Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Beating up brian (mclaren)

I'm thinking about beating up Brian McLaren today. He is speaking at son Isaac's school, and I'm planning to head that way shortly. Why I'd like to punch him in the face is because he was there last week for a discussion on politics, and apparently he and the boy had a little disagreement, and Brian was a little ...unkind. I think that odd in light of what the discussion was about, and how he was apparently questioning Isaac's ORTHODOXY of all things. This from the man who wrote the book 'A Generous Orthodoxy'!

Actually, I have no intention of beating up Brian. He and Isaac did have a disagreement, but I don't think it was that big of a deal. I just think it's another case of what happens when we let politics get the best of us. McLaren was on Obama's payroll last week. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I can see how that could cloud his sense of 'orthodoxy.' Even the best of us can become dichotomized at some point. I hear it all the time... "there's a difference between church stuff and real life." Yeah... that's a tempting trap we're all capable of being pulled into.

Oddly enough I read a great piece entitled 'The Lie of Politics' by Isaac's pastor last week. That was something *I* needed to hear. He summed it up nicely at the end...
The truth is that there is no hope in principles or issues. There is no hope in politics, world leaders, policies or government. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ candidate. There is only the hope of Jesus Christ. The only thing that remains is the grassroots gospel of a new humanity of people loving and serving and giving their lives so that God might increase and be known to others as they do so.

My prayer for myself and my brothers and sisters is that we don’t forget that this political season. In the panic of the economy, the war and our country’s future, I hope that we never let go of the person next to us for the sake of grabbing onto an ideal or a party ticket. It’s only in this way that our light will shine for the next couple months.

So, I'm hoping for a peaceful time with Brian today (and Isaac too). His books have taught me much over the years, and there is much more I need to learn.

Peace out, friends; and in.


grace said...

I'm not comfortable with religious political activism on either the right or the left.

dan h. said...

Yes, it sure seems a hard line to toe. Certainly one is not right and the other wrong.

I almost think I would rather people just come out and say they are "for" one side or the other though; than saying they are not, but then their actions all seem to say otherwise. I don't know...

I also struggle with the argument that religious leaders shouldn't have an opinion in the political realm. I mean, it seems odd to me that someone like a plumber can have a say - and even drive one particular party's campaign for weeks - yet a member of the clergy, who has given their whole life to the ministry of people and world concerns, isn't supposed to be able to have an opinion? I would almost think many religious leaders should be more than qualified to have a say. But yet it seems almost impossible to do so and keep yourself Christian (at least to me).

So... I know what you're saying. And, yes, I struggle a great deal with keeping my politics in check. It's a toughy.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Tom said...

Where are you coming from on this, Dan? Do you mean you feel like people will get upset if you express your political views? Is it just something you feel from people around you?

MR said...

"I almost think I would rather people just come out and say they are "for" one side or the other though; than saying they are not, but then their actions all seem to say otherwise. I don't know..."

I thought about posting this same sentiment the other day in my own words, but never got around to it. Also, I think some people think they sound very wise to say they're undecided. Undecided to me equals moron. :D

dan h. said...

Uh... what?

I don't really have a problem with people who are undecided. I can understand that and, in fact, if someone is undecided on who to vote for, then I think they SHOULD NOT VOTE. Even people who purposely CHOOSE to not vote - that's ok by me. It's a free country, right?

What bothers me are the people who "say" they are undecided, but you know they are not. People who are afraid to say what they think. I don't know if they're morons or not, but I don't trust them.

Tom said...

Sorry about that. I was referring to the comment about clergy having a say in the political realm.

dan h. said...

Maybe i'm mistaken, but I think it's common for people to think clergy shouldn't mess in politics. And I thought there was some law against preachers using their pulpits to sway voters.

My problem is that - like the post I linked to - I can go too far when I start talking politics. It's not that I think I shouldn't, as much as I have a hard time not being a jerk when I do.

Is that what you meant?

grace said...

I don't have a problem with clergy expressing their opinions as individuals. What I have a problem with is the insinuation that their opinion is the morally correct position.

I guess I have a problem with that attitude whether it's with clergy or the average-joe plumber.

But what do I know. I'm just an undecided moron. ;)

dan h. said...

Yes, I absolutely agree. Not that you're a moron, but with the morally righteous attitude part (on either side).

I'm just lucky in that my opinion does happen to always be the right one. ;)

Tom said...

There is a line drawn between clergy expressing their opinion and even endorsing a candidate and a church (501c3) doing that. You are free to have an opinion.

It would be interesting to see a poll on attitudes about that in the general public. My guess is that most people would say that a pastor should be allowed to express his own views but I could be wrong.

dan h. said...

Gee, I didn't know that. Heck, I might was well let 'er rip this Sunday then!

I guess I've always been under the impression most people 'didn't' want pastors expressing their personal opinions - especially on politics. But I have no basis for it. You could very well be right. It would be interesting to know what a non-pastor thinks...