Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Progressive Baptist

Thanks Jason for this link.

Like many sincerely religious people, Campolo has little regard for America's consumer culture. "Christianity is countercultural," he says. "If one embraces Jesus, one has to raise some serious questions about the American way of life, especially its consumerism. Here's a society that has us buying new cars all the time, and has got us caught up with fashion models, and every year, women and men are getting rid of their clothing because somebody in never-never land has decided that these clothes are out of style. What we are discarding in this consumeristic society, because the dictates of custom have decided are out of date, is appalling. People are spending huge amounts of money on cars that are basically status symbols, and it's contrary to the teachings of Jesus. We are wasting so much money in catering to our pleasure, while we allow the basic needs of others to go unmet.

Campolo's critique of U.S. policies and culture leads him to some stark positions. "To be a Christian in today's world is to be opposed to America," he says. "Why? America believes in capital punishment, and Jesus says, ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.’ America says, ‘Blessed are the rich.’ Jesus said, ‘Woe unto you who are rich, blessed are the poor.’ America says, ‘Blessed are the powerful.’ Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.’ "

Campolo also objects strongly to churches becoming too patriotic. "We have reached a stage of idolatry when, in any given church in America, you're going to run into more trouble if you remove the American flag than if you remove the cross," he told church leaders, according to Christianity Today.


Jon said...

I simply can't get over the typical Fundamentalist equation of Christianity with the state. It makes no sense to me and never will.

Caesar is Caesar is Caesar, and the Kingdom is not of the world. Where the hell does this belief come from? I think the way I phrased the question gives the answer!

Ryan Lee Sharp said...

Jon, I so agree with you that fundamentalists tend to think of an oppressive form of Christianity as the way of Jesus. That the state should legislate Christendom domestically and all around the world... no matter what the cost of lives.

This actually sounds a bit like Constantinian Rome to me. Hmm. My friend Chris says we are entering another "dark age"-medival period. Hmm.

The way of Jesus was much more subversive and bottom-up versus top-down in an oppressive sense.

The Son of Man came to serve, not to be served.

Larry Clayton said...

Well they are Constantine like. In fact hasn't it been Constantine like since Constantine? Hasn't every war been supported by virtually every church?

Nothing has changed, friends. If we don't believe in war we're still a small minority-- a small minority in the Church. It's always been like that!!!

And the opportunities are just as fertile as they have been for 2000 years-- infinite possibilities for good.