Socially Engaged Christianity

If you follow my work in any of its myriad forms – The Christ Enlight Podcast, Christ Enlight on BlogTalk Radio, video blogging, this blog, and/or any of my various websites – you know that I have been struggling to find a name to define the kind of non-born again, rooted in mainline Christianity, socially responsible, historically connected Christianity that I have been a part of most of my adult life. This is a Christianity that is not the one hundred year old invention of so-called “Born Again” Christianity, not the Christianity that sees its primary duty to fight a “war” against contemporary culture, not a scientifically ignorant Christianity that insists against all the evidence to the contrary that the world is six thousand years old, not the Christianity that has its nose pressed up against our collective bedroom windows. Rather, this is the Christianity of Jesus, who himself was not a Christian but rather a Jew. This is a Christianity that has at its core the command to love God and neighbor – and which recognizes that everyone is our neighbor. It is not the Christianity of excommunication and bombing abortion clinics. It is the Christianity of the very Jesus who cared, and cares, about “the least of these.” It is the Christianity of the downtrodden, the poor, the marginalized, the excluded, the oppressed, and the rejected, and it calls those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to do so to reach out to those groups that Jesus did, the very groups I just mentioned.

In the Fall of 2009, I launched (with my colleague and co-founder, The Rev. Susan Gaines, EFR) the Christ Enlight Movement and Spirituality. At its core, Christ Enlight seeks to embody the kind of true-to-Jesus Christianity I described above. It sees Jesus primarily as a wisdom and enlightenment teacher who sought to establish the Kin-dom (family) of God on Earth. Christ Enlight is a part of the kind of Christianity I describe, but not the totality of it. There are many other movements, traditions, schools, and teachers who remain loyal to the undistorted teachings of Jesus.

Today, as I sat in prayer, the name came to me. I am going to call this vision of Christianity “Socially Engaged Christianity.” Because Socially Engaged Christianity is concerned about the very things that Christ was and is, one of its primary emphases is creating the Kin-dom of God on Earth. It seeks to do that by establishing true social justice through peaceable means, including non-violent protest when necessary. Social Engaged Christianity recognizes that to do the important work that is so desperately needed in our world, we need a strong spiritual foundation – and that the single, most essential part of a strong spiritual foundation is a strong prayer life that includes a daily period of silent prayer. That silent prayer may be known by many names, but it simply must be present for our work to be effective and for each of us to have the vision and the strength to make the right choices.

Watch for more to follow!

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