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Monday, August 20, 2012

Pastorgraphs: “Your Pastor Might be a LIBERAL, if…”

E-Vangel Newsletter
August 20, 2012

Pastorgraphs: “Your Pastor Might be a LIBERAL, if…”

Jeff Foxworthy has made a lot of folks laugh with his “You might be a redneck, if…” comedy. I was amused a few days ago when I got an email intended to help church members identify the telltale signs that your pastor might be a LIBERAL. Thank goodness for religious Pharisees who can help us spot a LIBERAL, under any bed, or especially in any pulpit. [Tongue firmly planted in cheek.] They’ve been around for centuries, telling the Jews who the REAL Jews are; Catholics who the REAL Catholics are, and now telling the Methodists who the REAL Methodists are.

The key point of this litmus test was, “Your pastor might be a LIBERAL if…he preaches a lot on social justice.” It reminded me of Glenn Beck’s warning: “I beg you, look for the words 'social justice' or 'economic justice' on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words."

When did social justice become a bad thing for preachers?

I was unaware that it was a problem, so I checked the Bible and, sure enough, found LIBERAL preachers hiding all over the place, including:

Moses: “Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits.” Exodus 23:6 (Moses talked a bunch about justice for widows and orphans and strangers and the poor. Obviously he was a LIBERAL. How could I have missed that in seminary?)

David: “Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.” Psalm 82:3 Plus a bunch more. Oh no, not David, too!

Micah: “…what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:8. Micah, say it ain’t so!

Zechariah: “So once again, I, the LORD All-Powerful, tell you, "See that justice is done and be kind and merciful to one another! Don't mistreat widows or orphans or foreigners or anyone who is poor, and stop making plans to hurt each other."” Zechariah 7:9-10 CEV. Say what?

And don’t leave out the biggest LIBERAL preacher of them all, Jesus, who was always taking the side of the poor and oppressed, teaching us to feed the poor and thirsty, cloth the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned, and befriend the strangers.

Man, that’s heavy stuff. You can’t talk that social justice agenda from the pulpit. Somebody might hang that LIBERAL tag on you.

It is sad that in many of our churches, it’s either social justice or evangelism. It’s either “do good-ers” or “give ‘m hell fire and damnation”. John Wesley had the right idea: the church should be about BOTH. He was a theological CONSERVATIVE and a social LIBERAL (caring for the souls and bodies of England’s street orphans, prisoners, etc.).

I will remove my tongue from my cheek long enough to say, “You can call me Ray. You can call me Jay. You can call me J.J. And yes, if caring for the poor (both body and soul) makes me a LIBERAL, then call me that, too. To paraphrase Rhett Butler in “Gone With The Wind”, “Frankly, my dear, I don't give a d*** (hoot)."

I will wear the label proudly, especially on Judgment Day when Jesus says “I was THE ONE hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, imprisoned and a stranger.” (Oh yes, you see this LIBERAL preacher actually believes the Bible; that there will be a Day of Judgment – and a Day of Justice.)

Bless you, one and all, Brother Bill

From the Quote Garden:
“A quarter century ago a group of legalists asked if I believed God created the world “in seven 24-hour days”. I replied, “No”. That was blasphemy to their ears. So they “blacklisted” me, assuring me I would never get a “prize pulpit” in that denomination. They made me wear the Scarlet Letter “L” for LIBERAL. I accepted my punishment for heresy. But on the way out the door, I asked them, “Please tell me who was holding the stop watch Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3? Because the Bible says the sun, moon and stars (by which we determine time) were not created until Day 4. So how do YOU KNOW those first three days were 24 hours long? And how were you able to see the stop watch in the dark?” I’m still waiting for their answer. Personally, I think God could have done it all in 7 seconds, 7 days, or 7 trillion years. 
He is LORD God, All-Mighty.”
~ William L. Jenkins ~

Christ United Methodist Ministry Center
“Christ in the Heart of San Diego”
3295 Meade Avenue - San Diego, CA 92116 - (619) 284-9205

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