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Mere Christianity


In last week's paper, Amanda Abrams reported on Raleigh minister John Pavlovitz, whose blog, in the age of Donald Trump, has become a must-read for those on the religious left. Writer John Mace says his church is inclusive, too—but that doesn't mean that he accepts Pavlovitz's more liberal theology.

"I just read your article in the INDY," he writes. "I attend a large church, not in Wake County, and we would welcome anyone to attend church no matter their position on these issues. Sin is sin; the Bible hasn't changed, and if people don't want to hear it then that's their right. If John is unabashedly liberal, how does he explain abortion?"

Commenter Bob24 offers similar thoughts: "John is definitely not what the church needs! He will say he doesn't believe the Bible to be fully true. He's more secular than he lets on. That's why he gets fired from churches. His response to being rejected is saying what people want to hear; the best way to cover up hurts is to do all you can to be popular. It's all lip service."

"I congratulate the author of the article on a job well done," writes Robert Mulder. "The only thing I would have done differently is not to have called John Pavlovitz a 'rising star of the religious left.' I would have called him a 'rising star of religious common sense,' or perhaps a 'rising star of the true essence of Christianity' or something of that nature. I have a feeling that constantly dividing people into left and right is not the best approach. I think that there is that large block of people just to the left and right of center who probably share a lot of commonalties but don't particularly see themselves as being in the left or right camp.

"Author Jim Wallis is to me very similar in his approach to John Pavlovitz. Wallis has written a number of books. Here are two: God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It and The Great Awakening: Reviving Faith and Politics in a Post-Religious Right America. It is a mistake to condemn all Republicans and all Democrats for the insanity at both of the extremes. There are a lot of good, reasonable people out there, but their voices are being drowned out. Wallis considers himself an evangelical. I am not an evangelical, but I certainly support people like Jim Wallis and John Pavlovitz because they both are reasonable and fair in their assessments. Additionally, a person does not have to consider themselves a Christian in order to be able to appreciate or support Jim Wallis's viewpoint, or that of John Pavlovitz."

"John takes on systemic issues that drive a wedge through all of our lives," adds Lee Bolick Burkett. "Politics, the church, the LGBTQ community, social issues, racial inequality, and the injustices we face daily are all topics that John takes head-on in his writings. His words spread hope, inspiration, compassion, strength, encouragement, love, and the promise that we can all work together to make this world a better place."

"I have been to North Raleigh Community Church," writes Angela Bridgman. "Very nice people and nice congregation. I would probably go more often if John was the actual pastor there and not a youth minister. John was the reason I went to NRCC in the first place, and I might even go back ... if John were speaking."

Commenter PJAAI4 chimes in: "Happy to read the article. But John Pavlovitz just blocked me on Twitter! I am sure many would assume I earned it, but I am not quite sure how. I replied to two of his tweets. I guess he wasn't happy with that."

Finally, Anne Wood points out that Pavlovitz's brand of inclusive, progressive Christianity doesn't just work for millennials: "There are plenty of us old people who like him too. I am eighty-three years old, and I find in him beautiful expression of topics that need to be addressed."

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