waller takes us through the trials of following Jesus during seasons of doubt and disbelief, anger, shame, and even hate, but always brings us back to the amazing news that Jesus blessed the bread before he broke it.
Through Jesus, our brokenness is blessed, our wounds healed, and our hearts made whole.
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