How my continuing engagement with Scripture changed my views on public policy

In the 2000 presidential election, I voted in my first presidential election, and as a newly minted member of the U.S. Air Force, was very happy to see President Bush elected.  And in the time before facebook and blogs, I e-mailed news articles to friends, often with my commentary, almost always with a conservative slant.  So when I say that I have shifted to the left, that should be considered relative.  I am pro-life and believe in smaller, smarter government, but after that, I tend to favor if not progressive policies, certainly a lot of progressive values that I see reflected in scripture.


Sex Offenders in the Pew

Just read a great article at Christianity Today about churches and sex offenders, but it is 7 pages long so I have put some of the key excerpts up here. As N.T. Wright says, every society has one unforgivable sin, and as the article pointed out, many would argue that in our culture, that sin is the sexual abuse of children. Fortunately, Jesus accepts all of us as we are, unconditionally. But that is hardly a license for stupidity or worse. If this is an issue (and a reality) that matters to you, I hope you find this useful. For the rest of us, I think these excerpts do a lot to shine some light on an often misunderstood issue. To read the article in its entirety, click here.

When the prison chaplain asked Craig, a sex offender, if he was willing to accept Christ as his Savior, he answered with a question: "Would Christ accept me?"


Why Christians Should Support a Mosque near Ground Zero

More than once I have heard stories of churches who were denied the opportunity to build a worship center where they deemed fit. Sometimes there was a hidden agendas, sometimes there were legitimate zoning issues. Regardless, they felt that their freedoms, their religious freedom no less, was being restricted.


Christians of Every Stripe Calling for Immigration Reform

You may be surprised to find out that churches of nearly every denomination and tradition are speaking out with one voice on immigration.

Together they are calling on the Federal Government to reform our present immigration laws.

Consistently, they are calling for three things.

  • That immigrants be treated fairly, humanly, with dignity and respect.
  • That the rule of law be respected, and shaped to meet the above standards.
  • That we recognize that we ourselves are immigrants; that as Christians we come from a tradition of immigration, and that we therefor head the words of scripture, welcoming, loving and caring for those in need, including the immigrant, regardless of legal status.
Following are the statements on immigration of no less than eleven diverse christian organizations. Catholics, Evangelicals(2), Lutherans(2), Methodists, Presbyterians, Southern Baptists, and Episcopalians.


My Spirituality in Lyrics

Following are two songs that I find deeply moving and pretty well sum up my spirituality.
The first, The House That Moves Me, speaks to my upbringing, and the important people in my life who have given me a foundation, and a relationship with Christ. The latter, Welcome to the Future, speaks to my hope and prayers for the future, the need to be ever grappling with how we will shape it, and how it will shape us. No generation has maintained all the beliefs of the previous one. Theology evolves, changes, and with the Spirits guidance, possibly for the better.

Ultimately though, these videos are not statements, they are works of art that speaks to my spirit and express what is deep within me.


How Would You Do Immegration Reform?

Sojourners has a petition going here. This is what it says:

As a Christian, I believe my faith calls me to view all people, regardless of citizenship status, as made in the "image of God" and deserving of respect; to show compassion for the stranger and love and mercy for my neighbor; and to balance the rule of law with the call to oppose unjust laws and systems when they violate human dignity.

These biblical principles compel me to support immigration reform legislation that is consistent with humanitarian values, supports families, provides a pathway to citizenship for immigrant workers already in the U.S., expands legal avenues for workers to enter the U.S. with their rights and due process fully protected, and examines solutions to address the root causes of migration.

I believe the current U.S. immigration system is broken and reform is necessary. I call on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform with the above elements by the end of this year.

Would you sign it? Why or why not? What would you change?

Whatever you think about immigration reform, I would encourage you to think seriously about why you think that, and what the origins of that thought process might be.


What Comes First, In Health Care, and Everything Else

Been talking some with a good friend of mine, David Baxley, about the whole health care debate. He and I see things differently, but what I like about David is that he tries to put his theology first, and then his politics. He tries to understand his God and then allow that relationship to shape his relationships with everything, and everyone else, including his politics.

I wonder, do you and I do the same, or are we first Conservative, or Progressive, a Man or a Women, a _________, whatever label you want to use, and only after that, a Christian, a Jesus follower?

Do we make God in our image or are we allowing him to shape us into his image. Do we read the Bible looking for those progresive verses, those conservative verses, or do we recognise the Bible for what it is, a story meant to help shape us into the image of Christ. Something meant to shape, not be shaped.


A Modern Day Psalm

In the Scriptures we see the one who is Other, the God who comes close to us in the person of Jesus Christ, longing to know us in a personal way, when he says, "O Jerusalem... how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing."

And ironically, we who are human have some similar longings. We see King David seemingly searching in vain for his God, saying, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent."

Lady Antebellum bring this search home in their song, I Need You Now. Watch this video and in the midst of your inner longings, experience the God who longs for you.