Thursday, May 17, 2007
Falwell Dies Trying
Jerry is a controversal figure in the States - and in my world as well.
Some Christians I know think he's the worst thing that happened to America and some love his programs! :-)
I'm not sure what to think:
Jerry Falwell tried to unite Christians to apply pressure to change the political landscape in America.
He used the numbers and influence of the 'moral majority' to lobby government to choose 'Christian' values over secular ones.
He was often controversial and on many occasion said things that made me cringe (and wince at the thought of people thinking he represented Christ)... from gay agendas to anti-semitic sentiments - Jerry didn't hit the mark. The tinky winky thing was over the top... enough to give any true blooded religious freak the giggles... really.
He did try though - and I think his trying was true. Which is to say, that at least he did something. That said, his political strategies confused me. I'm not here to judge the man - I'll leave that to God - but his life got me thinking:
The thing is: can we impose Christian values from without and use force, coercion and threats? And what are the 'christian values' we should be lobbying for? Or do Christian values come with following Jesus... granted Jerry did both (he ran a church, university AND tried to influence government), the questions his life and witness bring up for me are:
1. how do we influence politics without becoming judgemental? (can we offer alternative ways of doing life and community without condemning people who don't choose it?)
2. how do we invite people into the freedom of Christ without sounding religious? (Jesus was constantly hanging out and really liking people who didn't follow God... can we lose the 'insulating' nature of the 'evangelical right'?)
3. how do we inform people to think through policies and government strategies without 'herding' them into a group mentality and telling them what to think? (making critical thinking a priority for Christians instead of conformity?)
4. how do we operate as 'salt and light' in the world - making political differences without blurring the lines of church and state? (and why is that line so important?)
5. how do we decide what points are the ones worth fighting for? Falwell decided on anti-homosexual legislation - but didn't mind tax breaks for the rich.... is that consistent with scripture?? is poverty not a moral issue??
not answers or judgements here people - just questions. It's the questions...