Scott on November 29, 2006 at 11:19 am
If you haven’t heard the buzz, there are a lot of very upset Christians out there whose ire is focused on Rick Warren and Saddleback Church’s upcoming Global Summit on AIDS and the Church. Specifically they are bothered about the invitation that has been extended to Illinois Senator Barack Obama to speak at this conference.
Not surprisingly, the people over at Slice of Laodicea are a part of the group that is irate at Mr. Warren for his decision to invite Obama to Saddleback, and for what they consider to be his hard-heartedness for refusing to reconsider and rescind that invitation. Because of Slice’s rabid hatred for Warren and what he stands for (or what they think he stands for), they are beyond giving Warren any credit and/or benefit of the doubt related to this issue.
But they aren’t the only ones. There are a lot of groups out there who are upset about this whole situation and I understand the reasons. In fact, not only do I understand what they are saying, I agree with them in part. Obama is very supportive of abortion, while I am not. That alone puts us on opposite side of things. It has nothing to do with politics and has everything to do with morality and ethics.
At the same time, I have to wonder if a certain amount of compartmentalization isn’t necessary to live and function in the world. To many, the idea of compartmentalization smacks of compromise and/or selling out. But I’m not talking about compromising what we stand for and selling out our beliefs as Christians in order to “get along” with society. I’m talking about recognizing that at times, though our faith can and should infuse everything we say and do as Christians, it doesn’t mean that we should withdraw from and/or refuse to participate in the process of living in this world or from working along side others as we do so. The process of being the salt and light of this world necessitates interacting with the world on a daily basis in work and play, in buying and selling, in meeting the needs of society and fighting against social ills and injustice. It is ALL covered by our faith. Our commitment to the Lord and how we live our lives as Christians on a day-to-day basis is how the rest of the world can see Christ.
For example…I am a Christian who lives within a community that is populated by hundreds of thousands of other people. Some are Christian, but most are not. My community supports its law enforcement officers tremendously while also encouraging community policing, meaning that the community at large is encouraged to be supportive of law enforcement and to report crime or suspicious activity whenever possible. When I do this (which I have done on a couple different occasions), my first concern isn’t whether or not the cops that are being sent are Christian. That doesn’t affect whether or not I will accept their help in stopping the crime that I am reporting. The crime is wrong and needs to be stopped, no matter who stops it…an atheist cop, a Jewish cop, a secular humanist cop, or a Christian cop. In terms of the law, they are all the same and equally able to stop the crime. Their motivations may be different from mine, but we both desire the same end.
In the same way, abortion is a crime and is evil on every level…morally, civilly, spiritually, socially, psychologically. It’s wrong all the way around. It doesn’t matter to me if the people fighting along side me to stop abortion are doing it for spiritual, moral, or social reasons. It is important that it stop. Period. Where they stand on other issues is important to me, but it won’t stop me from accepting their help (or from offering mine) in the battle to stop the murder of the unborn.
Barack Obama supports abortion, which I detest and abhor. At the same time, I also detest and abhor a disease like AIDS that is not just a medical tragedy but is also a disease with a moral and/or spiritual component that generates a moral and spiritual curse that damages societies all around the world. Since I cannot decide who is on “my side” with any given issue, isn’t this where compartmentalization comes in, which allows me to work along side of someone to stop one evil, while working along side of someone else to stop evil that the first person supports.
It isn’t ideal, but my only other choice is to decide to ONLY work with those whose spiritual, moral, ethical, political and psychological choices are ones that I approve of…and how often is that going to happen? Making that choice will simply create a situation where I am ineffective in society because I have placed myself on the sidelines while waiting for my “perfect team” to come along before I get into the game, rather than getting in the game and making a difference as much as possible.