“The less engaged people are, the more they tend to criticize. The more engaged people are, they have far less time [and] energy with which to criticize.”
She might as well have completed the above statement with the dismissive wave I heard in her voice. But she didn’t.
She’s a pastor’s wife. Her bread and butter (and heart and soul) are wrapped up in the local church. I have been there. Perhaps the mile I walked in those shoes helps me understand the sentiment. And I think there is a place for tempering unjust criticism from sources that seem negatively biased. That protects people, sure.
But I can’t let it go at that.
Labels can be helpful when, for instance, applied to cans of soup or barrels of toxic waste. But they are less so when affixed to human beings – particularly when labels are meant to summarize, indelibly, one’s spiritual identity.
In a recent Rolling Stone interview, Marcus Mumford, the 26-year-old lead singer of the wildly successful British band Mumford & Sons, raised the hackles of religious folks (in some quarters) when he declined to claim the “Christian” label as his own.
You see, Marcus is the son of John and Eleanor Mumford, who are the national leaders of the Vineyard Church in the U.K. and Ireland, an arm of the international evangelical Christian Vineyard Movement. Last year, he married actress Carey Mulligan, whom he’d met years earlier at a Christian youth camp.
And the music of Mumford & Sons, for which Mumford is the main lyricist, is laden with the themes and imagery of faith – often drawing specifically upon the Christian tradition. They explore relationships with God and others; fears and doubts; sin, redemption, and most of all, grace.
Ever since Peter and Paul had opposing views about ministry to the Gentiles, there have been divisions in the Christian church. But rarely in the course of church history have differences among Christians been so exploited and manipulated for political gain by those outside the church as is the case today.
I used to be just like Glenn Beck, only without the multi-million dollar TV show: I used to get attention by angrily, and humorously, attacking politicians. I'm ashamed of how I acted back then. And now, of all people, it's Glenn Beck who's attacking me on TV for it...
[... continued from part 1]
All I'm trying to say is that whether we wear the label of Christian conservative or Christian liberal, what matters most is that we are Christian. The Bible reminds us that there is no male or female, Jew or gentile, bond or free, but in Christ we are all the same, sinners saved by grace.
What I've learned is that many of my liberal and [...]
It wasn't until I started working in the world of religion and politics with advocacy organizations on Capitol Hill that I ever heard anyone define Christians as liberal or conservative. These terms were not used in my church experience. But when I recall different experiences working in the church, I can see how some members of the churches where I worshiped then, where I worship now, and in congregations across the country, fit into these categories. I've found it difficult to [...]