J Walking

Relevant Magazine has an interesting feature about the future of the church. It features Rick Warren, Rob Bell, and other Christian leaders. Here is their take on politics:

How should Christians be involved in the political system?
Rob Bell: At our church we bring out the fact that the Gospel is obviously political, yet we are aggressively nonpartisan. We are interested in being a voice for those who have no voice. Too often the party line becomes, “If you’re a Christian, then of course you’re voting like us,” and that’s crazy. As the people of God, our postures should be aggressively nonpartisan and always veering toward the oppressed and the marginalized and those who have no voice, as opposed to the endless self-preservation and protection. In our city they’re shutting down community pools because they say there isn’t funding for it. So there are all these kids, especially in the urban center of Grand Rapids, who won’t be able to swim in the summer. We think that would piss Jesus off. For us it’s not right that on one side of town they’re building pools and on the other side of town they’re shutting them down. That’s an injustice. We think Jesus is about pools.
Lauren Winner: I have arguments with dear friends who didn’t vote in 2004 because they were so disgusted with all the options. I understood their disgust, but I was totally undone by their choice not to vote. My feeling is, we don’t have the luxury of not voting. American policy has a major impact on the whole world, and most of the world can’t vote in our elections. Those of us who can vote have, in my view, an obligation. I myself am an active Democrat. I don’t think the Democratic Party is perfect, and I don’t agree with every detail of the party platform, but the fact that a political party is not perfect does not exempt me from participating. This is, of course, larger than a question of just voting or participating in partisan politics. It is really a question of Christians participating in the civic sphere. Participating in the public sphere might mean using, and supporting, public libraries whose budgets are being slashed across the country. It might mean bringing Christian traditions of just war or pacifism to bear on American militarism. It might mean volunteering in your neighborhood public school, whether or not you have kids who go there. It might mean being committed to live in one place for a long time, for it is only when we live with some stability in one place that we have the opportunity to reckon with the long-term consequences of our individual and civic choices.
Efrem Smith: We should be involved in politics in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He never sold out to the Democrats or Republicans. He ticked them both off as he served as a prophetic voice. We must speak truth to power and advocate for the poor, the outcast, the sick and the unborn. The Church ought to be transforming government, not the other way around. I’m concerned as an evangelical that my church has traded in being prophetic for power and privilege.

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