Friday, May 29, 2009

Step it up, before it's too late.

First, excuse me if my blogs seem plain, typing from an iPhone can be super difficult at times.

I'm a little frustrated with Christians, and this is what this post is about.

It all started the other day when I watched a John Piper video on abortion. The video was basically all about condemning President Obama and his pro choice stance. I have a lot of respect for Piper, and I too want to stop abortion, so I appreciate his passion. By as far as the whole political involvement of this issue goes, I literally cannot understand WHY we, Christians, continue to put our hopes in the president, or the political system? Why can we not understand that non-Christians think that we are CRAZY for wanting to stop them from having abortions?

I am frustrated because all we want to do is change laws. Changing laws is the easy part. Christians are scared of the hard part... Changing HEARTS.

If you are against abortion SO much, then I hope you are volunteering in the inner cities with the youth where 14 year old girls have sometimes already had 2 or 3 abortions.

If you want babies to live, then I hope you are out volunteering at Birth Choice Clinics, and pouring your money, time, and energy into that amazing place.

If you think that people should pick life over death then I hope you're willing to adopt.

If you want teenage girls to stop killing their unborn child, then it's time to start mentoring the hurt and abused; you can start at Olive Crest in LA or Costa Mesa.

Politicians don't care. Most of them don't have the same morals as Christians, so we seriously need to stop putting our hope in them. We are so lazy. Just sitting around whining instead of making something happen.

So then today, I came to my blog and found a comment within my Jim Wallis post that said that he was an "emergent heretic". Now, I don't mind a good discussion, but first off, if you don't have the guts to tell us who you are, I can't take you seriously. And second, how dare someone call a brother in the Lord such a horrible name. I am reading a Wallis book right now, and I guess you could call some things, "liberal", but for goodness sake, the man is doing wonders for the poor all around the world, and has transformed many lives in DC, for the glory of Jesus Christ. So how dare you speak about someone that way. It's people like you who make others turned off to Christianity.

With that said, there are so many Christians out there who are just like the person who commented on my blog, and it was almost borderline stumbling to me. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, when I became a Christian, a lot of the disgusting thoughts and behaviors I had, I tried to leave behind. This happened, only to find, that many Christians behave in the ways I used to before I knew anything about God. Somebody SHOW ME the difference that Jesus makes. Show me WHY I should believe in your God when you behave this way.

Christians need to step it up, before it's too late.


Simone Knepper said...

i liked the point you made about changing hearts not laws. agreed.
for the rest.. i enjoyed your passion! :)

Anonymous said...

I agree completely with you about changing hearts. Non-christians can't not sin (sorry for the double-negative). Politics can't change people, Jesus can...and I mean any political persuasion. I called Jim Wallis an "emergent heretic" not for his passion for the inner city lost, etc. You have to be SO careful with definitions these days. What someone's theology is, is infinitely more important than what they do. And as you say, above and beyond that, someone's solid Biblical theology PLUS what they do for Christ is the most important (faith without works is dead, I'll show you my faith by my works, etc)...but FAITH (a solid Biblical faith) is the foundation. Any works, good or great, not built on and stemming from Biblical faith is wood, hay and stubble. The Bible commands me to kritikos someone's words and actions. We are not permitted to kritikos, we are not allowed to kritikos, we are commanded to kritikos. I am not however permitted to examine someone's motives, only the Lord can do that. I am not allowed to determine a person's final destination, only the Lord will do that. I am not allowed to stand in judgement of the Law (including the Law of Christ), he is the Judge and Lawgiver. I know it is difficult to nail down emergent theology (like nailing down jello), but the basis of emergent theology is what Francis Schaeffer described as a romantic leap into the upper story. I have heard emergents saying something like "God is in the future drawing all men and history to himself". While this sounds great, if you finally nail the jello down, they don't believe in the final sufficiency of the shed blood of the Son of God on the cross. They don't believe that we can understand the Bible...they say it is culturally and semantically determined by individual emergent groups. Because God is drawing all men and history to himself in a glorious future, ANY actions taken, by a Muslim helping an old lady across the street, or a Buddhist campaigning for a green planet, etc, is us helping god co-recreate his kingdom. And because God is drawing all history to himself, emergents call the offense of the cross things like "cosmic child abuse". I will admit to you that I have not read the Jim Wallis book you mention. But he has said enough as a prolific blogger and commentator, that you can determine where he is coming from, and it isn't Biblical Christianity. I am sorry if I almost caused you to stumble. Maybe I should have said something like "Jim Wallis' version of Christianity is not Biblical Christianity, and I would urge you to (1) very carefully understand where he is coming from (2) carefully understand his definition of "religious" words like salvation, kingdom of God, etc. If Jim Wallis' faith is not a Biblical Faith, then his good works are most certainly not evidence of a Biblical Faith, as good or kind as they are.

