Sunday, July 11, 2010

Poor Mr. Beck

Glenn Beck is an odd little man. Somehow he seems like his own worst enemy. It may be that he just speaks before he thinks. I have certainly done that. Usually I am embarrassed. It might be that he just enjoys riling people up. He's

famous for that. He's got his agenda. You've got to admire him for sticking with the message. And while I have written about him a few times, I never go looking for him. I don't watch him on TV intentionally. I have never listened to his radio show. I understand that he has written some books. Never read them. I don't know him personally. Don't care to. But he finds his way onto my radar pretty frequently. Usually when I least expect it.

There is this group called Sojourners (Click on the highlighted section to read more.) Their mission is pretty simple...

...We believe that unity in diversity is not only desirable, but essential to fulfilling God's ultimate desire for God's people, as expressed in scripture (Acts 2, Revelation 7:9), and thus an essential element of seeking God's will on earth as it is in heaven....

Whether or not you are a believer in the Bible, you are sure to love their goals: "In our lives and in our work, Sojourners seek to be guided by the Biblical principals of justice, mercy and humility." What's not to love about Sojourners?! They work to combat climate change, to battle child slavery and for fair wages. They wage peace. You may not be a Christ follower, but this is simply good work. If you are a Christian, you would agree that if Jesus were here today, he would be pushing for peace and justice. God knows we need the work.

Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners, felt obliged to answer Glenn Beck's latest rant claiming that Social Justice is evil and that if it is an aspect of your church that you should quit and report it to the proper authorities. The following message is from Jim Wallis. It speaks for itself. I for one am going to respond to Mr. Beck telling him that I support social justice. You can too by using the link below. Poor Mr. Beck.

Last week, when radio and television talk show host Glenn Beck said that social justice is a "code word" for Communism and Nazism, and urged people to leave their churches if they teach social justice, I decided that message needed to be challenged.

Many church leaders from across the spectrum agreed with my concern that social and economic justice are deep biblical concerns and central to the teachings of all of our churches. Even Beck's own Mormon church leaders were calling to assure me that they believe in social justice too. I thought Beck's rather extreme and misguided comments needed a response, but I did not attack him personally; nor will I.

In fact, on Friday, I sent Glenn a letter proposing that the two of us sit down together and have an open and public discussion on what social justice really means and how Christians are called to engage in the struggle for justice. I said, "let's make this a civil dialogue and not engage in personal attacks on each other -- which is never helpful in trying to sort out what is true. So let's talk about the heart of the matter."

Well, on today's Glenn Beck radio show, I got a response that disappointed me. Glenn Beck said:

So Jim, I just wanted to pass this on to you. In my time I will respond -- my time, well, kind of like God's time, might be a day, might be a week to you, I'm not sure. But I'm going to get to it in my time, not your time. So you go ahead and you continue to do your protest thing, and that's great. I love it. But just know -- the hammer is coming, because little do you know, for eight weeks, we've been compiling information on you, your cute little organization, and all the other cute little people that are with you. And when the hammer comes, it's going to be hammering hard and all through the night, over and over...

He went on to say that "It's weird how people all over the world have been sending me stuff. It's weird that way, Jimmy." Why is the idea of a civil dialogue such a threat to Glenn Beck? Glenn, let us please not resort to threats and attacks. To repeat, I have not and will not attack you personally, and I repeat my invitation to a civil dialogue on what social justice really means. Since you were the one to raise this issue and start this whole discussion, I just want it to end in a better and more civil way.

More than 30,000 Christian pastors and church members have written to you as Christians who believe in social justice and are asking you to reconsider your statements. This is a time for dialogue, not monologue, and I prayerfully ask you to consider my request for a conversation.

portrait-jim-wallisJim Wallis is the author of Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street -- A Moral Compass for the New Economy, CEO of Sojourners and blogs

+Click here to tell Glenn Beck that you support social justice


Judy T said...

Tim, Tim, Tim, You give everybody the benefit of the doubt, don’t you!

It may be that he just speaks before he thinks


Of course it could be that he will change. People do, you know. I did.

You and I were talking just today at FNB about the fact that Asa Carter must have changed from being a racist in order to have written that beautiful book The Education of Little Tree that we both love so much. So maybe there is hope for Mr. Beck after all.

Jim Wallis is awesome. He is my social justice hero. My favorite book of his (He has written at least 8) is The Great Awakening. He says that the two most intense longings of this world are the hunger for spirituality and the hunger for social justice. I think he is right.

Chris Hass said...

I have to admit that I've never once watched or listened to Glenn Beck. Of course I've seen a few small clips on the Daily Show but they only served as the set-up for a joke. I truly don't get how America has become so absorbed in this type of entertainment disguised as news. The scariest part is that there are so many out there who lap it up and take it all for truth. It seems that there is so much hatred and mistrust when it comes to politics. We sometimes simplify and romanticize the past but, still, I wonder if this weren't the case fifty years ago.