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Friday, September 23, 2011

The Rodriguez fallout and my hopes for the future

The article I did for Patheos on Rev. Samuel Rodriguez and the subsequent post I did here at my blog have brought me into an important conversation that I hope to see extended between Christian leaders and the Internet research group called Talk to Action. I am neither a formal Christian leader nor a part of Talk to Action, but I am a concerned Christian citizen who is convinced that Talk to Action is presenting to Christians in America important but uncomfortable truths. I would like to see Talk to Action knowledge and insights become a resource for serious self-examination by American Christians. I see my recent writing as a bridge between critics of the Religious Right like Talk to Action and Christian leaders who are often unaware of or unwilling to confront dangerous ideologies that are steadily moving from the fringe of the Religious Right and neo-Pentecostalism to the center of evangelicalism. As a bridge between these two groups I feel a particular burden to see that each group understand and appreciate the other, even when they disagree. That is what led me to write a number of pieces recently, and to engage in numerous private conversations, urging Christian and conservative media to take seriously the disturbing alliances and ideologies in both the Perry and Bachmann campaigns even if some of the secular media was misrepresenting certain things in their reporting on those campaigns. If Christians refuse to face certain truths because the messengers of those truths are deemed “enemies” then they will only encourage increased radicalism within Christianity. We must find a way to take seriously, because of the threat to the integrity of the Church’s voice in the world, the legitimate points of criticism and concern being raised by groups like Truth to Action. But to my friends at Talk to Action and others of like mind I also have to name concerns that I have about some of the tone and content I see in some of the reporting because I believe it lessens the chance that your reporting will make a difference in the Christian community. I am sure there will be times that I get things wrong or frustrate Christian leaders and watchdog groups like Talk to Action, but my intent is to present in private and public forums “truth in love” for the benefit of the Christian community and the broader common good. I do this not with the hope of “catching” someone or silencing religion in public life, but with the goal of more truthful speech and action on the part of Christians and the media. Keep me accountable as I seek to keep others accountable to our vocations to truly “speak truth to power.”

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