Here it is, the idea that left the wound from Campolo’s talk. First, though, I want to reiterate that I normally enjoy the challenge Tony Campolo brings, and I can usually let it roll when he says something controversial (about every other 15 seconds).
But last night, his words really hurt. In thinking about it, it seems to me that I understood him in the past to be expressing heartfelt convictions from his understanding of Scripture. That sometimes related to a political issue, but I’d never heard it attack one head on in very specific terms. I can respect a person’s spiritual convictions, even if I see the subject from a different angle. I often agreed with Campolo on human justice issues, on Jesus’ compassion (emphasis on passion) for “the least of these.”
This talk was different. It was a collision of agendas, an unexpected one, and it was messy. Suddenly, hitting me over and over were bits of a more liberal political agenda couched in the most graphic terms. Bam… killing children in Iraq. Bam… no child left behind. Bam… homosexuality. Bam… Each hit with the political bat was accomapnied with religious guilt on the angry bat in the other hand.
It just wasn’t the Campolo I’d heard before. It’s not that I either agreed or disagreed with the political agenda, it’s that I felt beaten up as a believer. I’d never felt that kind of exclusivity from him before, and that really, really hurt. So there, I said it.
Tony Campolo, I do love the passion for the poor, sick and needy. I’m seeing you differently now, though.