Thursday, February 17, 2005

Stones Cry Out: The Barnabas Project

Although Christians today, particularly Evangelicals and, increasingly, Catholics, are often associated with the Republican party, the truth is that faithful Christians are found at all points on the political spectrum.

I never heard anybody just come right out and say it like that. As a tired old relic of the sixties who never let go, I have had to get used to the word "liberal" as a pejortive adjective or noun, something just this side of demonic.

The Barnabas Project is apparently a bridge-building exercise, hopefully with a view of finding common ground that Christians both left and right might share. Let's hope the project gets off the ground and bears fruit. I'm not too optimistic, since every time I approach a subject such as capital punishment or national health care I can see eyes rolling, teeth gritting and tight smiles trying to appear tolerant of unspeakable ideas.

Yesterday's post by Debi White urges a complete read of John Dear's A Culture of Pharisees. (Debi's blogroll might be a good place to start this project, by the way, since 2 blogs seems to be a modest start, to say the least.)

Most North American Christians are now becoming more and more like these hypocritical Pharisees. We side with the rulers, the bankers, and the corporate millionaires and billionaires. We run the Pentagon, bless the bombing raids, support executions, make nuclear weapons and seek global domination for America as if that was what the nonviolent Jesus wants. And we dismiss anyone who disagrees with us.

We have become a mean, vicious people, what the bible calls "stiff-necked people." And we do it all with the mistaken belief that we have the blessing of God.

John Dear is a Jesuit priest and the author/editor of 20 books including most recently, "The Questions of Jesus" and "Living Peace" both published by Doubleday. He lives in New Mexico where he is working on a campaign to disarm Los Alamos.

This may be too far left to qualify for the Barnabas Project, but if you aim to catch any fish, you gotta get in the water. I love reading Stones Cry Out and have only the deepest respect for who they are and what they stand for, as I do most Conservative sites that I visit. That old commercial that chanted "baseball,hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet" might just as well have had a second verse linking nominal Christians with everything American. It's downright unpatriotic to be irreligious. It follows, then, that if you are not conservative, then you must be heathen.

It is a sad reality that the American Left took root in the same secular soil in which the European Left has grown and flourished. People of faith have fared no better on the political left than "left-leaning people of faith" have fared on the right. We are a red-headed stepchild to both sides, respectable black preachers notwithstanding. White liberals were politely invited out of the movement years ago, thank you. For years we have been without a place to call home. It is a tragedy, since so many of us feel nearer the heart of Jesus than most Conservatives we know.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

John, your more of a socialist than a liberal.