Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.

8/04/2006

Costly Change in Politics

The Woodland Hills Church
Perhaps you have heard the news of the Rev. Gregory A. Boyd, pastor of the evangelical megasized The Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minnesota. He preached a sermon series to make clear his views on the intersection of faith and politics and in the process lost 1,000 members. An AOL news article reports,
The requests came from church members and visitors alike: Would he please announce a rally against gay marriage during services? Would he introduce a politician from the pulpit? Could members set up a table in the lobby promoting their anti-abortion work? Would the church distribute “voters’ guides” that all but endorsed Republican candidates? And with the country at war, please couldn’t the church hang an American flag in the sanctuary?

After refusing each time, Mr. Boyd finally became fed up, he said. Before the last presidential election, he preached six sermons called “The Cross and the Sword” in which he said the church should steer clear of politics, give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming the United States as a “Christian nation” and stop glorifying American military campaigns.

“When the church wins the culture wars, it inevitably loses,” Mr. Boyd preached. “When it conquers the world, it becomes the world. When you put your trust in the sword, you lose the cross.”

the Rev Greg BoydMr. Boyd says he is no liberal. He is opposed to abortion and thinks homosexuality is not God’s ideal. The response from his congregation at Woodland Hills Church here in suburban St. Paul—packed mostly with politically and theologically conservative, middle-class evangelicals—was passionate. Some members walked out of a sermon and never returned. By the time the dust had settled, Woodland Hills, which Mr. Boyd founded in 1992, had lost about 1,000 of its 5,000 members.

But there were also congregants who thanked Mr. Boyd, telling him they were moved to tears to hear him voice concerns they had been too afraid to share.
In the accompanying unscientific poll at the site with 417,241 votes in, 55% of those reading the article agreed with Boyd's views. Boyd has recently written a book, The Myth of a Christian Nation.

I think no matter how one feels about his views there was integrity in preaching them knowing that clarity would come with a cost. What do you think?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

5 Comments:

  • At 8/04/2006 12:51 PM, Anonymous Steve said…

    Good for him.

     
  • At 8/04/2006 10:14 PM, Anonymous Loren said…

    Quite impressive that he was able to overlook the "numbers game" and speak such a powerful message.

     
  • At 8/04/2006 11:37 PM, Anonymous Debbie said…

    I admire that he was willing to risk all to take a stand for what he believes is right.

    I do have mixed feelings about the message he sends. On one hand, I agree that the church should not be in the business of supporting a single political viewpoint. God's kingdom is not limited to our political structure and I believe it is a poor steward of God's resources for us to spend God's money to support a single political agenda. God's resources should be used to advance God's kingdom - going into all the world to preach the Gospel, making disciples, baptizing them. Our efforts to encourage peace, justice, etc., should be an outgrowth of what God is doing and should be independent of political controllers.

    On the other hand, I defend anyone's right to participate actively in the political process, and reject our culture's notion that people of faith need participate only if their faith does not affect how they make decisions. My father, perhaps the wisest man I know, has always said that if your faith doesn't change how you live, you don't really believe.

    It seems to be more of a question of where our loyalty really lies. There are many issues on which Christians can easily disagree. We get into trouble when we lose our focus, stop doing what scripture says is right, and get caught up in what Man says is right.

     
  • At 8/05/2006 6:36 PM, Anonymous Kenny said…

    Megadittos! ;)

     
  • At 8/06/2006 12:09 AM, Blogger CSL said…

    The first definition of liberal: "Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry." I think Mr. Boyd is underestimating himself - in an important way he is a liberal in its very best sense.
    Carol

     

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