Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Christian in America (and Canada)

In light of the American election race a couple of things came up that I thought I would share.  I have been comparing Canadian approaches to church and Christianity and politics with American attitudes and approaches and some of my musings I posted here while I was in Boston.


The first little thing was this hilarious picture that my son sent me.



Producing a card that said "Keep Jesus Canadian" just wouldn't make sense and just wouldn't be funny. But in so many ways Americans really do have their own Jesus.

This comes to light in the second thing I saw this week. In the latest issue of Time Magazine both McCain and Obama share a bit of their faith journeys. Barack Obama is pictured praying while holding hands with Rick Warren. John McCain has a picture of him reverently bowing his head. They also make a few personal comments. Allow me to quote a few lines.

McCain Relates a story from his time in a Vietnam prisoner of war camp: "On Christmas Day I was standing in the dirt courtyard when I saw that same guard approach me. He walked up and stood silently next to me not looking or smiling at me. Then he used his sandaled foot to draw a cross in the dirt. We stood wordlessly looking at the cross, remembering the true light of Christmas, even in the darkness of a Vietnamese prison camp."

This is a great story celebrating the cross of Christ and the true meaning of Christmas. But if a Canadian politician shared the same story he/she would be censured for their exclusive statements about religion - implying that he/she would not be inclusive or fair in their treatment of people of other religions.

Barack speaks of his own faith story this way: "I began my Christian journey over 20 years ago, as a young man fresh out of college. And since that time I've been serious not only about deepening my relationship with Christ but also about the way that all Americans can live together in our diverse, pluralistic society. Faith shows us that the weak and defenseless are not a problem but rather a priority, and a chance for us to live out the message of the Gospels."

Wow! I commend both of them for speaking frankly about their faith. To be honest, it sounds like Obama has a more personal faith - more in line with what Evangelical Christians would affirm whereas McCain's faith sounds a bit more "mainline Protestant." But that's only my view from a distance.

The sad thing is that in Canada comments like that would have marginalized both candidates. I honestly think that many Canadian journalists and more left leaning politicians believe that a strong faith makes you incapable of running for government positions. Actually it is only strong Christian faith that disqualifies you. Being Jewish or Muslim or Sikh or a devotee of Wicca would be acceptable options.

2 comments:

Judith Tobias said...

I left a lengthy comment and it failed to transmit. Perhaps it was not meant to be read; yet like many this parable of the shrewd manager leaves a lot to consider. My best understanding came from reading Justin Ukpong, theologian Nigeria. In his inculturation exegesis I was able to see the Lukean perspective and the Godly conclusion. The master is not in my opinion God for God does not need to make excuses for dishonesty nor in effect reduce himself to being shrewd. This parable does though have a wider and deeper meaning of greed, social justice, forgiveness
We have to take time to do this parable justice and dig out its altruistic meaning, for God's sake!

Judith Tobias said...

I left a lengthy comment and it failed to transmit. Perhaps it was not meant to be read; yet like many this parable of the shrewd manager leaves a lot to consider. My best understanding came from reading Justin Ukpong, theologian Nigeria. In his inculturation exegesis I was able to see the Lukean perspective and the Godly conclusion. The master is not in my opinion God for God does not need to make excuses for dishonesty nor in effect reduce himself to being shrewd. This parable does though have a wider and deeper meaning of greed, social justice, forgiveness
We have to take time to do this parable justice and dig out its altruistic meaning, for God's sake!