More Emails

Brianmclarendanutaotfiniowski

They keep coming:

Along with so many of your readers, I have been frustrated in recent years to see my faith hijacked by the political right. I live in a very conservative part of Colorado, having moved here from Southern California. I was not prepared for the assumptions of my fellow believers that certainly I too was a conservative. I have never felt that the Gospel was best represented by the right, but my peers had never entertained the thought that perhaps the Gospel lies somewhere in the middle. Ironically, the more they pushed, the more solid I grew in my faith and convictions.

A couple years ago my prayers to be delivered from isolation in my beliefs came through a subscription to Sojourners magazine. I began to pour over the words of Jim Wallis and others who reflected my heart towards Christ, politics and social justice issues. I then discovered Brian McLaren, author most recently, of "The Secret Message of Jesus". These books fed my soul and speak a language I understand on all levels.

In January I had the opportunity to go to a Sojourner’s conference in D.C. and found myself surrounded by like-minded Christians. I now know, as you have alluded to, that there are millions of believers like us who are not represented by the right. Surely, there is a movement afoot and we are not alone. I am hopeful, that the grace and love of Christ will be represented in new ways…not necessarily by either political party, but by a growing number of people who are living out the Kingdom of God now. These are exciting times.

Faith outside of politics – right or left – is exciting. And humbling. And confusing. But real. Just as real, if not more real, than the politicized version of it. For my part, I have to say that absorbing some of the new scholarship on the Gnostic Gospels has helped me cope with some of the extremism coming from the Catholic hierarchy today. They have helped me better understand how followers of Jesus have always questioned what he meant, and that questioning is not the end of faith but its beginning. And when all else fails, I’m lucky as a Catholic to have the Mass, a sacrament whose mystery and beauty and power silences and, by silencing, lifts up.

(Photo of Brian McLaren by Danuta Oftinowski for Time.)