Hurray for Purple Churches

Last night I took on the role of moderator of a candidates forum. My congregation partnered with the local Presbyterian church to host a forum for the local city council candidates. We wanted to do something different, something more civil and meaningful. Oh, there were some shots taken at the council as a whole, but by and large they handled themselves well. I never had to get up and tell a candidate to stop talking -- which was an amazing thing in and of itself.

I remain committed to the belief that churches/religious communities can be a positive force in public life. If, that is, we remain humble and not greedy for power. Once we start playing power politics we become less effective. If we seek political power we're liable to become pawns in the cynical power games of political operatives -- witness David Kuo's recent book on the Bush Faith-based initiative -- Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction (Free Press).

So, this morning as I checked out my e-mail I came across my link to God's Politics Blog and Diana Butler Bass's comments about Purple Churches. I give my whole-hearted assent to her propositions about purple churches. In the community of Lompoc, a fairly conservative community, our congregation, which is by no means a bastion of liberalism, is one of probably the two most progressive congregations in town and I'm probably among the most liberal pastors in town (and I always say this with a wink, since after all, I'm a proud graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary -- M.Div. and Ph.D.). So, while we're more progressive than most, we are very much a purple church -- and I must say proud of it.

So, I like what Diana has to say. Here's a taste of her posting but go read the whole thing for yourself:

"For Christians, purple is more than a blending of political extremes, a mushy middle. Purple is about power that comes through loving service, laying down one’s life for others, and following Jesus’ path."

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