To Franklin Graham and Jim Wallis,
Since you have been kind enough to pen “open letters” to pastors and churches without regard to actually addressing ME as a pastor, I will extend you both the same courtesy.
You both have put your missives out as to what I should be preaching this Sunday. I am writing to inform you that I have had this message percolating far longer than either of you can imagine. So, thanks for the offers… but I am fairly sure I know how to get on my knees, open up the Word, and hear from heaven for what the Spirit would like to say to my church without your particular diatribes.
I address you both because I will quite possibly anger both sides of the coin I am truly trying to reach (and offend), so I will kill two birds with one stone. When I address both of you, each of your particular tribes will rise up and defend you to me. So… I might as well get this out of the way all at once.
You both represent something that has needed to change for a very long time and you both represent what I have written about, taught about, and preached about for a very long time. While my original tribe is conservative Christian (and by default Republican during my formative years), I have said the same things about conservatives and liberals over these last few election cycles. I can rip into conservatives better because I know this tribe. I think I need to call out my own tribe while also speaking to the other tribes and their mistakes. No one is pure as the wind-driven snow on this.
But when I refer to mistakes the “left” and the “right” in American Christianity make, you two are exhibit A for me. Again, I will get your supporters taking up your particular causes… and here is what I need everyone to know: Graham and Wallis say certain things that are right. Yes… both of them say certain things that are right.
But here is my overall point to Mssrs. Graham and Wallis: You both end up shilling for political parties and it needs to stop.
So while I appreciate your concern for my content on Sunday morning, I will decline. Not because you don’t make good points in certain sentences, but because you both have an overall tone that makes sure people vote your way. I pastor a smarter church than that.
And, I can’t do this one Sunday. These are issues we tackle on an ongoing basis because they are important more than one voting event every four years. (By the way, I don’t hear from you guys more often than that…)
Thanks for your thoughts. Each of you may now deem me “lost and/or deplorable.” That is the risk I am willing to take.
I now need to get back to the care of my own congregation and prayers for my own city.
All the best,
Your local reprobate pastor