J Walking

J Walking

Red-, blue-, and black-letter Christians

There is a great exchange in Christianity Today about the so-called “red letter Christians” and their political and cultural positioning.
Writer Stan Guthrie argues:

…while Christians should not be beholden to any political party, our politics must be informed by our faith. Unfortunately, the platform of Red-Letter Christians always seems to come out of the wash blue, just as some other “nonpartisan” Christian groups consistently align with the Republicans.
If you believe ending poverty requires more government spending and a higher minimum wage; if you believe in a manmade global warming crisis; if you oppose school vouchers; if homosexual marriage is no big deal (and in fact a civil right); and if you are tired of talking about the 50 million unborn human beings lost to abortion since 1973, then you know which lever to pull.
How we vote as Christians may differ, and that’s okay. But let’s not insist that we are somehow above the political fray. That is just the kind of sophistry the Lord warned against.


In response, Tony Campolo writes:

You got us RLCs right again when you suggested we were anti-war, pro-environment, and deeply committed to ending poverty primarily because we believe Jesus is anti-war, pro-environment, and deeply committed to ending poverty. The only mistake you made was to imply that thinking this way—or trying to influence our government according to these values—makes us the Religious Left:
That you think asking questions such as, “Do the candidates’ budget and tax policies reward the rich or show compassion for poor families?,” or “Do the candidates’ policies protect the creation or serve corporate interests that damage it?,” is partisan saddens us. We believe these are the questions that every Christian should be asking, no matter which political party or candidate has the better answers at a given time in history.


This is a hint of a much larger debate that will be occurring during the next year between the so-called religious right and the so-called religious left. It will be a debate about theology, about politics, about culture, and about the nature of Jesus. It is a good debate to be having. I just hope it is a debate defined in no small part by its humility.

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posted October 14, 2007 at 12:43 pm

Can you explain these terms?

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posted October 14, 2007 at 3:06 pm

Well now, it seems that I am not the only “Christian” out there that sees a Democrat in the Christian hen house. Mr. Campolo is disingenuous to the extreme. All you have to do is view his wife’s actions and behaviors and that of the political left. And, since they (the Campolo’s) are “married” (in the only definition of marriage held out by Christ Jesus) they are one.
Democrats are using the poor tool to inflict the populace with their humanism based ideology and socials movement. The global concerns are being driven by Gaia worshippers, and no Christian should yoke themselves to Al Gore and his awards ceremony validation.
Why can’t Campolo just be honest?
Here we go:
—If you believe ending poverty requires more government spending and a higher minimum wage; if you believe in a manmade global warming crisis; if you oppose school vouchers; if homosexual marriage is no big deal (and in fact a civil right); and if you are tired of talking about the 50 million unborn human beings lost to abortion since 1973, then you know which lever to pull.—
That lever sounds very marxist and sodomite to me. And unless you are still in college, Marx had pure hatred for Christians. Lenin and Stalin, Mao and their latin America club-members, give us clear warning not to involve ourselves with socialism. And King Bera (Kingof Sodom) was so repulsive to Abraham, that he wanted nothing to do with him or his wealthiness at all.
If we Christians are to be honest about our involvement in politics, then “testing ALL THINGS” will result in us never touching Leftist politics. And the “Red Letter Christians” are purely bule politically. One ting I’ll say in somewhat a positive way about Jim wallis, is that he is open about his Demeocrat political action activities. Sojouners is a Democrat organization.
Christians labeled “right wingers” have been caring for the poor and needy, the widow and the orphan AND AS WELL, opposing abortion. They have been consistent on this since the beginning of the Church. Liberals and Progressives have not.
Notice that the Left only sells a tiny bit of the Gospel and Apostolic mission, and that it always contains a very suspect amount of truth, as they reject (and that’s why never teach) repentance and forgiveness. They would lose their clientele.

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posted October 14, 2007 at 3:54 pm

Gaia worshippers, Donny?

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posted October 14, 2007 at 8:14 pm

Right…Gaia worshippers. They’re the ones with the sodomite levers.

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posted October 14, 2007 at 8:48 pm

