Sunday, August 25, 2013

We're all bastards, but God loves us anyway

Will Campbell (1924-2013) was a radical Christian, a native of Mississippi who was involved in the Civil Rights movement from its beginning and also ministered to members of the KKK. When challenged to sum up Christianity in ten words said, "We're all bastards, but God loves us anyway."

He was no less straightforward about the involvement of the church in politics. This was an area where my brother and I had many a conversation. He felt it was appropriate to hang the flag above the altar, and invite the candidate your congregation favoured in to preach the Sunday morning service, and collect contributions for his campaign. I believe the government's job is governing, and the while each of us must act from moral conviction the church has no business meddling in affairs of state. I think Will and I would have gotten along just fine.

"I believe God made the St. Lawrence River, and the Rio Grande River, and the China Sea and the English Channel, but I don't believe God made America, or Canada, or Mexico, or England or China. Man did that… Patriotism is the insistence that what we have done is sacred. It is that transference of alligance from what God did in creating the whole world to what we have done with (or to) a little sliver of it. Patriotism is immoral. Flying a national flag - any national flag - in a church is a symbol of idolatry. Singing 'God Bless America' in a Christian service is blasphemy. Patriotism is immoral because it is a violation of the First Commandment."

If you are doubtful how Christ would look if He walked among us today, look no further than Will D Campbell. There's a wonderful program about his life, his philosophy and his work, below. Grab a cup of coffee and prepare to be entertained.

If you can't see the embed watch it here.

God's Will from The Center for Public Television on Vimeo.

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