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October 01, 2008

Comments

Ann

Steven and Amy,

I usually remain silent on issues that you blog about that I generally don't agree with....so all I'm going to suggest is that if you would like to post personal/political opinions on your blog maybe you should consider creating a blog that is STRICTLY for ministry purposes only and have a blog that is more personal in nature as a secondary site. To combine the two ideas in one site muddles what you are really trying to accomplish and that is bringing attention to the needs of the people group you are trying to reach with the love of Christ. In Love, Ann

steven

Ann - Thanks for the comment. Before getting into your response, I wanted to say I hope that D told you how much we appreciate the boys' clothes. We absolutely could not have made it as parents without your amazing help! Hope you enjoy pictures of Vusi and recognize J&J's outfits in them! You have been the biggest supporter of all with that gift, and we are overwhelmingly grateful!

I thought about writing a new post, but since this one is called "My Final Word," I think it will be. I've thought about your suggestion before - you'll remember we sort of tried it for a while - but maintaining two blogs was a lot of extra hassle. Also, your idea makes a lot of sense for the reasons in my first post on the issue - many people take politics personally and get offended when someone else disagrees, and some people are reluctant to give money to people/ministries that they disagree with politically even if they agree with the mission at hand. That is a very practical consideration that my father would almost certainly endorse. :) So, I agree that your suggestion is the most practical idea by far. Here are some reasons we've chosen to keep one blog (from least to most important):

1 - I'm too lazy to keep up with two or more blogs.
2 - While it is possibly true that we could raise more money being strictly apolitical in my writing, raising funds is not our primary goal (more later) and we are convinced that people (Americans in particular) need to learn to see beyond politics to a larger picture and bridge gaps in political disagreement to partner with those whom we agree on the mission at hand.
3 - This could be an entire book (and might be some day), but quickly... We reject the distinction between "personal" and "ministry" ideas. In other words, who I am should be a unified whole in which there is no sacred and secular, no personal and professional, no local and global, etc. We believe that the Gospel of Jesus is imminently political and personal, affecting all of our being and all of our beliefs.
4 - An even longer book... what we are "really trying to accomplish" isn't just bringing attention to a people group we're reaching with the love of Jesus, but is much larger. What we hope to accomplish is welcoming the Kingdom of God into this present world and joining with Jesus in bringing all of our unified world (policial/personal, sacred/secular, etc.) under his Lordship. Our particular focus at the moment happens to be spiritual, economic, and personal justice in Southern Africa. But welcoming the Kingdom of God is a single, unified, cosmic undertaking - and that includes working out the influence of the Gospel on national politics and global economic systems as much as it does helping local African churches proclaim the Good News, start new churches, provide economic opportunities to the poor, and care for vulnerable children. It is all connected, and it is all one mission. So when I write about the Wall Street bailout, I hope to do so from the perspective of one who does not trust in men or political systems, but as one who seeks to interpret the message and active participation of Jesus in those plans and systems. So those who disagree with me politically are still my friends (and family!) without prejudice, but the interaction I'm hoping for is a level beyond political or economic expediency, but on the idea of how the Unified and Whole Truth of Jesus' Gospel collides with our political beliefs.

Yikes - that was almost the whole book! But hopefully that begins to explain why from time to time (once a year at best) there are some political thoughts on this blog, which also contains pictures of my beautiful baby boy and stories of the work we're doing with local churches in Africa. It is all connected through the Gospel of Jesus and the welcoming of the Kingdom of God. At least, that is what I'm trying to work out in my own life and through my (seldom read) writing on this blog.

Also, I should conclude by saying that I could be completely wrong about all of this! So if I am, please let me know - I change my mind like Vusi changes nappies and am very open to learning about where I have wrongly interpreted the message of the Gospel - in relation to economics or raising my son!

The good news on this issue is that the ultra-conservative Club for Growth and the ultra-liberal MoveOn.org both hold the same position I do, so no one really knows why to be angry with me. :)

All our love (and many thanks!) - Steven (and Amy)

Chris

Dude, you don't even have an updated blogroll. Two blogs-ya...not happening.

Leslie Garrote

HI Steven!
Thanks so much for sharing your point of view concerning our political circus from the extremely beautiful (and political!) CapeTown.
I whole-heartedly agree that Jesus calls us to follow him by engaging the world. We are called to be peace-makers by ushering in His Shalom, the new Kingdom. Seeking the Kingdom principles (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) can be done on Capitol Hill and in the townships of Cape Town and everywhere in between. Even Hockey moms need some shalom!!!
Thank you for reminding us that our lives and actions cannot be compartmentalized into the "politcal" and "personal." As a donor, I thank you for reminding me that our relationship is not just one-sided. I am called to receive the wisdom that you can share with me through your particular vantage point just as much as I am called to give to your work.
Let us, today, reflect on what it might mean for "the first to be last and the last to be first" in this world. Let us not be "unapologetically" American, but repent of our collective sins as a nation, both past and present. May God's Kingdom Come...Soon!!!
Peace to you,
Leslie
ps. steven - Have you read Chris Haw and Shane Claiborne's book "Jesus For President"? I think you would really like it. Let me know and I'll send you a copy.

Shannon Bradley

I'll be silent on whether or not you should blog "all topics" on here... but I will say:

I completely agree with your position on the subject of the bailout. I also wrote my representative, two senators, as well as other influential members of congress. I was so happy when they showed some backbone and voted it down. Only to fail less than a week later.

Things will get better. Christ will return.

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