A Follow-up on Loving the City

I got a pretty strong response to my post, "Love the City? Here's a Test."

I think my point eluded a great many people, so allow me to follow up with a few notes.

I think the main reason some people missed my point is that they poured their own prejudices into my words. For example, those partisans who just love to hate Tim Keller took my rebuke as a confirmation of their biases: See! Tim Keller is really just a coward, squish, wimp, compromiser, etc., etc.

So, to make this crystal clear, this is not my point.

Others thought I was advocating pastors becoming political pundits, pontificating on all sorts of things in which they have no expertise. Or they simply think that breaching the wall of political agnosticism puts us on a sure slippery slope to pastors as political hacks. Well, I wrote a book on theology and politics where I addressed those issues. I wasn't saying either of those things.

Perhaps I should have said (and I will say it belatedly) that Tim Keller doesn't have many greater admirers than me. I have greatly benefited from his ministry, and I was not calling him names or questioning his integrity. 

I was questioning what appears to me an intentional and artificial avoidance of political issues of great magnitude. This self-conscious political agnosticism is problematic, in some cases unwise, and ultimately impractical.

When New York City re-instituted its policy banning churches from renting city property for worship services (part of the long, never-ending battle of Bronx Household of Faith v. Board of Education of the City of New York) do you know who stepped out publicly to condemn this clear issue of public policy?

Tim Keller.

I am asking this question: why is the issue of kicking churches out of public buildings worthy of a pastor "pontificating" on public policy, but a mayoral candidate's promise to kick Crisis Pregnancy Centers out of New York City and to replace them with abortion clinics in the poorest neighborhoods unworthy of comment?

I believe that is a serious question worth asking. And since I believe pastors in New York City should have publicly condemned both of these public policies, only Tim Keller and others who spoke on the one while remaining silent about the other (at least when it mattered, during the mayoral campaign) can answer it. 

And I haven't heard a satisfying answer.

Brian Mattson