I just completed the book Red Letter Christians by Tony Campolo. I must say that, controversial as he may be sometimes, I have long respected and appreciated his life and ministry. He is not afraid to tackle tough issues or to go where no Evangelical has gone before. As Shane Claiborne says on the back cover, “Tony writes this book with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other, reminding us that our faith must affect how we live in this world.”
I must confess that I am a person who has generally shied away from politics. In reading this book, I discovered that I am not the only Christian who has embraced this approach.
A few years ago, a friend asked me about my political views, and I couldn’t really answer him. I knew that I agreed with conservatives on some issues, while I agreed with liberals on others, but my agreement was more of an intuitive feeling based on my understanding of Jesus and Scripture than well thought out conclusions after prayer and deep consideration of Scripture.
When it came to voting time, I basically just voted for whomever was pro-life. I embodied exactly what Tony mentioned in the book: “Abortion is, for many Christians, a defining political issue. Is is so important to many Christian voters that it’s not uncommon to hear, ‘Even though on all other issues I might be in harmony with a candidate, if that candidate is wrong on this issues, he or she won’t get my vote.'” (p. 119) I always wondered deep inside if I was doing the right thing, but I figured if someone was against abortion they deserved my vote. Beyond that I was largely disinterested in politics.
This book, however, has awakened something within me. This statement really captured me: “It is irresponsible to not be involved in politics.” (p. 210) “In present day Christendom, there has been a tendency to forget that both the salvation of individuals and the transformation of society are Kingdom non-negotiables.” (p. 33) “It is by getting involved in political processes that Christians exercise one significant method of transforming society – so that within it, justice can roll down (see Amos 5:24).” (p. 35)
Tony carefully goes through many issues and presents his own beliefs while inviting readers to thoughtfully, critically, and biblically draw their own conclusions. “The last thing in the world I want for anyone reading this book is that he or she uncritically follow what I say on these pages as if my views on political issues are the final word on what Christians should think.” (p. 43)
In a year when the political race for the White House is incredibly polarizing, this book is an absolute must read for everyone. It will challenge all to a deeper consideration of the heart of God for his kingdom to be established on earth as it is in heaven, and a greater sense of responsibility when it comes to participation in the political process.
To order the book on Amazon, click here: http://www.amazon.com/Red-Letter-Christians-Citizens-Politics/dp/0830745297/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1206673781&sr=1-1