Ron Rolheiser: The Struggle to Not Make God Our Own Tribal Deity

Today I wish to direct your attention to a post which I believe is especially timely given the current state of affairs in evangelicalism, especially with respect to the current election cycle.

Rolheiser speaks to a tendency which is common not only in evangelicalism but in virtually all parts of Christianity:  the tendency to insulate ourselves in like-minded communities where we all understand morality the same way, share the same hopes and fears with respect to the outside world, and worship God with the same confidence.  The downside of this is that it takes some painful stretching of the soul before one can accept that God also loves those who do not come from within this bubble and share this way of looking at things.

Those of you who are familiar with liberation theology will recognize the phrase “preferential option for the poor”, the belief (which is native to almost all of liberal Christianity in some form or fashion) that God is present in a special way with minorities, the poor, and anyone else who is on the fringes of or excluded from society at large.  Though a case can be made for this from some sayings of Jesus and from the fact that he prioritized those who were on the outer fringes of the Jewish religious life of his day, the fact remains that there is no special, automatic sanctity for the poor or the marginalized.

Even so, God is immensely concerned with how we treat other people, and especially with how we treat those who are less fortunate than ourselves.  There is a boatload of Scripture to support this.  Every person you will ever come eyeball-to-eyeball with is a person for whom Christ died, including those who do not look like you or think the way you do on the issues that matter to you.  We would all do well to remember this.

Read:  The Struggle to Not Make God Our Own Tribal Deity by Ron Rolheiser