Three items of interest: Church, Guantanamo, Action

posted by Mike on March 20th, 2009

“The coming evangelical collapse”
Michael Spencer:

Being against gay marriage and being rhetorically pro-life will not make up for the fact that massive majorities of Evangelicals can’t articulate the Gospel with any coherence. We fell for the trap of believing in a cause more than a faith.

Michael Bell runs the numbers. As a New England Catholic, whose own church is in steep decline while local evangelical churches seem to be thriving, these articles were full of surprises for me.

During last summer’s Catholic Worker National Gathering it struck me that the Catholic Worker movement is one of the few things about my church that’s not either in decline or in a defensive mode–the CW communities are doing great, with a good mix of ages, marked by openness, faith, and courage. I wish I could say the CW is a good model for the “future of the Church,” but interest has waxed and waned over the decades, and most people number their association with the CW in years rather than decades, so I think we’ll have to look elsewhere for that.

“Some Truths About Guantanamo Bay”
Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell:

. . . many of the detainees were innocent of any substantial wrongdoing, had little intelligence value, and should be immediately released.

But to have admitted this reality would have been a black mark on their leadership from virtually day one of the so-called Global War on Terror and these leaders already had black marks enough: the dead in a field in Pennsylvania, in the ashes of the Pentagon, and in the ruins of the World Trade Towers. They were not about to admit to their further errors at Guantanamo Bay. Better to claim that everyone there was a hardcore terrorist, was of enduring intelligence value, and would return to jihad if released. I am very sorry to say that I believe there were uniformed military who aided and abetted these falsehoods, even at the highest levels of our armed forces.

Speaking of people who should be immediately released: “Holder says some Uighur detainees could go to US”. No specifics, no commitments, but something to be hopeful about.

“The Need for Action”
Developing Worker:

I’ve always subscribed to the type of Christianity promoted in Thessalonians 4:11, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands.”

[…]

So, how can you “lead a quiet life,” and still act out for peace and get yourself noticed? Because I’m fully aware that we need to do actions like this, and we need to let people who are pissed about the System know that there’s people who are acting out against it. Because I can guarantee you that there are people in this city who live in the suburbs and are convinced that they’re the only ones that feel that life as they know it is synthetic and unreal. We need to let them know that we’re here, and we’d love it if they join us.

I wonder about this myself. I have no good answers. One nice thing about demonstrating with a bag over your head is at least your ego isn’t so involved. To a lesser extent, this is also true when you’re working with a large group. But still, these are hardly living “a quiet life.”

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2 Comments Leave a comment.

  1. On March 22, 2009 at 14:23 Tracy said:

    (Let me preface by saying that I had to look this up!)

    I think we’ve got to read the I Thessalonians verse in context: the verse concludes, “so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody” (that’s the NIV, which is what I’ve got next to the desk). That gives it a bit of a different spin. It isn’t as though the martyrs of that time were really living much of a quiet life, for all that they may have been intending to mind their own business.
    And I wonder where, as a Christian, one’s business ends? There are a bunch of other things one is supposed to be doing, after all: feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, comforting the downtrodden…sometimes those things, as in what you’re doing, directly conflict with leading what most of us would cal a quiet life.
    And Jesus’ life wasn’t really quiet, was it? ;)

  2. On March 22, 2009 at 17:46 Kaihsu Tai said:

    As the Reverend Brad Braxton of Riverside Church, New York, said a couple of Sundays ago: There is no unemployment in God’s economy.

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