The Common Good
November 2004

A Log in our Eye?

by Christy Lambertson | November 2004

As I was reading your September issue,

As I was reading your September issue, I was surprised to find myself feeling angry. Generally speaking, I like you people, so I was puzzled at first by my reaction.

I’ve figured it out now. It started with the first line of Jim Wallis’ "Hearts & Minds" column: "Many of us feel that our faith has been stolen, and it’s time to take it back." It is a dangerous thing to think that we own our faith, instead of our faith owning us. My faith is not a possession that can be stolen, fought over, or given away. God has me. I do not have God, and that distinction is far more than semantics.

Mixed in with the stories of people doing courageous things in Sudan, Israel, and Palestine, there seems to be a certain thread of the same siege mentality that you (rightly) criticize in the Religious Right—that feeling of being misunderstood and on the defensive. I grew up in that world. While there were a number of good-hearted, sincere, loving people in that world, one of the reasons I no longer live there is that I don’t want to be afraid anymore. I don’t like it when anyone tries to motivate me with bogeymen or a fear of some coming apocalypse.

I don’t care for many of the positions espoused by those who identify themselves as members of the Religious Right, or the way in which many espouse them, but I don’t think they’re destroying America or Jesus. America has weathered worse, and God is perfectly capable of self-defense. I question whether the Religious Right is as monolithic or as powerful as they seem to be portrayed in the pages of your magazine.

Christy Lambertson
Los Angeles, California

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