PDA

View Full Version : Disowning Conservative Politics,



SnakebyteXX
07-30-2006, 06:00 AM
Disowning Conservative Politics, Evangelical Pastor Rattles Flock

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
Published: July 30, 2006


MAPLEWOOD, Minn. — Like most pastors who lead thriving evangelical megachurches, the Rev. Gregory A. Boyd was asked frequently to give his blessing — and the church’s — to conservative political candidates and causes.


The requests came from church members and visitors alike: Would he please announce a rally against gay marriage during services? Would he introduce a politician from the pulpit? Could members set up a table in the lobby promoting their anti-abortion work? Would the church distribute “voters’ guides” that all but endorsed Republican candidates? And with the country at war, please couldn’t the church hang an American flag in the sanctuary?

After refusing each time, Mr. Boyd finally became fed up, he said. Before the last presidential election, he preached six sermons called “The Cross and the Sword” in which he said the church should steer clear of politics, give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming the United States as a “Christian nation” and stop glorifying American military campaigns.

“When the church wins the culture wars, it inevitably loses,” Mr. Boyd preached. “When it conquers the world, it becomes the world. When you put your trust in the sword, you lose the cross.”

Mr. Boyd says he is no liberal. He is opposed to abortion and thinks homosexuality is not God’s ideal. The response from his congregation at Woodland Hills Church here in suburban St. Paul — packed mostly with politically and theologically conservative, middle-class evangelicals — was passionate. Some members walked out of a sermon and never returned. By the time the dust had settled, Woodland Hills, which Mr. Boyd founded in 1992, had lost about 1,000 of its 5,000 members.

But there were also congregants who thanked Mr. Boyd, telling him they were moved to tears to hear him voice concerns they had been too afraid to share.

“Most of my friends are believers,” said Shannon Staiger, a psychotherapist and church member, “and they think if you’re a believer, you’ll vote for Bush. And it’s scary to go against that.”

Sermons like Mr. Boyd’s are hardly typical in today’s evangelical churches. But the upheaval at Woodland Hills is an example of the internal debates now going on in some evangelical colleges, magazines and churches. A common concern is that the Christian message is being compromised by the tendency to tie evangelical Christianity to the Republican Party and American nationalism, especially through the war in Iraq.

At least six books on this theme have been published recently, some by Christian publishing houses. Randall Balmer, a religion professor at Barnard College and an evangelical, has written “Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America — an Evangelical’s Lament.”

And Mr. Boyd has a new book out, “The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church,” which is based on his sermons.

“There is a lot of discontent brewing,” said Brian D. McLaren, the founding pastor at Cedar Ridge Community Church in Gaithersburg, Md., and a leader in the evangelical movement known as the “emerging church,” which is at the forefront of challenging the more politicized evangelical establishment.

“More and more people are saying this has gone too far — the dominance of the evangelical identity by the religious right,” Mr. McLaren said. “You cannot say the word ‘Jesus’ in 2006 without having an awful lot of baggage going along with it. You can’t say the word ‘Christian,’ and you certainly can’t say the word ‘evangelical’ without it now raising connotations and a certain cringe factor in people.

“Because people think, ‘Oh no, what is going to come next is homosexual bashing, or pro-war rhetoric, or complaining about ‘activist judges.’ ”

Mr. Boyd said he had cleared his sermons with the church’s board, but his words left some in his congregation stunned. Some said that he was disrespecting President Bush and the military, that he was soft on abortion or telling them not to vote.

Article here. (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/30/us/30pastor.html?hp&ex=1154318400&en=f0cf63e262a9a896 &ei=5094&partner=homepage)

Gayle in MD
07-30-2006, 07:02 AM
Hey Snake, I was just about to post this, lol, when I saw your post. It's nice to read that there are some men of the cloth who will stand against the bastardizing of religion for political gain and power.


"The definition of Evil....The exercise of political power, in other words, the exercise of ones will, by overt or covert coersion, in order to avoid spiritual growth."

M. Scott Peck..."People Of The Lie"
Gayle in Md.

Drop1
07-30-2006, 09:12 AM
Well its about time someone realizes you can't create faith,without controlling the mind,and if you make that mind a facist one,you will get the New Christian Right Faith. The Church was founded on Roman Politics,if you don't know that,you don't know sh!t. nAz we gotta call our new Church "Praying Morons"

eg8r
07-31-2006, 06:05 AM
[ QUOTE ]
Like most pastors who lead thriving evangelical megachurches, the Rev. Gregory A. Boyd was asked frequently to give his blessing — and the church’s — to conservative political candidates and causes.


The requests came from church members and visitors alike: Would he please announce a rally against gay marriage during services? Would he introduce a politician from the pulpit? Could members set up a table in the lobby promoting their anti-abortion work? Would the church distribute “voters’ guides” that all but endorsed Republican candidates? And with the country at war, please couldn’t the church hang an American flag in the sanctuary?

After refusing each time, Mr. Boyd finally became fed up, he said. Before the last presidential election, he preached six sermons called “The Cross and the Sword” in which he said the church should steer clear of politics, give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming the United States as a “Christian nation” and stop glorifying American military campaigns.
<hr /></blockquote> Not that this will go over very well, I choose to post anyways. All politics aside, You will find 9 times out of 10, if you attend one of these "megachurches" you will rarely ever walk out the door with a feeling of conviction. People do not like to hear that they are sinning or acting wrongly in the sight of God. People will generally gravitate to what feels good. This does not apply to all churches or all members of their congregations. Go ahead test it out.

