Jump to content

Speaking My Mind - Tony Campolo


Recommended Posts

This is an excellent book. Not likely to get him in any better with the right wing evangelicals. His understanding of the term is probably more akin to the social activist european understanding rather than right wing american.


He discusses a number of issues including homosexuality (his wife supports gay marriage, he supports gay celibate unions), war issues, poverty issues, etc. I suspect he may be a little more open on gay issues but I almost sensed he did not want to go too far or that his outlook was evolving. At any rate, he speaks passionately against the persecution of homosexuals and the mean spirited things he has heard Christians say (describes having once to follow a anti gay tirade at an evangelical youth event). He even criticizes the patronizing "hate the sin love the sinner stuff". He sees true homosexuality as not being changeable by therapy and suspects that most cases of conversion are actually bisexuals to begin with.


What is fascinating is that Dr Campolo is a sociologist and does a wonderful examination from a sociological point of view of why mainline denominations have floundered while evangelical groups have succeeded. Really interesting and could serve as a wake up call to liberal mainline denominations who want to become inspirational and capture the imagination again of thinking, spiritual people. He examines structures, leadership issues, etc.


He is very respectful of those he disagrees with but nonetheless lays out his vision for a faith modled on the values of Christ and ture evangelical faith (social justice, poverty, war issues).


A very brave book considering it will again put him in a negative position with conservative evangelicals. Don't imagine the book will be promoted on the 700 Club or Focus on the Family.


Campolo reminds me of Phillip Yancey in Soul Survivor who said that in a room full of liberals he is the most conservative and in a room full of conservatives he is the most liberal. I feel such kinship with that statement. Soul Survivor is another excellent book where Yancey discusses sipiritual influences and his movement away from his fundamentalist background.


Incidentally, both Camplo's book and Yancey's mentioned the spiritual giant Henri Nouwen, his influence and the fact that he was a celibate homosexual. He struggled with what to do about his homosexuality. Henri Nouwen (Harvard Professor ?) could have been quite wealthy due to demand for his writings and speeches, but instead chose to find meaning in living out his life in the Le Arche communities and write and lecture as possible. Fascinating. Yancey mentions the power of Nouwen to be present to each person he spoke to and make them feel important. Neither Campolo nor Yancey in any way look down on his spiritual witness because he was a celibate homosexual.


Christianity would be better served by a few more Campolo's & Yancey's a few fewer Robertsons & Falwell's.



Edited by North
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Funny thing re: Campolo. While I don't consider him very liberal (not a criticism, more an observation-- guess I would consider him a moderate), my sister (evangelical-- fundie leaning) was most concerned about one aspect of Campolo. The fact that he ministered to Bill Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal. Jesus minstered the prostitutes-- that's ok? I brought that up and she had no comment.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't read any books by Campolo yet, but have read many of his online articles. They are so inspiring.


I adore Phil Yancey (which everyone on this board should know by now. :rolleyes:) His comment about being the most liberal or conservative depending on the company he's with is dead on. Reading the reviews of "The Jesus I Never Knew" on Amazon.com, which said that he was just another evangelical pushing a literal, inerrant, historical interpretation of the gospels, left me pondering "Did these guys read the same book I just did?" :huh: Yes, he does treat the gospels as historical fact, but somehow that doesn't take away from what he has to say about the accounts. I guess it's just something you'd have to read to appreciate.


I can't wait to read "What's So Amazing About Grace?" as well as all his other books. After "Grace" I think I'll pick up "Where is God When it Hurts?"


Campolo is on my list as well. Sigh. So many books, so little time ...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...

Important Information

terms of service