Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Who is Your Political Lord and Savior?

In The Last Week, a book on the final week of Jesus according to Mark by John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg, the authors ask an important question:

Who is your political Lord and Savior?

I preached a sermon on this question on Christ the King Sunday a couple of years ago. This brings up the larger question regarding how the church is to be involved in the public square. Moderator of the PC (U.S.A.), Bruce Reyes-Chow invites readers on his moderator blog to explore this question. Bruce writes:

Beginning on Monday, July 6, I will have the privilege of representing the Presbyterian Church (USA) at a series of meetings in Washington DC. And while I believe most of our denomination supports a presence in public square discourse, I realize that for some, even the existence our Washington Office* and our presence in political arena raises some strong objections. So feel free to push back - like any of you need permission - on our relationship with politics, but I am going and am honored to do so.

I will begin four days of congressional visits in DC by continuing conversations with folks from our Washington Office and other PC(USA) partners to get up to speed on a breadth of General Assembly policies but primarily four issues: Cuba, Philippines, Jubilee and the Employee Free Choice Act. After that I will have the opportunity to meet both individually and as part of delegations with various agencies and public servants. These are all issues that I have great concern about as a local pastor, but I will be there to represent the PC(USA) and our policies and statements.

I most definitely support Bruce in his work. I commented on his blog:


Happy 4th! I think on this day it is good to remember that the only clergyperson to sign the Declaration of Independence was a Presbyterian minister, John Witherspoon. I would say that was a political act, even a partisan one.

There is no way to please everyone on this topic, as you know. We will make decisions in the political realm that we may later regret. Nevertheless, our Reformed principles such as the sovereignty of God over all of life spiritual and political, freedom of conscience, and our quest for social righteousness compel us to be involved in the political realm.

Even as I may disagree as an individual on some of the decisions of the Washington Office and the decisions of other denominational officials (including you!) I support and encourage our and your involvement in the public square.

I will be following your work with interest.

Thank you for taking on this charge as moderator in all its ambiguity!

One of the particular issues for which I think the church should speak is in the area of healthcare. Bruce writes:

One important part of this trip will also be to participate in the Faith Leader Summit on Health Care to be held on Capitol Hill and at the White House. Gradye was originally supposed to be our rep, but will be participating in the funeral services of Bill Forbes. This will be a time for us to have a PC(USA) presence as part of an interfaith delegation that will do a great deal of listening to and speaking with members of congress and President Obama's Health Care Reform Team.

I hope you will share your thoughts not only with Bruce but with your local representatives in congress. Check out the website, Tennessee Healthcare Campaign for resources on how you can become informed and speak truth to power regarding affordable healthcare choices for all.