Liturgy for Life

Column by Rev. Gretta Vosper on 31 August 2023 0 Comments

If you’re a mainline Christian, you likely experienced liturgy even if you are of a less liturgical tradition than the Episcopal or Presbyterian churches. And very possibly, even if you don’t know what it is, you’ve been steeped in it.

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How important is it for progressive Christians to be politically involved when we so often are told of the need for separation of church and state?


Hi Gretchen, thanks for your question. The way I see it, the concept of separation of church and state is one that was defined and established by the state. It is the recognition that the state has no interest in getting involved in the church's business so that there truly can be freedom of religion.

The fact is, that's really good news for religions of all types because the marriage of church and state almost always end badly for the church and it creates a twisted “spirituality” that is threatened by anything that is a threat to the state. For that reason, as an institution, religions are well advised to stay as far away from getting entangled with the goings on of the state.

Things are different for individuals and those teaching about spirituality – particularly Christians. As people who claim to follow the life and teachings of Jesus, it should be impossible for us not to be political. Jesus was killed for being political. In those days, you only ended up on a cross if you were understood to be a threat to Rome. Jesus was a thorn in the side of Rome.

Every time he saw people getting stepped on, marginalized, or being left uncared for he stood up and spoke out and encouraged others to not only care for those being hurt but to dismantle the systems that are hurting them.

That's political. It's what all Christians should be doing today. When we see people getting stepped on, marginalized, or being left uncared for by our government, we should stand up and speak out and encourage others to not only care for those being hurt but to work towards changing the systems that are hurting them.

I'd argue that as Christians we must be political. It is who we are. It is in our ancestral spiritual DNA. Our religious heritage calls un us to align ourselves the marginalized and stand over and against those who are “othering” people. You can't do that without being political.

~ Rev. Dr. Mark Sandlin




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