Just Another Minute

My little world – just enjoying the ride

How to speak out for those who need a voice

5 Comments

Here is another question for you … and somewhat in line with the perception visitors have of a church they visit that I read here.

What role, if any, should a minister/pastor/clergyman have with regard to speaking out publicly beyond his/her four walls. Does that change when he/she starts to address politics? Does it matter? If so, is there a danger that people will start to attend a church that is more in line with their political views vs. attending a church the feeds them spiritually? How will visitors view a very outspoken pastor? Again, does that matter?

I ask because I really don’t know. I have a friend who is a pastor of a small church in TN., and she feels the government should be doing more to help the homeless and underserved. Is that what we want – mandating that we help through our government instead of doing with conviction what Christ instructed me to do?   Should that be the case when the church in the inner city core can not do it by themselves. 

Then again, I cannot help but wonder why all churches are not stepping up in a bigger way – the thinking being those with solid finances help and those without solid fiances still help but with the help of others. I know that Westside touches our home town, but there are a lot that are not. Then again there are a lot that are doing even more than we are. There are so many good examples out there why isn’t more being done? Why doesn’t the media cover what is being done? Is the problem so huge that it feels like we are bucking against a tidal wave? Why are a lot of churches and organizations pushing people overseas, but forgetting about the challenges we face on local level each and every day – albeit life is better on the bottom of the US pile than on the top of many third world countries. I know we need to reach everyone regardless of where they live, but why does it feel like we are forgetting about our own community to help someone elses community/country?  Then again, isn’t the world our community?  Ugh. 

I guess my heart is trying to reconcile all of this, and again thinking about my pastor friend. Do you attack the government for lack of action? Do you attack apathy and bench warmers? Do you attack greedy corporations? Executives? Businessmen and women? Do you avoid the personal attacks and just voice the inequities that exist? Do you attack at all?

I guess I am asking a lot of things without really having an answer, but to start it all off, what is the voice that should be shared?

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Author: just-another-minute

Just a guy getting through life, wondering what is going on in the world, but willing to share a few glimps of myself to you.

5 thoughts on “How to speak out for those who need a voice

  1. Great questions… reminds me of the churches that give away cars and other stuff during this time or on Holy Week to get people in the door… I know it’s not exactly what you were talking about but it just reminded me of that as well. Great post.

  2. Good post and discussion here. I agree with Bernard as churches need to be careful in making political stands.

    My stance is that the church needs to be the change we want to see. Biblically, the role of caring for the orphan, the widow and the poor has never been on the government. It has been the role of the church.

    And what a better opportunity to share Jesus with a world who desperately needs Him.

    Why would we want to depend on the government to meet the needs of these when we can meet their needs and build good will so we can share the good news.

    I can understand the passion of a minister who’s heart is for the poor and the outcast, especially in a congregation where monies aren’t there to meet the needs of people at the scale of the nation’s poverty.

    But government will never affect this world. It’s the effect of this world. Change the people and we’ll change the government.

    K… my rant and soap box is done 🙂

  3. As a “church”, I believe the stance should end at calling for anyone outside the church itself to do anything in particular. The church should live the example, and perhaps even publish the example, but only as an example, not as a command to those around. A church is a particular group of believers, and they do not represent those who are not members.

    If a church attempts to influence the forming or abolishing of particular laws, it should be very obvious that they are doing it because of their own interests, not as some false representation of the interests of others. This is especially true with issues regarding gay marriage and such. As far as calling the government to help the poor, that’s especially dangerous, as it’s clearly a political position. Offering the opportunity for other churches to join with them in some effort to help the poor, in my opinion, is clearly on the “ok” side of the line. Making some grandstand speech demanding that all true Christians open their pocketbooks is clearly on the “too far” side of the line. Taking some grandstand position that “this country” or “this state” or “this city” was founded on the Bible and that it “must return” is entirely too far, again, in my opinion.

  4. As I continue to dive into this, I would agree with you on all of your points. In particular I believe that pastors should first and foremost act out of love and not operate in attack mode if you will.

    Part of the reason I ask is due to the fact that electronic social media world is changing the way Christianity is viewed and communicated. Whether we like it or not, people are using the social media forum to share personal views as well as spiritual guidance. That is a whole different topic, but there is still so much to address here.

    In terms of your comment about social justice, what role do you see in the church addressing social justice, and where would you say it starts and stops?

  5. I don’t like it when the government invades the church, and I am liking it less and less when the church attacks the government. Pastors should not presume a voice to the “public” simply because they were elected by their parishoners. Pastors should act in love and perhaps seek assistance on behalf of those who have no voice at all, but to presume that the government MUST listen simply because they are pastors is presumptuous and wrong. It’s a very complicated situation. I believe that churches have an important role to play in “social justice”, but a bigger one to play in showing love.

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