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Kingdom No Part Of This World


BeachOfEden
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In the lastest TCPC newsletter there was a quote by author James R. Adams that is an interesting quote. He quoted Jesus words saying, "MY Kingdom is no part of this world." Then he replied, "I certainly wouldn't want politicans who indentify themselves as progressive Christians running the country anymore than i would like self-proclaimed born-again Christians being in charge. I think that having any religious group dominate the government is dangerous. In my poinion, our focus must be on the transformation of ourselves, our churches, and our society___in that order."

 

Tell me thoughts on these quotes.

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I suppose Mr. Adams would rather have people with an atheistic worldview running the country. As if Christians should only be involved in matters of the church, and shun politics, law, economics, education, etc. How naive to think that these institutions would get along just fine without Christian influence.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A Christian's guide to American Politics

 

There's a start.

 

I'm kinda new here. My name is Tea Melton. I'm the daughter of a United Methodist Minister in rural Southwest Virginia. I have a bit to say on the matter.... It's best to read the aforementioned blog in order.... Introduction first.... But if you want to skip all that.... Here's the short version.

 

I don't really think it's possible for a faithful individual to seperate his or her morals, values, and faith based views entirely from his or her decision making process. That said, I believe progressive Christians, along with progressive members of other faiths, are in the best position to allow their faith to guide them without letting it rule them.

 

You see.... religion and politics are inseperable.... Because people and faith are inseperable. The best we can do is find people who use faith responsibly, like Ghandi, Rev. Martin Luther King, and our founding fathers. Remember, our founding fathers never promised us freedom FROM religion.... They knew that was impossible. They promised us freedom OF religion, and that is a right everyone has.... Government officials, military personnel, and civilians alike.

 

So we know we can't tell government officials and candidates running for office that they can't use their faith to make decisions, and we know we can't eliminate faith from the equation, so what do we do to ensure that a theocracy does not develop? Educate ourselves about the true root of our faith. Get to the heart of it. Don't let others manipulate false interpretation for political gain. Fight them with truth. Muslims, Jews, and Buddists can all do the same.

 

We can stop the rape of our Christian ideals. We can end the horrible falsehoods that forge rifts between our bretheren. We can stop the lies, deceit, and hatred. But we have to know what we're talking about, and we have to be passionate, direct, unashamed. We have to SAY what we believe, and we have to say it loudly. that's what I think about progressive Christianity in politics. Specific examples (all scripturally based, mind you) dealing with everything from capitol punishment to electoral reform; medicinal marijuana to the Iraq war, can be found at my blog. that link again is A Christian's guide to American politics. Take a look. I'm sure you'll like it.

 

-Tea

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I'd want to see Progressive Christianity faith *inform* politics but not be politics. The current problem is creeping theocracy, where we would have a Christian state (much like there are Islam states). See www.theocracywatch.org. This is a truly frightening website, folks, but I recommend it anyway. I believe in the absolute wall of separation between church and state.

 

So for example, environment, imo, is a spiritual issue and would want politicians who believe that as well. But I would not want them to initiate something like "faith based initiates" for environmental issues wherein government funds go for liberal or progressive church groups any more than I would want them going to conservative church groups

to run drug treatment programs that attempt to convert drug addicts to Christ.

 

I also don't want laws that are based on Jesus' sayings, ie perhaps the Sermon on the Mount (unless they were fully constitutional-- as the laws against murder might be said to be based on the ten commandments). I want them based on the US constitution and fully constitutional.

 

I don't much care about any politician who displays as much overt religious sentiment as GWB. I believe that while Jimmy Carter wasn't a very strong president, he was one who uses his faith in a way to inform his actions. He has actually said things like there is some good in the most dictorial person and my job as negotiator is to see that. He actually went in to talk to Milosevic this way. To me that's a highly Christian attitude, but it isn't said like "I'm a Christian so..." I also feel we are NOT a Christian nation contrary to a lot of misconception. The founding fathers were more theists than Christians. We are now much more diverse than we used to be, but in fact, our leaders tend to talk more overtly Christian than ever. Instead of bleeding heart liberals we now have "bleeding feet" Christian fundamentalists. :-} As I told my Fundie sister, I do not take George Bush as my lord and savior. :-)

 

I also feel Christian values have been hijacked and the only things that are called values now are pro-family (read anti-gay) and pro-life stances. Whole areas of moral concern-- like poverty, environment, war, the attitudes towards other nations, etc. have been taken out of the discussion.

 

I really don't think leaders should get out of religion but that they should respect the separation between church and state.

 

BTW, sorry for any non-US readers. I believe other Western countries are not in this madness like the US is. (I think we have some counterparts in Islamic states.)