Alicia Miller said...

I think you hit this issue right on, Carrie. I'm reading Ron Sider's "Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience" (after I saw it on your reading list =)) and he was talking about sin being personal and social. We have to address issues like abortion on an individual level and governmental only focus on one is wrong.

carissa anne said...

i'm still thinking through this whole thing. not in regards to abortion, because i will never be okay with legalized murder. but regarding gay marriage, i'm not really sure whether Christians should be fighting that battle. i go back and forth, back and forth . . . i can't decide.

regarding abortion, though--

1. our hope is not in the government. however, it says a lot about a leader if he is okay with the murder of children. that's something that should be unimaginable to us, but as a society, it isn't.

2. even though i'd love for people to come to know Jesus and repent of their sin, in one sense it doesn't matter whether life is preserved because society loves Jesus or if because the Christians forced society to stop killing children through legislation. of course i'd prefer the former, but in the meantime, children are dying and life is being desecrated, and i'm not going to wait until the entire Supreme Court is ready to have a conversion experience to try to stop that.

3. i firmly believe that we need to look at BOTH fronts. changing hearts is first and foremost, i agree with you. but the scale of oppression and needs are all so urgent and so huge that it only makes sense to want to try to affect change on a larger scale, while we wait for hearts to catch up. that may be a fault of ours, but it's not as stupid as you make it sound.

Matt Gundlach said...

Dear Anonymous,
Leaving long anonymous comments on someone else's blog is lame.

I believe that in high school freshman English class I learned that you can't make an assertion and not support it with concrete evidence.
So until you give some actual examples (not taken out of context) of how "Jim Wallis' version of Christianity isn't Biblical Christianity," you're just spouting generalizations.
In fact, I think that Wallis' entire mission in starting Sojourners and the movement that ensued has been to recover a Biblical Christianity in the public sphere--the public meaning of "religion" that had been hijacked by the religious right. Understanding that poverty, war, environmental degradation, human rights are moral issues--not just abortion and gay marriage--comes from a Biblical theology. I don't think, from anything that I have read in his books or blogs would demonstrate anything "emergent." The only link to the "emergent church" at all is that Brian Mclaren is on the Board of Directors of Sojo- BUT, that is not because of his theology or church affiliation, Sojo is an ecumenical organization--bringing Christians together from across the denominational, theological divides to unite us under a common banner--that our faith means taking action to create a just society. McLaren, just like any Catholic writing for Sojo, is writing about social issues as a Christian, not about their particular theological nuances.
It sounds like you have a theological axe to grind with the emergent church (which, a study has shown, is actually dying out, and was a tiny, over-hyped sliver of the American church to begin with). All that is to say, unless you have some hard facts, then what you are saying is bunk, and actually your presupposition is entirely debatable: "What someone's theology is, is infinitely more important than what they do." I don't think that right belief isn't important, but I think that it is a very Western assumption, and I would say that best evidence for what someone believes is what they do. I have a hard time squaring your statement with Matthew 25:31-46.

