Monday, August 23, 2004

letter to the editor, bobbie's response

christy at dry bones dance has written a response to an articles in sojourners by jim wallis and brian mclaren. this is my response to her response. i started to reply to her in her comment box, but i got so long winded that i needed to move it to my own blog. (she has since added a disclaimer of sorts, but this was written before she went away, and i didn't want to post it until she got back) so here it is:

good thoughts christy, but i have to disagree with you. it may seem that way in california, but here in the 'heartland' there is really this mentality. it's so prevalent that for me to even challenge anything the president says in my sunday school class or small group has me labeled immediately as a liberal. not in the way you use the word, but like a swear word that when said the speaker looks like they've just tasted something vile.

wallis was also raised in 'a world of premillenial dispensationalism where we were told to watch out for what evil rock bands were saying on their records backwards, where practically everybody was Republican, and no one had much good to say about the liberal media' church (he was from the same denomination i was raised in). so there is probably some 'fear mongering' going on that is left over from his heritage.

that is a valid point, that trying to stop others from fear mongering whilst fearmongering himself is not his best move. but in his defense (not that he needs me to defend him) he had just come off of that debate with falwell and i think it left him in shock at the reaction and wake that followed.

95% of the people in my educated, upperclass, seeker sensitive church believe that because bush calls him self an evangelical christian he truly has god on his 'side'. a vote for kerry is a vote against god.

i don't think that voting for kerry will change much, but i do know that i don't want to be part of a 'holy war'. i think that the mentality that is here in middle america is a fearsome, broken, nearly brainwashed one.

i am scared. not because jim wallis told me to be. i am afraid because i hear things coming out of christian mouths, of well meaning people, that are dangerous and poisoned. they don't sound like jesus and i truly don't want to be lumped into any movement or church or even america that thinks that a theocracy is a good idea. things done in the name of god by governments in the past are some of the most atrocious, horrific scars on history. if i can do anything at all to prevent one from happening in the future i want to be a part of it.

this is new ground for me. part of my emerging is political. sifting through the platitudes and untruth of the stuff that i was spoon fed my whole life. part of it looks like standing up and saying 'you don't speak for me'.

i think what was meant when he said 'our faith has been stolen' was that so many of the public 'christian' figures are truly highjacking the name evangelical and putting a public face on a group of people who may feel they are being misrepresented. i know i feel that way.

yes, am i owned by god more than i own my faith, but there is still an ownership on my part. do i own my faith like a stereo? no, but it is mine. mine is not an easy faith, it is hard, it is work, but i think anything worth having is.

would it still be there if i didn't own it? i don't know. it used to be 'easy', it used to be simple. i used to accept anything they told me was true. i don't do that anymore. i now have taken possession of my faith, not because it was given to me, but because i am figuring it out. not working for it in any non-grace, works kind of way, but working for it to strengthen it and sift through the crap i was fed for so long.

but this i know though, my faith is not what it used to be and i don't want to be bunched in with 'them' anymore. i signed that petition proudly. they don't speak for me. i don't want 'that face' of graceless, christian radio and televangelist to speak for me anymore. i don't know who i will vote for yet, but it will be about issues, and not just because one man calls himself an evangelical and says 'god told him to run for president.'

wallis' previous article spoke of the highjacking of the term 'evangelical'. people like falwell and dobson putting a face on that word that isn't what the word truly means. that face that they place on it represents that public faith that wallis is fighting against, that political power has an ugly face to it whose mouth no longer speaks for me.

i believe that the left can do as many horrible, horrific things in the name of peace and helping the poor that the right can do in the name of god, i don't agree with that or support it any more than i do the 'right'.

i just i don't want to be a part of this unholy war. not just iraq, not just osama, this unholy war that is raging right here in america, in the church. people believing things to be true and 'christian' that aren't biblical or christlike. jesus isn't an american, america isn't a christian state and the patriotism i'm seeing looks more like idolatry to me than support of one's country. that is unholy.

yes, my faith is personal, and it is mine. i am owned by god far more than i own my faith. but because this has become a politcal issue now i do feel it must become a battleground of sorts. the world needs to know that the church just doesn't care only about pre-born babies, but children living in poverty. not about 'protecting marriage' from two who say they love each other, but about strengthening the family and communities they live in. we have more depth, more brains and more passion than that unholy face has been spewing. i think it's time to take back the issues and remind them that they don't speak for us anymore.

i love you christy, and this passion i'm feeling isn't directed at you, it's from biting my tongue more times than i can count at church, small group, or even at the grocery store. i wrote this to give voice to the self-silencing i've been doing and to get my thoughts organized enough to voice them publicly if i feel so moved.

the thing that saddens me the most is that NO ONE at my church will even hear or see that sojo article, or even see the new york times ad. we are so insulated and isolated in middle america that jim wallis doesn't even exist.

No comments: