Dr. Leonard Lovett
It is not enough to blow the mike out in your local Church. Where are the prophetic voices speaking truth to power in a public forum during the worst socio-political crisis in the last half a century. The Nation and the Church are in chaos. I am neither Left or Right…I am Eclectic where I borrow the best from several traditions. This is a crisis about Truth-Telling and Character. Are the so-called religious prophets hiding in ideological caves so far to the right or left that we can barely see them? Why are many of them stuck on pro-life and abortion concerns and not the full orb of issues on the sanctity of life? All life is sacred before God.
My identification badge as an ethicist- theologian, pastor and nurturer of souls is radical holiness. I call upon the Faith Community to be who God has called us to be in this current crisis…”a light to the Nation.” The core of the present crises is one of character. A liar cannot “tarry in God’s sight.” To sit idly by and allow leaders from the highest office in the land to avidly say “truth is never quite the same” is a form of blasphemy? Why are the religious leaders of the Religious Right et.al in hiding except for a visit to the White House and photo ops? I could care less about the optics of partisan politics and the political jargon flooding the media all day long. I do care with a vengeance when lying becomes normative from the highest office in the land and the prophets have gone in hiding.
How does this impact our young? Holiness is an expression of God’s character in the world. Holiness is not a code word for “speaking in tongues” “dancing in the Spirit” and frenetic church activity. A lying Anglo preacher was recently on You Tube speaking in tongues leading a group to rebuke the spell of witch craft from the president. Speaking with clarity we must state that Holiness is a critique of the theological authenticity of the Faith Community. It is impossible to embrace authentic Holiness and violate character upheld and sustained by God’s character. Holiness embraces self-transcendence without being embarrassed by sincere emotional displays in “giving glory to God.”
From our Pentecostal forbears we learned that the Faith Community exists for the glory of God and not merely for the sake of the glorification of human institutions. Our founding Chief Apostle Bishop Charles Harrison Mason was a conscientious objector opposed to the taking of human life. He also understood clearly that there must be a wedding between ecstasy and action, between love and justice expressed in concrete ways in the world. An over emphasis on ecstasy leads to fanaticism. He intuitively knew that love must always be the balancing ideal. We do not hate the President…however love must be tough. He also knew that Holiness carries with it a weighty imperative. He knew intuitively with Walter Bruggeman that “God’s holiness translates into a summons to righteousness.” That holiness embraced without righteousness is reduced to a religious pre-occupation and likewise righteousness without holiness is reduced to legalism and moralism. (see Walter Bruggeman’s classic Prophetic Imagination)
We must remain in critique of the highest office of the land because of our love for God first and the nation second. Jesus once said in a trying situation, “that if these shall hold their peace the rocks will immediately cry out.”
Follow me at www.theagora.net (look for public square, marketplace) where truth is spoken and never compromised
Dr. Leonard Lovett