THOUGHTS ON RELIGION & POLITICS

By The Rev. Jonathan Weldon, Rector at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in Bellingham Washington. This article originally appeared in the weekly newsletter of Saint Paul’s and is reposted here with permission. 

  • What is the relationship between religion and politics?
  • Is it true that religion and politics don’t mix? 
  • We’ve heard the phrase “separation of church and state.”  What does that mean?
  • Does the Gospel apply only to our private lives?
  • Does the Church have nothing to say to our society?

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ON “US” AND “THEM”

A brief essay on God’s attitude toward “us” and “them” (560 words). I have categorized this under “Religious Stuff” and “Political Stuff” because I think it applies to both.

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One of my church’s priests, the Rev. Lindsay Ross-Hunt, delivered a homily this past Sunday on a story in Acts 11, one of the readings assigned for the fifth Sunday of Easter in the liturgical calendar.

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THE BIBLE AS THE WORD OF GOD

downloadI come from a conservative evangelical background in which much emphasis was placed on the Bible as the Word of God and relatively little emphasis was placed on the Bible as a word of man. Everyone agreed that men wrote the 66 books of the Bible, but the general understanding was that the Holy Spirit through the process of divine inspiration ensured that those words we the words of God. The doctrine of inerrancy attempts to capture this idea by insisting that the Bible, though written by men, contains no errors. I no longer subscribe to this understanding of the Bible.

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SURVIVORS

How do people cope with having done terrible things? A short story (6927 words).

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1. The Girl

It is the bone-aching cold that wakes her. That and the freezing wind whipping through her clothes. She takes a deep breath and is rewarded with icy fingers of cold fire rushing down her throat, spreading into her lungs, throwing her into a fit of coughing.

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THE WATCHERS

A flash fiction piece (400 words).

download“They’re watching, you know.”

I don’t know what to make of this assertion, offered casually, confidently, without preamble.

“Who’s watching?”

“The watchers.” She gives me a knowing look.

Only I don’t know what she is talking about. Or who she is. Or where she came from. One moment I am standing there waiting for my bus, the next she is standing beside me. I put her age at nine or ten. Her attire makes me think of Alice-In-Wonderland.

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FIRST CONTACT

A flash fiction piece (300 words).

nukeblast

As thermonuclear detonations go it wasn’t a very big one. But it was plenty big enough to vaporize the flotilla of warships, along with the helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft that had been circling overhead for the last few days.

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ON PRAYING FOR POLITICIANS

An essay (524 word).

pray_4politics2

The word of God to a nation’s uncaring leaders:

“Should not shepherds take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe ourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals.

“Therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock.”

— The prophet Ezekiel (Ez 34:2-4, 9-10)

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