Just do the research for yourself. That is all I ask of anything I present.
I put the words “Al Gore Gaia” into google. Sometimes the right-wingers are just plain correct:
Here’s a sample:
These people believe in Gaia — an “Earth spirit,” goddess or planetary brain — and they think that human beings can have mystical experiences or a spiritual relationship with this entity. In order to protect Gaia, in their view, the U.S. and other industrial countries have to be prohibited from certain uses of the world’s natural resources. This is called “sustainable development.”
In general and secular terms, this cult, which combines aspects of the animal rights and radical environmentalist movements, holds that human beings are exploiting the Earth and other living creatures for selfish purposes.
Congressional Concern
But the religious overtones of this movement are too obvious to ignore. Rep. Helen Chenoweth (R-Idaho) has described this phenomenon as “environmental religion” and says that it has “profound constitutional implications” because of the First Amendment prohibition on government establishment of religion. Columnist Alston Chase, a reformed environmentalist, agrees, warning that “It may be only a matter of time before America becomes a complete theocracy — a place where, in the name of environmentalism, science and religion fuse with civil authority to rule the populace.”1
Dr. Michael S. Coffman, president of Environmental Perspectives, says, “They are instituting a new state religion.” But it is a religion at sharp variance with the Judeo-Christian foundations of the American constitutional republic. A document mandated by the U.N.-sponsored Convention on Biological Diversity, the Global Biodiversity Assessment, explicitly refers to Christianity as a faith that has set humans “apart from nature,” a process in which nature has “lost its sacred qualities.” The document states:
Conversion to Christianity has therefore meant an abandonment of an affinity with the natural world for many forest dwellers, peasants, fishers all over the world…The northeastern hilly states of India bordering China and Myanmar supported small scale, largely autonomous shifting cultivator societies [until the] 1950’s. These people followed their own religious traditions that included setting part between 10% and 30% of the landscape as sacred groves and ponds.2
On the other hand, this U.N. document asserts that the eastern religious traditions such as Buddhism and Hinduism “did not depart as drastically from the perspective of humans as members of a community of beings including other living and non-living elements.” Thus, the U.N. favors non-Christian religions as faithful stewards of the Earth.

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posted October 14, 2007 at 11:15 pm

Global warming, if it is going to happen as 90% of scientists believe, will affect poor countries far more than affluent ones, will flood areas that can least protect themselves, and will cause drought in the sub-Saharan areas far worse than has been seen in modern times, causing huge population shifts. It is easy to say that Al Gore and those concerned about climate change are “Gaia worshippers” and release yourself from any responsibility, but it’s far too facile and dishonest.
It seems to me that if man was truly charged with stewardship of this planet, we have more of a need to start doing so, and stop seeing things as red or blue, and start seeing things as black and white.
The evidence is there; I really don’t think that Christianity and science need to be diametrically opposed.

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posted October 15, 2007 at 7:52 am

Donny, thanks for the link to the hilarious website! Obviously the effort to connect environmentalism with something anti-Christian or pagan or DEMONIC will resonate with some.
I doubt that all the Gaia worshippers in the US could fill an average-sized basketball arena, but that’s neither here nor there. If people want to worship Gaia or Athena or six-armed blue goddessses or resurrected god-men, I’m complacently indifferent.
The quotes that you posted like–“It may be only a matter of time before America becomes a complete theocracy — a place where, in the name of environmentalism, science and religion fuse with civil authority to rule the populace”– are, not to put too fine a point on it, deeply stupid.
Once again you manage to score an Own Goal with your “research.”

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posted October 15, 2007 at 10:33 am

It’s not “Gaia worship,” it’s panentheism (not to be confused with “pantheism”). Panentheism is the Christian notion that God is not only transcendent, but also imminent (omnipresent). Psalm 148 is a beautiful expression of this concept, as is the hymn “Joy to the World.”
The purpose of creation is to give glory to God. Of course, destruction of some part of that creation will always be necessary to sustain human life. For instance, every food we eat was once part of a living thing. By giving us dominion over creation, God charged us with the responsibility to rule His creation wisely.
(Let me know when I start veering into paganism!)
To the wise ancients who wrote our Scriptures, the bounty of creation must have seemed limitless. Today, however, it’s self-evident that our natural resources are, to some degree, finite. If we are to exercise our God-given dominion over creation wisely, we must use creation to satisfy human need, while checking its use to mollify human greed. We will inevitably disagree about where to draw the line between the two. As Christians, how should we handle such disagreements? With love, of course.
As a starting point, I’m going to try to do a better job loving Donny. I hope he’ll return the favor.

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Larry Parker

posted October 15, 2007 at 11:40 pm

Ah, Helen Chenoweth … rest her soul.
But insanely hypocritical in her Religious Right Beliefs and an incredibly flawed “messenger” for you to quote, Donny.

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posted November 3, 2007 at 10:51 pm

I think for gore to receive the nobel peace prize is not small ‘ bball size groupies, his resonance with and for the earth needing an advocate is not just for some cultish egoists. The reality of service is our humility to live our lives with the presence of respect for and the sacramentality of the earth’s wittness to a living, breathing, not anthropomorphized evolving work that requires our not being so egocentric to think God is some guy tapping his desk worrying about our being with our favorite lattee.
There are many ways to shift our ‘ filters’ to see the world as God sees it. It is not thru our driving our hummer and closing our filter/heart to how the earth is suffering, from our egoism.
To think of our infinite capacity to engage with the Soul of the Universe, the Trinitarian Host of Hosts, we are guests.I think most scientists as gallileo who were ‘ martyred’ for their thinking consciously should be a reminder. Jesus died for our being a part of the creation, which in all creation is evidence of the call that if we do not do our part, we will have to be replaced..submission not to some authority figure to keep filling coffers that strip the earth for just a few.

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