Appearing Monday in the online edition of USA Today was an opinion article titled “Can cause of social justice tame our culture wars?” which carries certain significance in our discussion here at Faith Line Protestants regarding being an evangelical in a religiously diverse world.
The article, which highlights Scott Todd’s “58:” project and mentions Q Ideas – a forum for Christian leaders to explore the call to create a better world – and Q founder Gabe Lyons (author of “The Next Christians”) who describes a new generation of Christians who have found the Bible’s call to serve others to hold significant relevance in their lives today.
“These are, after all, the people who accept responsibility to right seemingly every global wrong you can name while restoring the credibility of publicly expressed Christianity in the process. But the workload is exhausting only when they lose connection with their ultimate power source…”
So we’re not talking the Saturday afternoon all-church workday sort of service at which most congregations seem to excel. We’re talking about defending the oppressed, fighting poverty, and addressing other global problems.
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”
What’s more –as Lyons says – this is the activation of a network of “restorers who will work with anyone to see goodness go forward in the world and evil pressed back.” That’s right: anyone. After all, where is the commandment in our faith to only feed the hungry or defend the helpless if we’re only doing it with other Christians? It reminds me of the essence of the interfaith movement.
It seems that Lyons has captured the realization that, for practical purposes, we must be willing – even eager – to work with both the nonreligious as well as people of other faith traditions. Perhaps he has also realized that serving together has even greater potential than just maximizing the impact of our physical work (as we’ve discussed many times here on Faith Line Protestants).
Working together for common goals fosters relationships, promotes conversation, and provides us as evangelicals with the opportunity to communicate the message that Jesus was preaching – the gospel of the Kingdom of God. If that’s going to tame our culture wars… well, I can live with that.
Look for more discussion of Gabe Lyons’ book “Next Christians” here in the coming months and an understanding of how Lyons’ discussion of being Christian in a post-Christian world intersects with our discussion here at FLP.