reflection on The Myth of a Christian Nation and Colossians 1
Why did so many people leave Woodland Hills Church when Boyd preached his original message series?
Boyd says, in an interview with Charlie Rose, that he thinks 1,000 people left because “Some people didn’t understand what I was saying…some, their mindset is so politicized that if you are not supporting the right-wing political cause, you must be a ‘liberal’ and so they assumed that I was sneaking in liberal politics when I am actually saying the kingdom of God is beautiful and it transcends this partisan political stuff…and then others just flatly disagree: their faith is so strongly wedded to American nationalism and to right-wing politics that for their pastor to say that this is not what we’re about is to go AWOL, so in anger or in frustration, they left.”
I think Boyd needs to consider yet another possibility: That there may have been a significant number who do agree with him about the inappropriate power-grabs of the Religious Right, but that they found his solution to be unsatisfying.
I am one who would LOVE to go to a church that explicitly states that God is not a Republican or a Democrat, a church that never hands out “voter guides” published by the Christian Coalition, a church that does not perpetuate the myth that America is a Christian nation, etc.
I have left congregations that have done this, for I feel this kind of politicizing of Christianity is not aligned with the will of God.
But I do not agree with Boyd’s solution to the problem. I do not agree with his labeling government as a satanic evil and destructive power. I think that there are other solutions to the problem than to simply chalk up all government as evil and “power over.”
So, I wonder…
Since I have left other congregations because of what I listed above, if I were in Greg Boyd’s congregation, would I have left?
Maybe. But for different reasons.
I sincerely believe that Christ seeks to redeem everything. I believe what is written in Colossians—“For by him (Christ) all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him…For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross." (Col 1:16, 19-20).
If all things (including “thrones, powers, rulers, authorities”) were created by Christ and for Christ, and are being reconciled back to Christ (whether things on earth or things in heaven), then I don’t know if I would remain under a pastor that seemingly denies this. I'd have to sit down and talk with Pastor Greg and hear his thoughts on this passage. I deeply respect Greg Boyd (I have read a number of his books and have found much of this book on politics to be intriguing), and I'd hate to have to leave the church he pastors over something like this. He seems to be a reasonable and articulate Christian who passionately loves the Lord and wants the church to be what it should be, and that has a lot going for it!
Posts in this series:
Chapters 4 & 5
Reflection: Boyd and Colossians 1
Chapters 6 - 8
technorati: politics, emerging church, social action