18 December, 2008

An Uncomfortable Kingdom

The big political story of late is that El Presidente Elect-o has asked Rick Warren - pastor of Saddleback Church and Great High Potentate of the Pupose-Driven Empire - to offer the invocation at the inauguration. (See the story here.)

Understandably, gay and lesbian advocates (and many other folks) have expressed their dismay and anger at the choice. After all, Pastor Warren is very socially conservative. While he has challenged evangeilcals to confront the issues of poverty and the spread of AIDS, he remains opposed to gay marriage and is outspokenly pro-life.

I'm no fan of Pastor Warren - I'm not very Purpose-Driven, I guess - nor his theology (especially his ecclesiology), nor still some of his poitical opinions. I can understand on one level why many folks would be bugged that he was given such an honor.

On the other hand, this is exactly what Mr. Obama promised whilst campaigning: a new kind of politics that seeks to bring people together even when they disagree. Did folks think that he meant that he would only work with people when they disagreed on, say, the type of dog he should get? I don't agree with much of Pastor Warren's agenda, and would have probably chosen someone different. (I'm not saying I should have been invited, but I do have a blog, so I'm kind of a big deal....) But I am hopeful that perhaps this new approach to politics might actually open some eyes and soften some divisions.

And at the risk of waxing too Jesus-y, it makes me think a bit about the Kingdom that Jesus invites us to join. Politically, one can pick and choose with whom one stands. But in God's Kingdom, we don't get so much say. We can choose if we're in or out, but we can't choose who else gets in. I might think Rick Warren is kind of a doofus, but he's my doofus brother in Christ, like it or not. I think that some of his ideas fall outside of God's scandalous Kingdom, but that doesn't mean he does. Grace is really very irksome that way.

A very dear colleague whom I admire deeply (well, OK, actually it was just Eilidh*.....zing! A shout-out and an insult, all bottled together!) said that she believes that Heaven will be a lot of work. I'm not smart enough to know what the great hereafter is like, but I know that the here-and-now Kingdom of Heaven is a lot of work. It's not easy loving people you don't particularly like. It's challenging. It's often uncomfortable. (You mean, I may have to sit next to that guy?) But that's why it's God's Kingdom, not ours. I may not like it all the time, but I can trust that maybe God knows what God's doing. Maybe God is Purpose-Driven, after all, but just by a more divine purpose than we can easily see.

much peace, much love, etc.

*for non-Scottish speakers, "Eilidh" is pronounced like "Hailey" without the H. That's why I like to address email to her with "Hola Eilidh" - it sounds funny. In written form, though, it looks like a minor character from an H.P. Lovecraft Cthulhu story. Just sayin'....

1 comment:

  1. Okay the thing that is actually insulting is that you think I'd be a MINOR character in the Lovecraft opus!