Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tin Man and Straw Man

I am spending the week in a Christian commune in Boston.  Not really a commune--just a house that several Christians all live in, sharing some measure of life together. 

These people and those like them put their money where their mouth is. They live simple lives--they donate much of their money to those in need--they care deeply about God's kingdom and will being done here on earth as it is in heaven.  You will feel welcomed by them--no ten-foot barbed wire fence to climb, no hidden landmines which make you walk on eggshells.  In fact I think these people are very close to reliving the life of the early church.

I picked up a magazine here in their house called Sojourners.  It's a thoughtful, passionate magazine that loves God and engages the world around us. It's also more of a liberal than a conservative rag.  I notice they are more likely to criticize Republicans than Democrats, though they submit both to the litmus of God's word and way. 
It may be very hard for a conservative such as myself to swallow that someone can be a good Christian and be easier on Democrats than Republicans.  They have one article I read which analyzed the Libertarian party by Christian standards (doing an excellent and thought-provoking job from the Scripture), but in the end over-stepping and suggesting Libertarian political dogma is farthest from God's way. 

It's very easy for me to step up and pull out my fully loaded conservative shotgun and start blasting away at some of these arguments. But I'm not going to. In fact, though I don't agree with everything they're saying (and strongly disagree with some points), I have been blessed and sharpened by reading this magazine.  I suggest if you are a conservative evangelical Christian you go out and read at least one of these as graciously as you can.  On the other hand, if you are a bleeding heart liberal Christian, I suggest you go out and grit your teeth and read a few issues of World magazine or Christianity Today and listen to some other points of view. 

God, I think, has given His children different insights into Himself. The problem is when we grasp our insight (abortion is wrong, or God cares about the poor) and make it our standard to judge our brothers.  Is it really so crazy to hope that the Tin Man and the Straw Man can learn to walk on the yellow brick road together, until God gives one of them a heart and one of them a brain?

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