Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Lunatic Fringe

A couple of weeks ago, Glenn Beck made a splash stating "social justice" is a codeword for communism and Nazism. While his words generated a flurry of responses from Christians, he was going somewhere with his train of thought even if it wasn't articulated well. On the left extreme of the political spectrum is communism, where the government controls most everything. On the right extreme of the political spectrum is anarchism, where the government has no control. Interestingly, Nazism is towards the far right extreme, so Mr. Beck was self-contradictory. Obviously, most people fall somewhere in between.

Churches follow the same pattern. Many churches on the extreme of the Social Gospel feel it is the government's responsibility to take care of the "alien, widow and orphan." While most who subscribe to the Social Gospel stress that individuals and churches are responsible for this, falling left of center, but far from the extreme Glenn Beck describes. On the other side are anarchists, racists, and "Christian militias" like the one that made headlines yesterday.

The Muslim community is often criticised for not speaking out against radical Islam and terrorism. I would appreciate if Mr. Beck aimed his critical eye at radical Christianity also. Just like the argument that radical Islam does not represent the Muslim faith, Christian militias also do not represent the teachings of Christ.

The reality, which isn't as attention grabbing as Glenn Beck's comments, is that most churches are in between. We don't get headlines for serving the poor, or leading others to Christ. Yet we are tempted to lean on our government to make the social changes we cannot (abortion, gay-marriage) instead of leaning on Christ and seeking his will. We'll never get headlines that way, but I'd rather shine the light of Jesus to those immediately around me than bury that light by making the news doing something foolish.

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God." (Colossians 3:1-3)

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