Now back to the politics...Take what is above and apply it to this church. Here we have a Pastor who knows exactly what has helped him grow his church, preaching only feel-good messages. Don't you think he has plenty of homosexuals, drug-addicts, etc attending his church. Sure you do and so do all the other churches across the world. The difference is that he does not want them to feel uncomfortable, even though the God he professes to love despises these activities (equally to telling a simple white lie). So what does he do, he refuses to preach anything that will leave the church-goer feeling convicted.

Now, a little preachy, I am in no position to judge anyone. I do appreciate a church that lets me know when I have done something wrong and I feel bad for it, enough to repent and pray it will not continue. A convicting preacher is not damning all homosexuals, drug-addicts, murderers, etc to hell, he is merely trying to show the individual that God hates the activity and they need to make a change in their life. Forgiveness is the message.

eg8r

SnakebyteXX
07-31-2006, 07:00 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote eg8r:</font><hr> &lt;/font&gt;&lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;font class="small"&gt;Quote:&lt;/font&gt;&lt;hr /&gt;
Not that this will go over very well, I choose to post anyways. All politics aside, You will find 9 times out of 10, if you attend one of these "megachurches" <font color="blue"> you will rarely ever walk out the door with a feeling of conviction.</font color> People do not like to hear that they are sinning or acting wrongly in the sight of God. People will generally gravitate to what feels good.

<font color="blue">Do you mean that they rarely leave with a feeling of conviction (about their core beliefs) or that they rarely leave with a feeling of having been convicted (for their sins)? </font color>

This does not apply to all churches or all members of their congregations. Go ahead test it out.

Now back to the politics...Take what is above and apply it to this church. Here we have a Pastor who knows exactly what has helped him grow his church, preaching only feel-good messages. Don't you think he has plenty of homosexuals, drug-addicts, etc attending his church. Sure you do and so do all the other churches across the world. The difference is that he does not want them to feel uncomfortable, even though the God he professes to love despises these activities (equally to telling a simple white lie). So what does he do, he refuses to preach anything that will leave the church-goer feeling convicted.
<font color="blue">The way I read the article it looks like the position that he took ended up costing him twenty percent of his congregation. From outward appearances it would seem that he managed to make one out of every five people who had been attending his sermons 'uncomfortable' enough to leave his church. He was in fact questioning the basis for some of their convictions a position that no doubt made some of them very uncomfortable.

If the point you're trying to make is that the vast majority of pastors/priests/ministers pander to their congregations in order to keep attendance high you could be right. Last time I checked church attendance was still voluntary. If the man in the pulpit offends people tend to vote by their presence or absence. On the face of it such a popularity contest would make many church leaders akin to politicians. That is they may be reluctant to tell it like it is for fear of being voted out of the church (office?).</font color>

Now, a little preachy, I am in no position to judge anyone. I do appreciate a church that lets me know when I have done something wrong and I feel bad for it, enough to repent and pray it will not continue. <font color="red"> A convicting preacher is not damning all homosexuals, drug-addicts, murderers, etc to hell, he is merely trying to show the individual that God hates the activity and they need to make a change in their life. Forgiveness is the message.</font color>

<font color="blue">So, (according to your interpretation) God damns them all to hell if they don't change? Ipso facto if they refuse to change they can never be forgiven?

Interesting. </font color>

eg8r <hr /></blockquote>

eg8r
07-31-2006, 01:07 PM
[ QUOTE ]
Do you mean that they rarely leave with a feeling of conviction (about their core beliefs) or that they rarely leave with a feeling of having been convicted (for their sins)? <hr /></blockquote> Their sins. I have been in many churches when the preacher never talked against sinning, rather they spent the whole time trying to put a pretty little glow on life.

[ QUOTE ]
The way I read the article it looks like the position that he took ended up costing him twenty percent of his congregation. <hr /></blockquote> I read it a little differently, I see that 80% were there for a feel good session, and the 20 that left figured out the game.

[ QUOTE ]
From outward appearances it would seem that he managed to make one out of every five people who had been attending his sermons 'uncomfortable' enough to leave his church. He was in fact questioning the basis for some of their convictions a position that no doubt made some of them very uncomfortable. <hr /></blockquote> He did make them uncomfortable, they know that homosexuality is wrong and they saw that their preacher was unwilling to speak out against it. I would feel uncomfortable sitting under a preacher who refused to speak out against gay marriages. I know there were other issues besides just gay marriage, but to refuse that is simply turning their eyes away from the Bible.

[ QUOTE ]
Last time I checked church attendance was still voluntary. <hr /></blockquote> Yup, it still is, which is why you see 20% leave a church when the preacher is unwilling to turn his eyes back to the Bible and preach what the Bible says instead of what the other 80% want him to say.

[ QUOTE ]
So, (according to your interpretation) God damns them all to hell if they don't change? Ipso facto if they refuse to change they can never be forgiven?
<hr /></blockquote> If a sinner refuses to change from his sinful ways, then yes God would judge him on judgement day. If a sinner asks for forgivness he is not denied, however if there is no change, then the sinner is not asking for forgiveness with the right heart. Since I have not gone through the process, I really cannot tell you how it will end up in the end, we will all just have to wait our turn and see who was right. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

eg8r

wolfdancer
07-31-2006, 05:05 PM
I wonder how many Republicans will leave office with a feeling of conviction? ( maybe even a sentence)....and the Dems ain't far behind....perhaps the most morally offensive group (read..sinners) in church are politicos.

Gayle in MD
07-31-2006, 09:54 PM
By the end of this year, believe me, there will be many many more republicans in jail than Democrats! In fact, there already are!

Gayle in md.