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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What I’m Reading Today: 2 Thessalonians 2

Those of you who have read my blog for a while now, know that I have a deep interest in politics. I’m not sure exactly what it is that fascinates me about politics as I was raised in an extremely apolitical family. I can put my finger on at least one thing that captures my interest when it comes to politics: it represents one area in our society where we get to see whether individuals (and nations) actually live by the values to which they pay lip service.

Living by the values one professes sounds as if it ought to be an easy thing to do. In reality, however, it’s a much more difficult endeavor. Let me give you an example of what I mean.

As a progressive person, I’m someone who believes very strongly that there should be a separation between the church and state. That has been a given for all of my life.

Over the weekend, I saw a movie titled “8: The Mormon Proposition”. The purpose of the film was to expose the way the Mormon Church violated the principles of the separation of church and states by pouring millions of dollars (and thousands of volunteers) into the effort to pass Proposition 8 here in California.

It’s easy to stand back from the film and think to oneself, “That’s horrible! It was wrong for the church to get involved in that campaign. They should have stayed out.”

In the next moment, however, I wonder how many progressive churches participated in some way in the process to defeat Proposition 8. How many had sign up sheets for “No on 8” volunteer opportunities in their Narthex? How many sermons were preached that told members to vote against Proposition 8?

In other words, I wondered what disturbed me about the film. Was I upset because the Mormon Church got involved; or was I upset because I didn’t agree with the Mormon Church’s position on the issue? Those are two VERY different questions.

Further, if I want to take a firm stand on principle saying “It is always wrong for a church to get involved in politics” then what are the implications for the way I as a pastor act when faced with burning issues like health care reform and immigration legislation? Tough questions with which to wrestle.

So why am I talking about this today?

Well, in today’s passage the author of 2 Thessalonians wrote: “So, friends, take a firm stand, feet on the ground and head high. Keep a tight grip on what you were taught, whether in personal conversation or by letter.”

My question for us to consider is this: “How do we do that? How do we take a firm stand in ways that are not only legal but compassionate and Christ-like as well?

Til next time…

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