You can’t say that in church

Apparently, there are several things that you cannot say or talk about in church:

1. Swear-words.

Apparently, God is not down with the emotionally-loaded verbage. However, fortunately for many of us, it appears that God doesn’t have that great of hearing as God does not hear the cussing and all the other poor words we use outside of the church building.

2. Sex.

Although God may have created two people naked and hooked them up to begin with, you can’t talk about any of that stuff in church. God’s cool with it and actually wants you to do it, but just don’t talk about it in God’s presence. Again, if you want to talk about this, go outside of the church where God can’t hear you.

3. Politics.

Here, I’m confused.

First off, we have the “Faith and Values” voters, the Faith and Freedom Conference, and enough “God-talk” in presidential campaigns to make a Pentecostal Preacher tired of it.

Second, much of the bible and the tradition that we receive talk about politics; they talk about power and people, and what else is politics other than the distribution of power between people? Think of the prophets’ call to justice between all people; of Christ’s welcome of everyone – specifically those on the margins; and recall the, at times, harsh words to those who have everything (something about the first being last, those who have something will lose it, yada yada yada). There is a clear precedent to see that God has some concern for the matters between people and the matters between nations.

Yet, there is the idea that faith and politics do not mix.

At the thanksgiving dinner table, this may be good advice depending on the political diversity of your family. However, are we in the church abdicating some level of responsibility to do justice  by insisting that politics (the assessment and critique of people and power) not be spoken?

Sure, there is the precedent of a separation between Church and State.

I find this to be a good thing.  The State should not be supporting a particular religion or denomination. Unlike the habits of a particular preacher several miles down the road, the church should not be endorsing a party or candidate – not only does that remove each person’s ability to think and discern, but it replaces the ideal of Shalom with the “practicality of the possible.” Further, it goes on to create a congregational adhesive that is a political party or a single issue rather than Love and Grace.

However, I’m not sure that we have to believe that it’s either silence in church or theocracy.



Certainly, we must move beyond partisanship if we are to discuss and evaluate politics.

But now, I have a problem.

What do you do when a particular party seems to align itself with a view that is more offensive to God’s calling of justice than another?

I know, I know, I know. The question is too subjective.

How do you define “Justice”? Parties aren’t always monolithic in their priorities. No party is going to be in line with everything that God desires from and for us.

All subjectivities included, I’m still curious.

After discerning a vision of Justice; after understanding that we speak of the actions and words of some, not all; after confessing that we are not placing our hope in politics, but do understand our location within and our responsibility to care for all people and to seek a power structure that is not oppressive, but liberating…

Then, can we speak up in church and call out people and parties when they seem to encourage policies and actions that would go on to create more injustice than justice? Is it possible to do this and remain apart from partisanship? Is it possible to do this as a product of our faithfulness?

The last thing this country needs is another partisan jerk. But I’m pretty sure that we could use more people of faith talking about policies (not personalities) and politics (not partisanship) and how they either help or hurt people with the power that is exercised.

So, how do we engage our faithfulness in the world of politics?



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