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Jesus Wasn’t Crucified for Positive Thinking

Someone said recently that they are looking for a church that doesn’t talk about politics. Well, if they had meant a church that doesn’t talk about partisan politics, I would have understood, but what they really meant was a church that doesn’t encourage their members to get involved on issues like global warming, economic inequality, and the injustice of the American judicial system. They don’t want their pastor to talk about those issues from the pulpit because they are controversial, create conflict, and cause people to leave the church. I get that, too.

Tough. They need to follow some guru of positive thinking rather than Jesus. I mean, have you read the Gospels?!? How can you be faithful to the message or Spirit of Jesus and not be willing to make people uncomfortable by confronting inequality and injustice? Jesus wasn’t crucified for positive thinking. Yes, people leave the church when preachers are prophetic and speak truth to power, but I’ve discovered that the church dies much more quickly when fed a steady diet of pabulum.

I may be an extreme case, but, in my opinion, it is hypocritical to pretend you are not taking a stand when you are silent about an issue. We are co-conspirators with the system when we let it go unchallenged. Christians who are silent about capital punishment support it. When we don’t recycle, conserve energy, or cherish creation, we might as well disdain the God of Creation as climate change deniers who think they know more than 90 percent of scientists. Silence and abdication are political stands.

I grew up in the South in the 1960s and know firsthand that the churches who refused to be “political” by advocating for racial integration really were using their silence as code to support segregation. Silence was evil cowardice then and now, but it is never NOT political.

Blessings,

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Rev. Michael Piazza

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