lestermom (lestermom) wrote,

Another Look at the Book

The last three chapters of CHRISIANITY FOR THE REST OF US (this book is coming to an end, and I'm sad!) are titled: Transforming the Self, Transforming the Congregations, and finally, Transforming the World. In the last chapter the author talks specifically about politics and religion. The churches that she was studying tended to believe that social problems, like poverty and homelessness, are problems for the churches to solve, not the government. At Cornerstone Methodist Church in Naples, FL (we have family ties in that city!) a church member named Steve Hart "an active Republican" started an ambitious project of addressing social problems. He gathered people from different local denominations: Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Roman Catholics, Methodists, and Church of Christ to form an organization and think tank called the "Amos Center", their goal being to tackle and reduce poverty in their region. Steve is quoted to have said, "The Amos Center will not concern itself with Republican or Democratic politics, nor liberal or conservative politics. It will not resort to polemics and polarization. It will promote God's call for justice and social responsibility.... and seek the reconciliation of our society." He is very concerned about damage that the extreme religious right is doing to the "larger body politic and Christian churches." I admire this guy. If we don't want the government to take on the ills of society, thus raising our taxes, we need to step up and do it ourselves by our actions because it is the compassionate thing to do, not because it's the law. If we all took on the responsibility of helping the elderly, the poor, the homeless, the drug addicted, the sick, those with unwanted pregnancies... the government's job would be much, much simpler and less expensive. Churches (or any individual or group, for that matter) could perform this function. It would still cost money (and time and effort), but there would be no middleman. What a concept.
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