Weekender: April 29, 2017

Weekender: 04/29/2017

Welcome to the weekend! Each week, we like to offer a few quick highlights from our week that we think will give you something worthwhile to think about over the weekend. Enjoy this week’s Weekender and add to it in the comments below!

Quote Worth Repeating: “In both roles, as a journalist and as an organizer, I’d learn that it’s possible to fall in love with a revolution — then doubt it, fight with it, lose faith in it, and return with a sense of humor and a harder, lasting love. I would have to learn the same thing about church when I was much older, and it would be no easier.” From Take This Bread by Sara Miles.

Blog Post to Read: Kent recommends Bishop Robert Barron’s “‘Grace Alone’ 500 Years Later” on Christianity Today. It is a thoughtful, not to mention timely, reflection on the difference between Luther’s theology of grace and a Catholic theology of grace.

Theology Forum Flashback: Steven Duby’s “Scooping Out the Moon” was posted in April 2010. In the post he shares a quote from Barth on the “knowability of the Word of God” and raises some tantalizing questions about popular evangelical assumptions about the pastor. Also in April 2010, Kent Eilers posed important questions about how we often move people quickly from profession of faith to baptism. His underlying question is this: do new Christians need theology?

Questions to Ponder: I have had several interesting conversations regarding politics and preaching this week. Here are a few questions I’ve been asking. Weigh in with your own questions or kindly offer your own insights below!

  • What do we mean when we say “politics” or “political”?
  • Is the church, local or universal, political?
  • How and when should preaching be political? Can preaching ever be apolitical?
  • Is it crossing the line for a pastor to take a side on a political issue from the pulpit? Why or why not? Another way of asking this questions could be: should a preacher risk upsetting congregants who may disagree for the sake of helping the congregation think theologically about current events?

3 thoughts on “Weekender: April 29, 2017

  1. I think it’s perfectly fine and even necessary at times for a pastor to promote issues that are political, but no political system is perfect so it should never look like the pastor is the mouthpiece of the Democratic or Republican parties (or Green or whatever). When Trump tried to pass his anti-immigration bills I wanted more Catholic bishops to condemn the policy. We need to condemn actions that violate the Gospel, whether they occur on the individual, local, or national levels. Some sins are structural, so they need to be addressed politically.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Fariba. I think I am with you that part of the pastor’s teaching mission is to help their congregation see where the Gospel intersects with public life. If pastors aren’t helping clarify how the Gospel shapes a particular Christian community’s thought and deed related to immigration, then who is? MSNBC? Fox News?

      I am also with you that the pastor should never be a mouthpiece of a certain party or platform. Yet the pastor may have to risk offending congregants who are deeply partisan by challenging their partisanship. And this is the crux. Should this be done from he pulpit? Or should it be reserved for private mentoring? These are tricky questions!

  2. Pingback: Baptism, Preaching, and Politics – Theology Forum

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