…which was new to me.
Actually I think I’d read about this before, but hadn’t seen the specifics, or the names of those who signed it. The letter itself didn’t shock me (as the title to the blog post said “liberal” Christians), but the signers did.
I’m not a big fan of apologizing for someone else’s actions (not to mention someone on another continent some…700 years ago or something, as in the Crusades?). I think it cheapens the sense of what an apology actually is. How can “I’m sorry that I spoke harshly to you yesterday” and “I’m sorry that (I? we? my/our ancestors? they? some European Americans?) unjustly drove (you? your ancestors? them? some American Indians?) off their land” really be the same thing? I don’t have the power to apologize for (atone for, rectify) what someone else did. (I can, of course, acknowledge that it was wrong.)
And I’m all for expressing cultural sensitivity and for loving one’s neighbor, no matter their religion or anything else about them (it’s kinda in the Bible). But I can love my neighbor while not agreeing with all the choices my neighbor makes; it’s not my place to condemn a person for his/her decisions, but nor is it appropriate for me to adopt those decisions myself or accept them as equally good. Equating Christ and Mohammed (or any other person), or the Bible and the Koran (or any other book) is…well…I can certainly understand how a non-Christian might do this, but I’m not quite sure how a Christian can. How can you claim the name of Christ, and place Mohammed’s teachings alongside Christ’s as if they are equally valid and essentially the same? This is an aspect of liberal Christianity that I just haven’t been able to wrap my head around.
So…the signers? They included Bill Hybels (Wilow Creek) and Rick Warren (Saddleback), neither of whom I would consider liberal (at least before this!). I can’t put my finger on what specifically I know about Hybels, but clearly I’ve absorbed enough about him to be shocked that he would put his name on this document. And Rick Warren? I had some concerns, or call them quibbles, about him, but I try very hard to avoid the vitriol and witch-hunting that has so infected some corners of Christianity, and assume the best about my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Reading this post has, shall we say, greatly increased the concern, and “quibble” is probably no longer the appropriate word.