Sunday, July 30, 2006

Evangelical Churchers go Berserk

Rev. Gregory A. Boyd found out just how costly it is to remind his evangelical congregants that their church needs to stay clear of politics. After giving several sermons called "The Cross and the Sword," in which he made clear that no political party or Nation, for that matter, speaks solely for evangelicals, he lost 1,000 of his 5,000 mega-church members. Read the article here.

SteveG has been explaining to me, for years, the integral role that both evangelical and fundamentalist churches have played. I always nodded my head in disbelief--not because I don't believe it--but it is just so foreign to my experience of being a church goer.

My family brought me up in the Lutheran church. I was active in this church until I was 18 and left for college. After that, I entered into a religious odyssey that I will leave for another blog post. Thinking back to my Lutheran beginnings, I do not remember any political conversations, any encouragment from my Pastors to engage in activism over political issues, or even knowing what political party most of the congregation belonged to. Church was, in my memory, a political-free zone.

I didn't leave the Lutheran church or Christianity because of their alignment with the right-wing (I don't think, for the record, that all Christian denominations or non-denominational churches are inextricably intertwined with right-wing politics). I find myself grateful that this isn't what drove me away; I got to actually wrestle with Christian theology rather than worry over my tithing going toward political causes that make me ill.

I can't imagine what it must be like to grow up in such politicized churches. What would potlucks or coffee after church be like if you found yourself in screaming, political matches. Church would cease to be a place of peaceful renewal and spiritual edification. Instead it strikes me that these mega-churches and other less wieldy congregations--that announce anti-gay marriage rallies or drape the American flag while showing romantic images of bomber pilots--just create berserkers.