Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Lighting Advent Candles

Oh, good grief.

I don't like Rick Warren's ideas, okay? Really, really, really don't like them. He says and writes and preaches about almost everything I oppose and have opposed for most of my life. Still, get a grip people.

Atrios reacts to E.J. Dionne's column about Warren and the Obama inauguration this morning with a pithy summation:

Shorter EJ Dionne

We should welcome hateful bigots into the party if they have a large constituency on the off chance they'll renounce their hateful bigotry.
Which, I suppose, makes Melissa Ethridge a self-hating lesbian:

When we met later that night, [Rick Warren] entered the room with open arms and an open heart. We agreed to build bridges to the future.
The difference between Melissa Ethridge and Eugene Robinson or Rachel Maddow, both gay people who have denounced Warren publicly? Etheridge has actually met Rick Warren. And she actually has a good idea for how to handle him. Is Etheridge bamboozled by Warren? No, she says she met him because she truly wants to be a person for peace. It is, dare I say it, almost a Christian idea:

Brothers and sisters the choice is ours now. We have the world's attention. We have the capability to create change, awesome change in this world, but before we change minds we must change hearts. Sure, there are plenty of hateful people who will always hold on to their bigotry like a child to a blanket. But there are also good people out there, Christian and otherwise that are beginning to listen. They don't hate us, they fear change. Maybe in our anger, as we consider marches and boycotts, perhaps we can consider stretching out our hands. Maybe instead of marching on his church, we can show up en mass and volunteer for one of the many organizations affiliated with his church that work for HIV/AIDS causes all around the world.
No, I know Atrios is not a Christian, and I'm not calling on him to convert. But really, is it better to light a candle, or to curse the darkness? Do we advance our cause by demonizing those we don't like with epithets like "bigot," or do we advance our cause by trying to build bridges even with those we consider our enemies?

One step further: the infamous exclusion once posted at the Saddleback Church website indicates that Warren's vision (contrary, IMHO, to the vision of the basiliea tou theou) is exclusive. Obama's vision of the country (hardly that of the basiliea tou theou) is inclusive. Do we really want to follow Warren's model, in excluding Warren from our playground?

It's almost Christmas. It's worth thinking about.

No comments:

Post a Comment