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The New Church

To the Editor:

Upon reading a recent Jo Page column about her leaving pastoral ministry [“Finding My Voice,” Reckonings, July 2], I could not help but lament that Rev. Page left in part because she was disillusioned by the trench warfare of Christian politics. Nobody really ever moves from there. They just stay in their foxholes—whether on the left wing or right. They cling to their issues—gun control or tax reform. They both use the Cross of Christ as vehicle for political persuasion. Sad, since before accepting a horrible death Jesus said, “If my kingdom were of this world then my servants would fight.” His death was for more than the answer to political problems, more than for legislation in a senate, be it Roman or American. It was transcendent. The Christian politicos seem unable to understand this.

The great irony is that Rev. Lefty and Rev. Righty are forever joined at the hip. They are psychotic, flesh eating, Siamese twins who forever cannibalize each other with an unending appetite. Christ did not die for politic weaponry to be forged from fragments of the cross. He, according to the ancient Gospel of Luke, “gave his life as a ransom for many.” His death was a sacrifice. The postmortem is that Jesus died out of love. He gave his life to bring sinful, angry, divided people to unity in God. To reinvent Christianity as a weapon to divide people is wrong.

Something in dead, numbing tradition, or in the temporary passions of politics leaves us wanting. Page mentioned she and her friend intuitively wanted more. And there are many, myself included, who want more of the real thing from Christianity. That means a change and freshness. It means we do not relinquish hope because of the past. It means we must build the future.

“For a lack of vision the people perish,” reads the Hebrew proverb. The ancient wisdom holds true for the Church today. What some could not imagine others see and trace into reality. I am thankful to live in a time when young North American pastors are planting churches that are more about Christ than left or right on a political spectrum. There are churches that are not falling for the false dichotomy of the historic Christian faith—that one must be either hidden in a bunker or vigorously engaged in social activism without any mention of the historic Christian Gospel. It is not an either or for us; it is both and more. There is a movement of those who are eliminating distractions and seeking to distill Christianity back to purity of life, a community of love, and a Truth centered on Christ—the living Lord still calling followers in 2009—out of committee meetings, out of stale, unsatisfying and unending politics, to a journey that brings life, and place and meaning.

Pastors come and go. Churches and denominations rise and fall. But I say to those who are tired of the imitation, left lost in the wilderness, don’t fall into an Elijah complex feeling sorry for yourself on the sideline. You are not alone, and your sulking will not help. The history of the church in America in the 21st century is being written on a fresh page today led by people who can see beyond the soul-sucking politics within or without the church.

Ed Marcelle

Lead Pastor

Terra Nova Church

Troy

Second That Emotion

To the Editor:

YES!! Judith Brink [“Cruel Intentions,” Letters, July 2] articulates exactly what I was thinking when I read Keith [Ammann]’s article [“Stop the Madness,” Opinion, June 11]. As a patient escort at Planned Parenthood, I have had the anti-abortionists direct their hatred towards me and seen them take pictures of and yell at women who are seeking health care, reducing some of them to tears. It certainly is not “six of one, half dozen of the other” in this disagreement.

Linda Leue Albany

Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters addressed to the editor. Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length or clarity; 300 words is the preferred maximum. You must include your name, address and day and evening telephone numbers. We will not publish letters that cannot be verified, nor those that are anonymous, illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

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419 Madison Ave., Albany, NY 12210

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