Months ago I asked my pal, Neil Christopher to guest post on my blog about being Christian and politically Liberal which, especially in the South, is an anomaly. He emailed me the post soon after and I am just now getting around to post it. You should check out his site at and follow him on twitter.

Few people know that for a brief period of time I flirted with idea of becoming a Buddhist. I can’t remember ever officially calling myself one, I was raised in a Christian home and had a major conflict going on in my spirit over all my studies, but did start going regularly to a Sangha and I did start living out many of their principles. Like many, I had been burned by the Church and was looking for something, anything out there – luckily, my journey came full-circle and I came back to my love of Christ, but the journey itself was life-changing and I believe was part of my story – part of something that God wanted me to, or at least I HAD to go through, in order to be the me that I am today.

During that time I got very much involved in human rights. I became very environmentally aware – even to the point of making sure that products that I purchased or companies that I invested in or supported were as careful as possible with how they impacted the earth, and how they treated their employees or the native people around them. I began working in animal shelters, feeding the homeless, and politically one could easily call me one of those dirty liberals!

When I came back to Christ and went into seminary I stood out like a sore thumb among my contemporaries. I would even get teased a lot, and was told by both students and professors alike that under Christ I had been “freed” from such things – they saw it as even contradictory to the Gospel.

Eventually, partly due to my new atmosphere and partly due to my being convinced that I was wrong, I stopped such endeavors and slowly became more and more like my surroundings.

One day I took a road-trip to Edmonton to visit a friend and take a much needed break from all my theological studies. The whole time I was there… I felt heaviness in my heart. I felt this because I saw miles and miles of outstretched land before me, further than my eye could see, of black dying land and wilted trees from oil production. I lost count of the number of giant trucks that passed me buy carrying full loads of giant trees to factories. I even passed a factory and saw loads of trucks waiting in line to dump off new trees, while other trucks were carrying old trees to some kinds of incinerator. When I asked my friends what was going on (I thought maybe they were being made into some kind of pulp of product) they pointed to an enormous stack of trees and told me that those were the old trees that were not used quick enough and had to be burned to make room for all the new ones.

I saw lakes with signs posted warning people that they were no longer safe for swimming, boating or fishing. I saw news articles of two-headed mutant fish being found nearby, and reports that infant mortality rates are now at an all time high – as well as unexplained cancer in children of all ages.

When I got back home I took a day off to pray… I needed time to pray and figure out what was making me so sick inside. Now, I am no mystic or Pentecostal but I will have to admit that when I prayed that day I truly believe that God showed me something. I just had this impression of the beauty of nature and animals and how much they gave God pleasure. That was followed by people… all people from every race and color… and again an impression of God’s love and concern for them. I then saw death, poverty and destruction and felt sorrow and pain. This was finally followed by one simple question:
“Why as a Buddhist were you more loving, kind and compassionate than you are as a Christian?”

There is a gross misconception prevailing in culture today, in our own Christian culture in-fact, that being concerned about social justice issues, human rights, environmentalism or other such things are merely a concern for humanists or the “ungodly”. That Christians, if adhering to biblical principles, should be conservatives (most likely Republicans or Libertarians) and that any kind of Liberal viewpoint is best left for those outside of bringing the Kingdom of God here to this earth.

However, one could also argue that these “ungodly” are in their own way being more Christian than most believers; that they are in tune with one of the MOST mentioned themes in the bible – something that is central to the Good News and the Kingdom of God itself.
But wait! Hasn’t God given us the earth to subdue — animals to kill, forests to cut and lands to lay waste to? Haven’t we been promised prosperity and material things? Doesn’t God want us to be “happy” and prosperous? Isn’t materialism, nationalism and self-seek gratification at the expense of others or the health of this earth a God-give right vs. greed?

Or is the earth still the Lords?
The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. – Psalm 24:1

Is the Good News itself a message of bringing peace and social justice here to this earth?
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed. — Luke 4:18

Although Christ himself never created a Church institution, if we are to have them are they not there to primarily serve as a means to pool our resources together to help the poor and oppressed?
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. – James 1:27

And isn’t part of this Kingdom the care, restoration and reconciliation of nature itself along with mankind?
His purpose…that he would bring everything together under Christ, as head, everything in the heavens and everything on earth. — Eph 1:10-11

I’m just going to leave you now with some food for thought. Is being “liberal” something that is in conflict to the Gospel or is it part of the Gospel? Is it anti-Kingdom minded or IS it being Kingdom minded? Please take some time to look over the verses below; there are too many in the bible to even list in this short article, but it may get you thinking… and praying about it.

Peace be with you,

Pastor Neil Christopher

His purpose…that he would bring everything together under Christ, as head, everything in the heavens and everything on earth. — Eph 1:10-11

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. – Psalm 19:1
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. – Romans 1:20

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. — Psalm 19:1‑6
Do not pervert justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous. Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the LORD your God is giving you. — Deuteronomy 16:19‑20

He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. — Proverbs 14:31

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy. — Proverbs 31:8‑9

If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. – 1 John 3:17‑18

Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits. — Exodus 23:6

Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. — Psalm 82:3-4
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. — Galatians 3:28

Cursed is the man who withholds justice from the alien, the fatherless or the widow. Then all the people shall say, Amen! — Deuteronomy 27:19

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