Jim Wallis and Greg Boyd

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Jim Wallis of Sojourners is going to be at the Oak Park Borders tonight. Eric invited me to come and then told me to search for Wallis' debate with Greg Boyd about the role of the Christian Church in politics. I've been listening to it most of the afternoon. It's definitely worth your time.

Jim Wallis and Greg Boyd at Bethel University

Response: I was originally biased toward Boyd's position... but after listening to the debate, I don't think their stances are incompatible. Boyd is correct in emphasizing that our first loyalty/effort should be to building the Kingdom of God. Boyd however has never said it is wrong to participate in politics. Wallis believes that Christians have a responsibility to dictate the political climate, but he doesn't mandate a vote for a particular party or candidate... and condemns those who say that if you don't support candidate/issue X, then you aren't a Christian. Boyd claims Wallis' is aiming at the wrong Bullseye because he insists Christians should work to further Kingdom aims in politics, and Boyd claims that Kingdom actions are not a necessary result of that. Boyd claims thats if we aim for kingdom actions, then stressing the biblical political issues will naturally follow.

Two things stick out after listening to this... and they're both from Wallis because I've already heard Boyd on these. First, Wallis says all politicians walk around with their finger to the wind, so it's not about changing whose finger is in the wind, but rather changing the wind. Thus, if the Church forces politicians to address poverty and social injustice, then the desired changes will come about more surely than if you select the right politician. The second moment came when Wallis is talking about being at Notre Dame during an election.

Student A: "4,000 people died today because of abortion, how can we vote on any other issue?" to which Student B replies, "9,000 people died today because of HIV/AIDS" to which Student C replies, "30,000 children died today because of needless hunger and poverty." Wallis says that after an hour and a half, the room of students concluded that no candidate had a consistent ethics of life platform... and that's what we end up with - forcing us to choose between imperfect candidates... but we have to make the best choices we can.

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Check this out, interesting point of view from Monday night from another who was there.