The Taliban Approach

Many of us carry anxiety with us around the current Federal Government shut down and the dangerously close proximity of default.

I labor as a pastor wondering what to write, what not to write, how to speak for the church without being political etc… Numerous loyalties swirl through my head.

So what do I know and what do I think God calls pastors to say?  I think what needs spoken to is the ugliness that fundamentalism in all its forms, political or religious, creates.  Such fundamentalism is the scorch-and-burn politics so rife in the metaphorical Taliban approach.    And I believe that fundamentalism is property of the right and the left.

The only way out of that dilema, that dividing of the field as it were, is vision.  ”Where there is no vision, the people perish.”  (Prov. 29:18)  That means where there is vision, the people come alive.  Where there is vision, we transcend fundamentalism.

None of that is easy.  Creating and then communicating vision is difficult.  Allowing the graceful space for self-generated buy-in is even more difficult.  Yet that is where the future lies.  The church’s role in that arena can settle into a unique space … except when we author the Taliban approach ourselves.

We are living, in the religious world, within that tension between fundamentalism on the one hand and on the other, the new forms being born.  Very interesting isn’t it to think that Pope Francis and 16-year-old child activist Malala Yousufzai essentially, underneath their specific agendas, so obviously carrying the same DNA forward.  Both are deservedly cast more and more into the role of our current moral thought leaders.  And they both speak to the freeing nature of a loving faith, not the fundamentalist nature of faith more interested in judgment than healing.

Their thought echoes the New Church perspective that God’s love in us grows as we grow to love ALL of God’s creation, every human being.   That vision extends us well beyond fundamentalism.  That vision, obviously, does not balance the budget, save Obama’care or make best friends of political enemies.  What it does do is point us to something higher than the petty camps we so readily divide into.  That is the space from which solutions grow.

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