Monday, February 27, 2006

No time for dumb titles

Well, stuff has been on my mind, and Leslie's last post over at Haply Thinking has got me, uh, thinking. It's a good read.

The last time Paul and I went to the bookstore to poke around, we got into a conversation about the latest flap over hiring a gay actor to appear in the movie End of the Spear (about missionaries Nick Saint, et al.) I was clueless about this. When Paul told me about it, my first response was "for REAL?"

It seems to me like conservative Christians don't get it sometimes.

Aside from the fact that many seem to treat these movies as though they are sacred in and of themselves, I am troubled by the notion that homosexuals cannot offer anything good or beneficial to society or, most especially, to a Christian.

What, honestly, is to be gained by protesting, boycotting, complaining etc. the selection of actors in a movie? Have people somehow linked the success of a homosexual in their profession to the advancement of the homosexual agenda? If that's it, then I'd like to say... that's ludicrous.

So, that thought had been brewing for a while when I read Leslie's post. In it, she discusses Al Mohler's response to feminist Linda Hirshman. (Ms. Hirshman has recently been on TV expressing her concern over the number of educated women who are opting out of the workplace in favor of raising a family.) The post expresses her displeasure with Mr. Mohler's methods. Many of the thoughts Leslie has shared are perfect expressions some of the thoughts I have been wrestling with.

Did I say it's a good read? Well, it is.

One of the things that has stuck with me as I am reading Jim Wallis's book God's Politics is his critique of what he calls "the politics of complaint." He says:

We must never be satisfied with mere protest or complaint about the things we believe are wrong. Rather we must do the harder, more creative, and ultimately more prophetic work of finding and offering alternatives.

In this excerpt, he is specifically talking about how we approach things in the political arena. But I think it applies here.

Later on in his book, Wallis compares the civil rights movement to that of the Christian right. Both movements were largely undertaken by the Church. The civil rights movement, as he points out, sought to raise people's awareness and change the moral compass by which actions were judged. This is in contrast to the Christian right, which, from the very beginning, had a legislative agenda. "But," says Wallace, referring to the Christian right, "the critical step of persuading by moral argument and building a constituency for change was neglected." (Emphasis mine.)

Again, this is politics he speaks of. But the idea is the same: change in the hearts of men is not brought about by legislation, or by complaining, or by boycotting, or by deeming people's contributions invalid. In most cases, I think these just make people angrier and more defensive (and less likely to embrace Christ.) If we really want to see change in our society, we need to engage in the moral argument, and, above all, we need to love people. And that means seeing the good in "sinners," affirming what is good even in nonchristians, serving where we can to meet needs... letting people see Christ in us, and allowing the Holy Spirit to elicit change in people's lives.

Now, if you haven't done so already, please go read Leslie's post. IT'S GOOD!



Anonymous Cup-a-Joe said...

As I read Leslie's post and left a good link to a great resource (
I thought about the laundry list of good works that she says we can do in concert with non-believers. My question is, how many of us who complain about the non-christian world-view are actually doing something about the social problems we are confronted with daily?

He has shown thee, O man, what is good and what the Lord requires of thee; TO DO JUSTICE, to love mercy, to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8

Connecting this to the previous posts about our purchases and robbing the poor... how are we doing justice? Notice the verb is not LIKE justice, ENJOY justice, RECEIVE justice, but DO justice. Sounds like an action word to me. What are we doing about it as Christians?

Tue Feb 28, 07:12:00 AM  
Blogger Leslie said...

Thanks for the link.

And Cup 0 Joe asks a good question. One that I am asking, and really I'm not satisfied with what I am doing at the moment.

I have been thinking about that. But I've always believed in "good works" what is beginning to animate more of my activites lately, and our lives right now are in flux, is the idea that Christ, when he says, "the least among you are the greatest" well, he meant that. So those who are not receiving justice need to have it so that they can take thier place in God's Kingdom. I am learning for the first time their significance.

Tue Feb 28, 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger Addie said...

I've read Leslie's post and loved it. I've printed it out and I'm processing it still.

Two things I didn't know before I read your post
1.) A gay actor had worked on End of the Spear
2.) There was a big hoopla over that.

You are so correct in saying that conservative Christians just don't get it. Instead of coming away from working on this project having seen a great story of how God worked in people's lives through tremendous circumstances, the actor comes away with "Once again, Christians are showing how mean-spirited they really are."

Wed Mar 01, 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger Leslie said...

okay, i'm reading over my comments and I can't really understand them.

So let me rephrase:

I don't think we heal those who need healing or give justice to those who need justice or set free those who need freeing simply for obedience sake, although that is part of it. I think we also do so (and I'm still working on this so I don't have everything worked out yet) because "the least of these" have a significant role to play in the Kindom of God. I'm not sure how these last statements work with a sovereign God, but I think my understanding of God's sovereignty has led me to allow social issues to take a back seat to worship. Now I'm beginning to think the two are very much one in the same.

Some actions are in the works based on this idea, and I'll let you know about those when things are more definite.

Sat Mar 04, 01:09:00 AM  

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