Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. (James 1:27).
(Tim) Comment #16 under Mr. Kristoff's blog follow-up to the oped piece he ran in the Times, today:
No church in the country has had a higher visibility in evangelical
leadership during the twentieth century than Boston's Park Street Church
where, for decades, Harold John Ockenga formed the consciences of
coming generations of evangelical leaders. Go back to the eighteenth
century and it's Park Street on Boston Common where William Lloyd
Garrison spoke, repenting of his colonization compromise on the slave
question, announcing his new commitment: "No union with slaveholders."
Before that, Park Street was central to the Sunday school
movement--another national work of the Christian social conscience.
This to say that the sort of evangelicals tracing our theological heritage back to men like Jonathan Edwards (who suffered in his second pastorate for his unflinching defense of the native Americans in his small village) have always been the bleeding edge of liberal when liberal means loving and generous and, like good Job, snatching the innocents from the jaws of the wicked.
To those who know historic--not mass-market blowhard evangelicalism, the suggestion that President Bush was a sea-change in our concern for the poor and disenfranchised is humorous. Jim Wallis has never spoken for us...
He’s all about politics
while we work quietly doing the things Christians have always done.
Think of literacy: worldwide, conservative Christians' faith in God's Word has led international literacy work through agencies like the Summer Institute of Linguistics and Wycliffe Bible Translators. Move on to prison reform, child labor laws, human trafficking, literacy, AIDS education and nursing for the dying, malaria and smallpox eradication, protection of the Jewish minority in the Middle East, hospitals, the dignity and equality of women, the civil rights movement--the list could go on at great length before arriving at an end to works of compassion the secular and pagan world takes for granted and has never stopped to acknowledge and give thanks to Christians of Biblical commitments for their critical leadership in each of these areas.
And this is not even to mention the Confessing Church’s lonely opposition to Hitler within Germany and our opposition, today, to the slaughter of millions upon millions of unborn babies—social justice work our benighted columnist disses by his reference to those “who seem obsessed with gays and fetuses.” Yes, yes; they once thought we were obsessed with slaves, too.
To the chattering classes, it’s hard to imagine why followers of Christ would be pleased to be off the radar. But then, Jesus was born among the livestock in Nazareth and He told us to take up our crosses, daily, and follow Him.