In regards to my earlier post on the Greg Boyd article in the New York Times, I received the following comment from Eric (no, not the singing handyman; a whole 'nother Eric):
Do you think the NYT would give the WHOLE story? Dr. Boyd preached these sermons in April of 2004. You can find them on the church website and archive. It might be a good idea to respond to what Dr. Boyd ACTUALLY said and not what the NYT quotes him as saying. The first message is "Taking America Back for God" http://www.whchurch.org/content/page_274.htm in case you are interested.
In the interest of fairness, I downloaded the audio that Eric referred to and listened to it last night, albeit in 3 sections, while working on benefit dinner programs, and before drifting off to sleep. Dr. Boyd probably deserves more attention than that, but I doubt he listens to my sermons front to back either. I'm just saying I didn't have the time to sit down with a notebook and jot down thougths as he taught. Nevertheless, I observed the following:
1) Regarding "what he ACTUALLY said..." per Eric, random capitalization his.
Not all the quotes in the NYT article were in the message. Of course, the NYT didn't say that, and in at least one of the quotes that I pulled, they stated it was in a Q&A session. No smoking gun here, but no absolution either.
2) Dr. Boyd seemed pretty ticked.
Not that this is good or bad. It's just something I observed. I expected a more calculated, cool approach and didn't find it. He actually presents with a fair amount of gusto to an often cheering crowd. This is Minneapolis. Norweigens don't cheer much. It doesn't seem like the hostile crowd the NYT suggested.
3) He presents a compelling picture of the kingdom.
He does a fantastic job of laying out the kingdom of God as compared to the kingdom of this world. I would have said it differently in a few places, but then again he's preaching to thousands and I'm....uh, writing a blog to....?
4) He doctors history a little.
In comparing Rwanda and the first Iraqi war, he refers to Iraq as (paraphrased here, but pretty close) "A place where a couple dozen people had been raped or beaten...". While none of us are arguing that Rwanda was anything other than a bloodbath, I would guess there are a "couple dozen" Kurds or Kuwatis who would have a different perspective of Iraq back then. And now.
5) He paints his adversaries with broad strokes.
It would seem from this message that I heard, that if one is not silent on politics or issues, than they are sign carrying, raving lunatics who yell mean things at small children and kick puppies. I didn't feel like I fit in either camp, and had I been there, might have felt compelled to just keep quiet for fear of being lumped in with the looney bin. So much for the open minded approach.
6) He appears to ride the fence on using legislation for righteousness sake.
He makes a comment about not being able to legislate people to do the right things, yet values the role of legislation to protect our rights (in other words, you can't make someone like you, but you can pass laws to make them quit smacking you with a two by four). He recognizes the value of that, but doesn't seem to extend that right to the unborn. The old adage "you can't legislate morality" comes to mind - because it's true - but you can legislate from a moral perspective.
While I don't feel bad quoting the NYT article without having heard the sermon, I'm glad Eric sent me the link, and I am sure I still don't have the full perspective as if I'd heard the whole series. Nevertheless, from what I heard, I didn't change my mind.
Taking Boyd's arguements to the fullest extent (not much further, if any further, than he takes them, because he is interestingly silent on how the church should react in these cases), we would reinact the crimes of passivity the church committed during the civil rights movement of the 60's and the Nazi takeover of Germany in the 30's.
Again, I feel like I've been told "Please be seated, Reverend Bonhoeffer. Der Furer is about to speak." It is Christlike to love unconditionally. It is not Christlike to watch the innocent abused or slain. I suggest that there is a reasonable course of action that embraces both of those realities.