In case you missed it, today is "Pulpit Freedom Sunday" here in God's most favorite country, the United States of 'Merica! Many of you will be blessed to get up early this morning, find the most culturally appropriate outfit to wear for you and the kiddies and dutifully head to a local church where the pastor will let you know who God wants you to vote for in this election. They will do so in the hopes of offending Caesar and provoking a court battle to preserve the permanent right to tell the laity who to vote for year after year. Because that is the most pressing need for the church this morning. Not feeding the poor. Not equipping the saints for the work of ministry. Not preaching Christ and Him crucified. Oh no, today for 1000+ pastors is all about sticking it to The Man, missing entirely the irony of demanding tax breaks simultaneously from the aforementioned Man .
Like Alan Knox I was at first excited by this idea, hoping it was a freedom from pulpits day where the entire brotherhood of the saints was encouraged to participate in the gathered church. I am all in favor of freeing the church from the pulpit culture! Alas that was not what this meant. No, what "Pulpit Freedom Sunday" is all about is the God given right of clergy to tell the laity who they should vote for and especially in this case to do so in the hopes of stirring up the IRS. What utter foolishness.
If you "go to church" this morning and the pastor endorses a candidate from the pulpit, may I suggest you politely ask him afterward how exactly that helped equip you for the work of ministry for the upcoming week? I am all for people being informed but since most of the church only gathers for an hour a week, isn't that time far too precious and limited to spend on a sermon about American politics and picking fights over tax breaks? If we really want to change America as the church it won't happen at the ballot box. It will happen in the soup kitchen and the crisis pregnancy center, in the orphanage and the widows home. It will happen when we equip all Christians to take the Gospel to the streets and the homes of this most religious country so they can tell others that religion means nothing and Christ means everything. It will happen when we all are about the task of the Kingdom. It will never happen when one among us tells the rest of us who to vote for. Long after all of those pulpits are dust God will ask us for an accounting of our days. Let's not be in a position of telling Him how informed we were about political issues and how faithfully we exercised our civic duty to vote. I don't think He will be impressed.
And he gave