By Alan Bean
God delights in all of us, all the time, no matter what.
We have been talking about the silence of “messy middle” churches and the need for a prophetic public theology.
Our silence, I have suggested, is a consequence of ideological diversity. Messy middle pastors can’t address issues like immigration, poverty, homelessness and wealth inequality without sparking a culture war meltdown in the pews. We have nothing to say on the big issues of the day because nothing can be safely said.
Some of my readers agree with my diagnosis of the disease but have suggested, politely and off the record, that nothing can be done. Churches can engage in ministries of charity (food pantries, soup kitchens and the like), or we can focus on issues like payday loans and human trafficking that enjoy wide, bipartisan appeal. But a big-picture prophetic public theology is a non-starter.
I have more sympathy with this counsel of despair than you might imagine. Prophetic preaching often goes wrong because it starts wrong. (more…)