Hardhearted Churches in Times of Cultural Crisis

Does a Pastor saying the answer to all of our cultural and political turmoil is Jesus fulfill his responsibility to his flock and his culture in times of crisis?

Many Pastors struggle to not politicize their pulpits. That is a good instinct. Yet parishioners seek guidance for decision making in the midst of turmoil, particularly in what it means to be both citizens of a democratic society where they are expected to participate in political decision-making and as Christians. I think Pastors need to have a long term strategy for training parishioners how to meet this challenge, lest when a crisis hits they do not have the time or atmosphere for fuller communication.

This is an intellectually demanding task for the Pastor and requires time, not a little mental energy and some risk. The reality is that the New Testament was not written in the context of a democratic society so that much that the Bible says does not readily translate from autocracy to democracy. It takes work. The intellectual concepts employed have to be clear to the Pastor and the application of them to circumstance must be wise.

When I was in seminary there was almost no attempt by professors to handle this. There was no theology of democratic capitalism, no spelling out of ideals, and central concepts. The RC church has taken several passes at it, though it remains skittish about capitalism and warns more than it teaches.

The reality remains that churches have a compelling interest in seeking a flourishing culture, though it is never bound by cultural circumstance. But the church takes seriously human suffering in all of its manifestations, and where culture begins to break down and with it the hopes, dreams and stability of families, the church must have a place at the table.

To consider this irrelevant to its task seems hardhearted to me.

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