April 19, 2005

My Statement Affirming Faith

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 2:53 pm

Here is my statement affirming faith, as part of Pastor Dan’s Affirmation Project. By the way, if the photo below looks familiar, look a little closer…I’ve changed its message just a bit.


I am a life-long Lutheran living in Southern California.

Somehow the Religious Right has presumed to speak for all Christians. They have made Christianity synonymous with zero tolerance on abortion and gays, disbelief in evolution, stay-at-home moms, an aggressive military, a unilateral foreign policy and regressive taxes. But I don’t find any of that in the Gospel. In fact, more often than not I find the opposite.

affirmation_projectJesus says that the most important commandments are to love the Lord your God with all your might, and to love your neighbor as yourself. He commands us to feed the hungry, care for the sick and comfort the oppressed. He tells us not to judge, but to love our enemies, to give away our cloak and to turn the other cheek. I just don’t understand how any of this leads inexorably to the conclusion that God is a conservative Republican.

I love my country, but not as much as I love the Lord Jesus Christ. The US has often been on God’s side, but not always. Being American must always come second to being Christian, and American Christians must walk humbly before God instead of presuming to know God’s will for us in His world.

America was founded as a secular nation, and this has allowed American Christianity to thrive. The separation of church and state is a core principle of our Constitution, the violation of which will not only damage our government and threaten non-Christian Americans, but worse, will harm the vitality of American Christianity.

Conservative Christians have become drunk with power, so much so that they won’t settle for controlling two of the three branches of government, but are driven to control the judiciary as well. If this happens, it must happen within the laws and traditions of our nation, including the right of the minority to filibuster.

The Christian Right is but one voice among many Christian voices, but it has started to believe it is the choir. It has come to believe that its theology is the only authentic Christianity, even while ignoring Jesus’ calls to judge not, to forgive, and to love our enemies. Jesus calls us to be compassionate, but it is hard to find the compassion in the conservative political agenda of tax breaks for the well-off and cuts in food stamps to the poor.

When Christ calls us, he calls us to come and die so that we will have new life with him. I pray that I am hearing his call and following where he wills. Where I find he leads me is not to build an America of intolerant laws and massive military might, but to build a world of tolerance, compassion and peace.

Bob
I am a Christian Too

6 Comments

  1. Oh man, I love the new version of that ad. Mind if I steal it and link back to you with it?

    Its great!

    Comment by Forrest — April 19, 2005 @ 4:46 pm

  2. Great statement, Bob! Just great!

    Comment by Tony — April 19, 2005 @ 6:07 pm

  3. Forrest – of course! Feel free.

    Thanks Tony.

    Comment by Bob — April 19, 2005 @ 6:52 pm

  4. Great statement, Bob! Will you write mine, too-I’m too tired
    to think that clearly.

    FP

    Comment by FP — April 19, 2005 @ 7:56 pm

  5. FP – lol! Someone needs to write a random progressive Christian statement of faith generator, a la the Unitarian Jihad Name generator — for all of us sleep-deprived and time-constrained progressive Christians!

    Comment by Bob — April 20, 2005 @ 5:00 pm

  6. Bob,

    This is very well written! Please send as a letter to the editor of the Louisville Courier-Journal at:

    http://courier-journal.com/cjconnect/edletter.htm

    Comment by Skyweb — April 20, 2005 @ 8:52 pm

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