Beyond Politics: Election 2008 in High-Def Part III
What about the mosaic revival is comforting? As a Latino evangelical leader, one of the things I am asking is moving beyond polarization. In this mosaic revival, we know that though politics is not the whole solution, it will be a vital part. We need the nexus of clergy, good government, activists, entrepreneurs, moms and dads, educators, etc. As a Christian who is part of the mosaic revival, I cling to one thing: my commitment is to Christ and the gospel first, not to any political party. As a citizen who values justice, my commitment is to justice first and not any political party. In the mosaic revival, we reserve the right to criticize any party that violates and oppresses the least of these. That list is a long one (not exhaustive):
· people oppressed by poverty all over the world,
· the educationally deprived,
· unborn babies,
· mothers who are left without quality care for newborns,
· victims in Darfur, Rwanda,
· those who are impacted by AIDS/HIV,
· a planet with ecological challenges,
· abused woman and children,
· victims of violence in urban centers and college campuses,
· indigenous and immigrant groups that are displaced or marginalized.
The mosaic revival says this is beyond the Republicans, Democrats, or Independents. The kaleidoscope convention says, "How can we respond in ethical and nuanced ways to these global crises?"
Before I was a pastor, I was a Pentecostal evangelist that spoke to thousands of young people in revivals across the U.S. and Latin America. I think I hear them more clearly now than I ever did before. They're saying what I heard Jim Wallis say a month ago in New York: "How do we speak to two great hungers, spiritual revival and social justice?" The mosaic revival, or "awakening" as Jim may say it, says we understand Wilberforce, Charles Finney, Mother Teresa and Marting Luther King Jr., just to name a few heroes. Our commitment is to speak pastorally and prophetically to our nation and the world. We also recognize, as Christians, that we cannot do it alone. There is a deep mystical and spiritual element to this work.
On Tuesday, Feb. 12, Bishop John Gimenez left to be with the Lord. He was the pastor of the Rock Church in Virginia and a respected leader in the Latino evangelical community. Like my father, he was a former heroin junkie who had a radical conversion experience. I met Bishop John several years ago in New York at Bishop Luciano Padilla Jr.'s church. Although ideologically we were not always in 100 percent agreement, the bishop said to me something I'll never forget: "Believe the gospel can transform and let God work through it and you to change the world."
So when I'm asked, "What gives you the right to speak as a Latino evangelical? My response is, "The gospel mandate and the call of Jesus in Luke 4 as he quoted from the prophet Isaiah." The mosaic revival is not about blue or red states or liberal or conservative. It is, in the words of Gandhi, "Being the change you want to see in the world." Miguel de Unamuno, the Spanish poet said it best, "If not you, who? If not now, when?" The mosaic revival says always put the gospel (as a Christian) and your fundamental commitments to justice (as a citizen, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, secular, etc.,) ahead of partisanship.
Rev. Gabriel Salguero is the pastor of the Lamb's Church of the Nazarene in New York City, a Ph.D. candidate at Union Theological Seminary, and the director of the Hispanic Leadership Program at Princeton Theological Seminary. He is also a Sojourners board member.