(deep breath)

Anyway, Carrie, you're right.
Except that its not just that we are putting our "hopes in the political system," but in general, the political emphasis that Piper exemplifies is too one-sided. For example, instead of just making laws, we need to end policies that have widened the gap between the rich and the poor. (see this article by Glen Stassen:
We need to rethink the overall approach (the personal and the structural as Alicia said) but also the structural emphasis needs to be reexamined. We can volunteer or mentor, but we can also change the system that created the situation. (And in case anybody needs Biblical evidence for that: Isaiah 10:1-2 and Amos 5:14-15) As Martin Luther King said, (paraphrased) their comes a time when the good Samaritan has rescued so many people out of ditches that he starts to wonder if the whole Jericho road needs to be re-paved. Or, as Jim Wallis put it, you can give a man a fish, or you can teach him to fish, but you also need to find out who's polluting the lake and killing all the fish.

Carrie said...

Hi everyone, thanks for your thoughts, I am so encouraged that you are willing to think about and discuss these things. Anon (which is what I'm calling anonymous), I do wish I knew who you were, but I understand your fears. At first I was getting really upset about your statements, but now my heart goes out to you because I think I know where you're at in your own spiritual walk, and I'm saddened that the majority of evangelical Christians are right there with you.

I want to hit two things in my comment: a response about "kritikos", and defense of Wallis. The rest will be dealt with later in another blog, because my friends have brought up some good points.

First off, for all you non-Greek scholars out there, "kritikos" means to "judge" (you might have figured that out...). But as far as I'm concerned, it seems to me that God is supposed to do the majority of judging. I think this is the case because man can get it wrong a lot of times, and I believe that you have come on here and proclaimed to judged Jim Wallis for things that are just plain false, and that should make you a little scared.

Please google an article through Christianity Today, interviewer was Ted Olsen, date was 4/16/2008, and the article was called, "Where Jim Wallis stands". In this article, Wallis explicity claims to be an evangelical, holding up proper orthodoxy that is based on Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. Wallis even talks about how Sojourners had to split because half of his elder board started to move away from proper evangelical beliefs, and Wallis refused to take Sojourners on that ride. I can only imagine how difficult that must have been. The strength that Wallis must have had to go through that... I seriously can't even imagine.

Anon, you've never read Wallis' books, you've claimed to have made your conclusions from his articles, right? I don't know, I'm thinking more that you just HEARD from other people these wretched things about Wallis, and in so doing, formed a false conclusion. I believe this is how most Christians today form wrong conclusions about Wallis and other things - they are SPOON FED. People run around making wild assertions, with fancy Greek words, thinking that people will listen to them. The sad thing is, people DO!

Please Christians, stop being spoon fed, think for yourselves, and do the work before you go around kritikosing (I don't think you can use it that way...).

Hopefully anon isn't a Greek prof... ;-)

Anonymous said...

No, but my cousin is! :) I don't rely on hearsay. I subscribe to Sojo-mail and disagree with almost everything it has to say. As to Sojourners having only a organizational tie to emergent and Brian McClaren, why would Jim Wallis say "This issue includes a section of Brian McLaren’s new book, The Secret Message of Jesus a message often kept secret even by the churches themselves and utterly disguised by many of our television evangelists who seem to preach a different gospel. Brian is the spiritual leader of a new movement called the emergent church, which is drawing a generation raised in the churches back to Jesus and attracting many outside the religious community to a Jesus they never heard about from the churches. He knows that people intuitively recognize that Jesus’ message of God’s kingdom a new world of compassion, justice, integrity, and peace is the good news they’ve been searching and waiting for.
Read the excerpt, get the book, and learn the message of Jesus all over again or maybe for the first time."

Why then would Wallis speak at "More than 1,400 people met for the Emergent Conventions in San Diego and Nashville this past spring. The list of main speakers reflected the growing theological diversity of the conversation: writer and poet Kathleen Norris, social activist Jim Wallis, Episcopal writer Phyllis Tickle, postmodern (and Roman Catholic) philosopher John Caputo -- hardly the "usual suspects" at an evangelical conference. And though the majority of the participants were from conservative denominations, Vineyard churches or nondenominational churches, there was no shortage of representation from the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Episcopal Church."

"(Amo 3:3) Will two walk together except they are agreed?"