 

--des

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In the lastest TCPC newsletter there was a quote by author James R. Adams that is an interesting quote. He quoted Jesus words saying, "MY Kingdom is no part of this world." Then he replied, "I certainly wouldn't want politicans who indentify themselves as progressive Christians running the country anymore than i would like  self-proclaimed born-again Christians being in charge. I think that having any religious group dominate the government is dangerous. In my poinion, our focus must be on the transformation of ourselves, our churches, and our society___in that order."

 

Tell me thoughts on these quotes.

I have a lot of sympathy for Rev. Adam's position on politics. I think that a great many people, in earnestly wishing to emulate the choices made by Buddha, Jesus, and other spiritual teachers, are trying as hard as possible not to judge others. It's hard to enter the arena of politics without running smack into a whole lot of judgments. Some of the judgments are your own. Some belong to others. It's stressful to try to juggle that kind of emotional energy. To many people, it isn't worth the toll in their own lives to fight the juggernaut. They make the best choice they think they can, and stay out of politics altogether.

 

The problem here is that while they're demurring, the bullies who are intent on pushing their own personal agenda on a nation aren't kept in check. If the moderates (whether Islamic, Jewish, Buddhist, or Christian) stay out of politics, or put it last on their list of priorities, then the bullies (who by definition don't do moderation) end up in charge. Is this what we want for the people we love?

 

Democracy utterly depends on the commitment and interest of all citizens, not just the few who want to pursue a political career.

 

Personally, I don't see a problem with people who identify themselves as Progressive running a country. As long as they stick closely to their core values of inclusiveness, compassion, service, and respect, they should end up with a pretty good result.

 

Good thread, Beach of Eden.

 

Love Jen

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Thanks and everyone's comments here have been GREAT!!! The concerns that the last two posters stated I also share. I do everything I can on my own to spread the word of social justices by writting articles on equality and I have attended many peace gatherings in Santa Barbara..but I am leary to get "poltical" for the reason that posters here have gave. We have all seen the cult-like beahvior of the Far Right Republican Southern Baptists pushing their anti-women and anti-other faith views,ect through our government. But I have also observed the flip-side of Liberal Lefts who dislike even the most Liberal forms of ANY Christian or theist-themed/deists groups and at the rallies these Leftters are trying to preach an anti-theist-only view through 'their' politics..I have observed this first hand in UU churches and rallies in SB and sourounding cities...

 

When we have come from being raised in fundamental faiths backgrounds and then escape as adults...we become very cautious..and rightly so. When I was raised in JW their was a high cult-like loyality and focus placed on this word "theocratic" order...which I guess is suppose to me "God ruled", but it really end up being Man-ruled by and through fundamental religious organizations. JW's preached that they were no part of this world politics..but later sources began poping up on the web saying they have proof of the opposite. Both JW and Christadelphians take pride in stating that they do not support wars..but then both are known for being nearly, if not almost equally sexist and anti-gay as Southern Baptists who ARE openly tring to run the government. Anyways..I thought I'd add my 2 cents.

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As a progressive Christian and a strong advocate for social justice I don't see how I can not be involved in the political process. If we don't advocate for the powerless who will?

 

An excellent example of a Christian who made a difference in politics is Tommy Douglas (my political hero ).

 

If we leave politics to the George Bush types how will things ever change?

 

I will not cease from mental fight,

Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand

Till we have built Jerusalem

In England's green and pleasant land.

 

William Blake -- Jerusalem

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I didn't catch the whole speech today by GWB-- was a little afraid to, but all this stuff about gettign democracy all over the world. Do you all think it is rhetoric and "bully pulpet"? Apologism (got us into a bad war and can't admit it)? Think he wants to invade some other place?

 

I suppose no one would disagree that democracy is a good thing to have, but with GWB I worry how he thinks we should accomplish this. I feel he has elements of the Crusades in the worst sense-- fighting against the godless infidels (oh woops, other side), amazing how much the Fundamentalist Islamics and Fundamentalist Christians have in common. Not saying that the Fundie Christians will blow themselves up to blow up buildings-- nah they are waiting for the End Times so God will do it for them.

 

Rant over. Sorry. :-)

 

--des

Edited by des
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You know.... I thought it was especially nice when he appealed to our young people to join the service and help in the war effort "For the sake of freedom and democracy." around the world.... Or something like that. I smell a draft coming when he invades Iran. And he WILL. Make no mistake. He WILL, no matter what he has to do to get it done. He wants Iran worse than he wanted Iraq, but he knows he won't be able to use his "shock and awe" tactics..... But don't worry.... I have faith that our president will again do the WRONG thing and make us pay for it.

 

-Tea

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