Opening Up our Shutting Down

January 11, 2019


For today's and the next few e-vangelon messages, I'm trying something a bit different: writing a longer-than-normal article, but breaking it up into a short series, and, by offering some insights into current political problems (the most obvious one being the current government shutdown), allowing it to be political (but not partisan) in nature. The series is titled "Opening Up our Shutting Down." Before launching it, let me anticipate and answer some questions: Why this topic, now?  Because many people have been sharing thoughts like these with Kelly and me: "I'm upset, and even starting to feel hopeless about our government. People are suffering needlessly, and I started to pray about the whole situation, but I have no idea where to look in scripture, or what to say." "I'm out of a job at the moment and it had been slow over the holidays. I find I'm withdrawing a bit." "I can't do anything about this crazy government. Just need to tune out and withdraw."Those are important thoughts and feelings, and need addressing from a theological/spiritual context. Why a longer article than normal? Because part of our political problem (and spiritual/Biblical/theological problem!) is "reductionism" -- the oversimplification of complex and nuanced matters into gross over-generalizations and sound bites. But as you know, real life problems aren't solved with quick-fix solutions (or responsibly addressed in 280-character tweets). Real-life solutions take time and space to address.  But because of its length (and because I recognize that many of you won't be interested in reading further!) it's broken up into shorter pieces which I will just tee up in the e-news here, while providing a link to my own blog for those who want to read further. Why a political article? Why not just concentrate on spiritual matters? Isn't there enough partisanship?   The article is political because I'm writing from a theological or spiritual perspective about a political matter: the government shutdown. (Spoiler alert: I believe the government shutdown is the natural -- but preventable and reversible -- outcome of bad political philosophy, which is in turn rooted in bad theology.) But as I hope you know from Rev. Kelly's and my own preaching and public pronouncements, pointing out the political implications of our faith (which we unapologetically do!) is not the same thing as being partisan or weighing in on partisan matters (which we strive not to do from the pulpit or in any public setting). Following Jesus -- or, for that matter, obeying the Ten Commandments or observing our Baptismal Covenant -- is BOTH a spiritual or religious undertaking AND an inherently political undertaking. But that does not make Jesus, the Bible, the Book of Common prayer, or us, partisan. That's an important distinction, which (along with more on the problem of reductionism) I write a bit more about in part one, which you can read HERE. (Clicking on that will redirect you to my personal blog, "Unapologetic Theology" at www.unapologetictheology.blogspot.com.) On this or any other matter, I'm open to your thoughts and comments: email me at johmer@thefallschurch.org. See you Sunday, 


John

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