I agree with the first commenter, about changing hearts, not laws. As people's hearts are changed by Jesus, the society will change. The social gospel promoted by Sojourners is not that. The ONLY thing we have to offer the world is repentance from sins by trusting in the Savior. That must come first. Even if all we did was preach the Gospel, that is enough; that has an eternal effect. Now living in such a rich country, I would feel guilty if I did not couple the gospel with material evidence of my faith, ala "faith without works is dead". I act out of my gratitude to the Savior, because I am saved.

I hate doing this, having recently argued with other friends about "The Shack", "Wild at Heart", and other revolting books, and not caring to support Jim Wallis in any way, I will accept your invitation and order the book. Fortunately, I can get a used copy for $3.93.

sarahjhendrickson said...

I think when it comes to abortion, you are right on when you say that we should be out changing lives. Myself and my family have been actively involved with our local crisis pregnancy center for years and it has given so many girls the opportunity to choose life and introduce them to the Lord. I agree that politics should NOT be the only way we fight this battle. However, I think at the same time it is difficult to elect an official who has no problem with the murder of children. Life is the most basic of all issues. How can we elect an official who has it wrong on such a basic level? I think as Christians, we should be fighting the battle on both fronts.
But I am wholeheartedly with you when it comes to Christians ONLY fighting the battle in the political arena. There are so many crisis pregnancy centers out there in need of volunteers!

Carrie said...

Anon- The Shack? Really? Oooook, now I see where you're coming from. You're a Shack hater. Ok, now that I know a little better who I'm dealing with, until you can identify yourself (for all I know, you could be Jim Wallis playing devils advocate), I just want to commend you for taking your few dollars and purchasing the book. I look forward to talking with you more after that.

Sarah- thanks for all you and your family do! That's great!

Anonymous said...

Wow, "I'm a little frustrated with Christians...." I'm assuming that you are including yourself as a Believer?!?! Your condescending tone above makes me believe otherwise. I'm glad that you have it all figured out and can enlighten the rest of us!

Anonymous said...

With my sarcasm above, I realized that I'm doing the same thing that you are doing. I apologize for my approach. I just want to encourage you that if you hope to win other followers to Christ to your way of thinking, be aware of your approach. I'm not saying that I agree with you, but I can respect you as an individual with personal beliefs without getting ugly about it. Again, consider your approach.

Carrie said...

LOL, I guess we BOTH need to "consider our approaches" aye? ;)

Thanks for stopping by my blog and taking time to read it! I don't think I would be considered "condescending" for saying, "I'm a little frustrated with Christians". I think "condescending" would be something like - "OMG, I want to PUNCH Christians in the FACE!" But that's just my opinion...

Nonetheless, again, thanks for your comments, and I guess I need to just decide whether I am going to submit to these anonymous people. It's so amazing to me that I get backlash for actually being brave enough to give you ALL of me, and let me know my opinions, but the anonymous people can't even make up a name to let us know who they are. Craziness.


Carrie said...

Darnit, I meant "submit" as in keep publishing their comments... not actually believing their opinions... sorry to confuse.

Anonymous said...

My used "The Great Awakening: Reviving Faith and Politics in a Post-Religious Right America" could arrive as early as June 5. I am looking forward to reading it.

Anonymous said...

"At first I was getting really upset about your statements, but now my heart goes out to you because I think I know where you're at in your own spiritual walk, and I'm saddened that the majority of evangelical Christians are right there with you." This is condescending...among other statements in your reply above...just needed to clarify. As far as being anonymous...I'm not using my computer, and I do not have a google account. I stumbled upon your blog while reading another. -Marie

Carrie said...

Anon #1 - Stoked for you! I am going to start reading it again alongside you.

Anon #2 (aka. Marie) - Again, thanks for stopping by. Sorry if you received my comments as condescending... i don't want anyone to feel worse than they were before stopping by my blog! :)... but i only speak what i believe to be truth, to hopefully open other peoples eyes. And I meant everything I said, and I believe I responded appropriately to what was given to me.