It is refreshing to hear of Christian leaders who are not boxed in by particular political constituencies, right or left, who are eager to follow where Jesus leads.
My quarrel with the religious right is that is often a lot more right than religious, that its priorities seem determined more by political ideology than genuine faith. So it was refreshing to hear today the concerns of mega-church pastor Joel Hunter. Hunter is a nationally-known leader in evangelical circles, recently tapped as the next president of the Christian Coalition.
Hunter has resigned the position, citing “differences in philosophy and vision.” He sought to broaden the agenda of the Coalition, to chart a new direction for the organization, addressing not only abortion and gay marriage, but also what he calls “all the agenda of Jesus, the compassion issues as well as the moral issues,” issues of poverty and care for the environment.
When we listen to Jesus, there is hope. There is hope that we will not get stuck in entrenched ideological warfare, but be able to listen to each other as we listen together to Jesus. People like Joel Hunter raise my hopes for future of the church.
The Christian Coalition’s founder, Pat Robertson, has done much to bring public shame to the name, “Christian,” with his narrow-visioned, arrogant, and even hateful pronouncements. Whether you agree or not with Joel Hunter’s positions on the issues — and quite frankly, I know very little other than what I have gleaned from this report — his humility, his sensitivity to the message of Jesus, and his desire to unite, not further divide, the followers of Jesus, is refreshing.