The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Good News from Christianity, Seeking Social Justice

As a seminarian about to graduate in May, I was pondering how to get a positive message out in the midst of a swirl of snarling voices from the extremes of Christianity, and I was pondering this with great solemnity. Then a series of small events shook me from this solemn pomposity. Be enthusiastic, be funny, tell the exciting tales about the faith in action, just like you do for all things space related (if you've been here before, you know I'm enthusiastic for space exploration in all its forms). I'm equally enthusiastic about Christianity (should be since I plan to be a minister). Now it's time to let that enthusiasm show. So, here goes.

Many folks get the shivers at the word "evangelical." No wonder, considering what has happened to that word in the 20th century with the strong rise of fundamentalism and their claiming of that term for their own. (Okay, fundamentalism started in the 19th century, but who's counting?!) Anyway, did you know that in the 19th century the evangelicals were the social justice crusaders? They were the folks who stood up for the poor, the disenfranchised, and the slaves. Well, good news, evangelicals are moving away from their 20th century posture of gloom and doom, end times are now*, we are going to scold you into heaven and love you but hate your sins and only talk about those sins to ... wait for it ... social justice, peace, and reconciliation people! Now THOSE are evangelicals I can support as I too am very much in favor of social justice, peace, and reconciliation for ALL! They have put down the Tim LaHaye and Hal Lindsey end of the world books and are starting to reach out to others in need. Don't believe me? Check out this article for yourself:

Who knows where this will lead? It's exciting and I plan to be out there rolling up my more liberal Christian sleeves next to these folks so that we can be 19th century evangelical together. 

If you live in or anywhere near Philadelphia, you too can be directly involved in social justice in action. Call either Circle Thrift or Philly Aids and see when you can volunteer to work at these thrift stores. Both serve their communities providing nice clothes and other items for those with little means for good prices. They also turn their profits back into the community, investing in the neighborhoods and aid organizations that do the most good.

*Speaking of the "end times are now" attitude, here's a tip. If you find yourself working as a chaplain in a retirement community, nursing home situation and a sweet elderly lady asks you (with a smile on her face), "So, tell me pastor, are things getting better or worse today?", the answer to the question is WORSE. This sweet individual is an end times believer looking forward to a rapturous reprieve from the natural end times that await us all. I gave the wrong answer and was told it was wrong in no uncertain terms, but sweetly. Now you know.

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