Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Church and the Politics of Compassion

I'm preaching tomorrow about meeting God again for the first time -- see my sermon blog Words of Welcome. In preparation I've been hanging around in Marcus Borg's book The God We Never Knew (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1997). Near the end of the book he talks about the "Politics of Compassion." He writes:

The church is to be the leaven of compassion in the world. In our time becoming leaven of compassion means consciousness-raising in local congregations about the social vision of the great voices of the biblical tradition, about the way social structures impact peoples lives, and about the contrast between compassion as a social vision and today's dominant political ethos. (p. 152).

Whether one is Republican, Democrat, Independent, Third Party, whatever, as Christians compassion should be the foundation of our political ethic. If we're to ask: What Would Jesus Do? I think Jesus would answer -- be compassionate, care for the poor and the oppressed -- do what it says in Matthew 25, to the least of these among you -- then you're taking care of me.

Our current political ethos is one that values individualism, but that's not what Borg calls the "Dream of God." Compassion isn't just an individual virtue, it should be expressed in our politics.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Actually like this post.. great comment "Our current political ethos is one that values individualism"

How true this statement is with issues like pro choice (really its pro abortion, but choice is an American right).. or the "right to bear arms". I have that personal right, so you better let me.

Both sides are guilty on playing politics for the individual. Add in the amount of money that will be spent in this election.. thats not the people's money.. thats corporations influencing their own "individual" desires.