Last night I caught an EXCELLANT episode of the Charlie Rose show. He hosted Pastors Rick Warren and Gregory Boyd. I must admit that I was somewhat turned off by the commercialism surrounding Warren's book, "The Purpose Driven Life" and I can be critical of mega churches. So, I didn't give Warren much attention. I must say that I was floored by his comments. He spoke about the intersection of the 'evangelical' and 'social' movements in the church calling for a new focus on both the centrality of Christ and a outward focused faith. He is calling for the church to seek a commonality of purpose centered on the call of Christ to fulfill the Greatest Commandment of loving God with everything and serving our neighbor. It appears that a few years (through his wife) became aware of the issues surrounding AIDS in the world. This impacted his faith. I'm VERY impressed and hope to hear more from Rick soon.
Rose tried to nail Warren down about the health of the church. Warren, I believe rightfully, said the church is gaining influence and is truly 'alive' in South America, Africa and Asia and is waning in influence in the US and Europe. He said that the church is 'going south'. This is certainly what we experienced when we lived in Mexico. The Gospel is having great impact in Latin America...
The second interview was with Pastor Gregory Boyd. Boyd just wrote a book called, "The Myth of a Christian Nation. How the Quest for Political Power is Destroying the Church" I haven't read the book yet but his premise is that Jesus called the church to be the church, to be 'salt and light' and not strive for political power. He mentions that in every instance starting with Constantine when the church has gained political influence it has been as corrupt and debase as anything 'secular'. That's not to say that the church isn't to have influence on society, but the influence is based on morality and service not power. There was an article about him in The New York Times. Read it here.
This is refreshing stuff. I'm encouraged with what Warren is saying. IF we can have more church leaders of his stature talking about issues such as AIDS and poverty we may see the sleeping giant of the evangelical church beginning directing funds and energy toward some of the world's great issues. I agree with Boyd and his call for Christians to be the church that God called us to be and not a wing of a certain political party.
Loving the San Francisco Bay Area... Community development, urban ministry, trying to defeat poverty, faith, religion, politics, good music, the quest for the perfect pizza, the Yankees, motorcycles... All in a 'day's life'