Saturday, December 02, 2006

the Rick Warren/Barak Obama controversy

On the 25th anniversary of the outbreak of AIDS, and on World AIDS Day, Senator Barak Obaman spoke at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church in California.
I applaud Rick Warren in his decision. Frankly I don't know what all the buzz and problem is about. Well,...yes I do. But I don't accept the complaints as valid. The complaints, I'm referring to are those expressed from the evangelical "religious right".

My question for my brothers and sisters who disagree with me on this, is: Have you found the perfect politician or perfect political party? According to criteria you've laid down, evidently many of you could reply in the affirmative, believing you have found such people.

I believe the error here, lies in our belief that we can find, or even make the perfect candidate. And that perfection is measured according to what? According, hopefully, to the revelation we receive from Scripture, of the kingdom of God come in Jesus. This kingdom closes the door on all injustice and evil. Bringing a good news that proclaims God's grace for forgiveness, healing, restoration and reconciliation. We can never be happy over abortions continuing. But neither can we be happy over people dying of AIDS. Or struggling in impoverished conditions, with insufficient medical care. Or a host of other things.

I'm thankful for Rick Warren's stand. And hopefully it will help evangelicals as a whole to break the grip that the religious right has had on us for so long. And answer with a better witness. One that is satisfied with nothing less than the revelation and realization of God's kingdom come, in Jesus. And may that begin with each of us, where we live.

What about you? What do you think about this, and why?


Brad Boydston said...

I don't have any problem with it. But I wonder if the unspoken underlying issue is that Warren is functioning more and more in the political realm (probably a necessity when dealing with AIDS issues) while his reputation is founded on an apolitical ministry. That is, people are just not used to seeing Rick Warren as a political figure -- left or right -- and it makes them uncomfortible to think that this guy is unpredictible and powerful.

Ted Gossard said...


Good point.

My guess, even though it is a different world for me, but from what I pick up and perceive from others, that you are exactly right to raise this issue. And it will be that kind of concern for a good many.

Allan R. Bevere said...


I agree completely and it will also provide the way for some important dialogue on social issues important to evangelicals, such as abortion.

Ted Gossard said...


Thanks. And yes. We need such dialogue.

RonMcK said...

Americans always seem to be looking for a political messiah. Roosevelt, Kennedy (2),Clinton, Bush, Obama. Human messiahs always disappoint.

Ted Gossard said...


I agree. We need to see everything in perspective. And the perspective we must have is the kingdom of God revealed in Jesus. This casts quite a different light on things.

In that light we can appreciate good leaders for what they are, and acknowledge their limitations. And the same goes for politics, as well as any nation's position in the world.

I know you already know this. Though we may differ on what the vision of God's kingdom means for us. Yet as Christians we can find much common ground there.

Thanks. And "Happy Sunday" (have a blessed Sunday) already over there in New Zealand!