Monday, July 23, 2007

Melissa Rogers on Power versus Authority

I have been doing quite a bit of pontificating about what what Christians should do in the world if we are to be true to our faith. I think that Melissa Rogers post today should give a healthly pause to all of us who urge others to take actions based on faith. To put it most bluntly, she is argung that we need to walk the talk:

Bruce Prescott makes me think: How often could it be said that we religious communities need to get our own houses in order before we go out and tell the rest of the world how to live?

Greg Boyd and Tony Campolo have been influential in my thinking on this point as well. Whether it is sexual morality, sacrificial giving and service to the poor, resisting the temptation to lust after power, or a turning away from commercialism and greed, what stands can we take that will a) force us to do the hard work of bringing our own conduct in line with our principles; and b) send a message to the world that is more powerful than all of our public statements and pronouncements that simply tell others what to do?

I'm not saying that there aren't times for telling others what to do. Clearly, there are. But, as Tony Campolo says, when we do so, we can speak from a position of power or from a position of authority. Mother Teresa, he explained, spoke from a position of authority because of her sacrificial lifestyle. People listened to her because they knew that she lived the principles she called on others to adopt. What about us?

Read it here. By the way, if you are interested in the interface of faith and public policy from a Christian perspective that respects pluralisim and basic american values like freedome of religion, read Meliss every day.

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