So… Campolo

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.

No Responses to “So… Campolo”

  1. Sayward
    December 3, 2006 at 12:52 pm #

    I totally agree with you. I’ve been following your blog (from marko’s) and the amazing political overtone that Campolo brought to us what not what I came for youth ministry training. Mainly because we first have to reconsile kids to Christ, before we can reconsile them to the political issues of today, through a “Christ lens”. You’re very well spoken. Thanks!

  2. Patti
    December 3, 2006 at 1:44 pm #

    hey sayward, glad to hear I’m not the only one. I was really wanting the challenge, a renewing push because it’s so easy to get ever so slightly pulled away from the real, and often hard part, of ministry. BTW, what a contrast with Shane Claiborne, huh? Same. Exact. Idea. No beating… blessings to you!

  3. Wave_Lenghts
    December 3, 2006 at 4:34 pm #

    I enjoyed Camolo and I think that it was a message that needed to be spoken.

    I think that we need to be challenged. I think that we need to broaden our thought. I think we need to see if we are living and deciding by Christ’s word.

    I did not see him in charlotte, it was Cincy that I saw him but I doubt if the message changed much.

    I would be interested in hearing more because I have seen comments from other charlotte bloggers on him.

  4. Patti
    December 4, 2006 at 10:02 pm #

    wave_lenghts, it isn’t that I disagree with the heart of his message. I completely agree that there is a LOT of room for improvement in the way the church – and individual Christians too! – lives into “loving our neighbors”… we aren’t very good at that.

    It was totally the political swipes… the message needy saying, the spin didn’t. IMO

  5. Dayna
    December 4, 2006 at 11:44 pm #

    I agree with you Patti. In addition, some of the things he said about the education system were false. I can see where he would misunderstand, or think he might know what’s going on, but as someone who works in the system daily and sees the whole picture, I was greatly disappointed in his misrepresentation of it. :(

  6. Wave_Lenghts
    December 5, 2006 at 9:46 am #


    And that is what is difficult. I heard from teachings who nodded yes through the entire talk.

    They are tired of having to teach what is on the test so they do not lose $$ from the gov. when they think ( as teachers in their room ) that there are more important things the students need to learn – but can’t do it because they need a high score on the test.

  7. Derek
    December 5, 2006 at 9:37 pm #

    Regardless of representations of No Child Left Behind, basically calling it evil and basically labeling its source as an enabler of injustice……well, there’s PLENTY of that out there, and it’s not all Republican–it may not have been said verbatim, but it might as well. Those (and other) statements truly soured what was at the core of it all a message we could all agree on.

  8. Wave_Lenghts
    December 6, 2006 at 9:55 am #

    Maybe, it was the not same talk. Campolo does have numerous messages that cover the same material but yet is different – different with illustrations.

    Or, it could be the fact that I have different political views and thoughts then all of you.

    So, I will back out and not bring up any more discussion.

  9. Patti
    December 6, 2006 at 6:08 pm #

    Your comments and the discussion is welcome here. It’s how we learn to understand each other.

    I’m sorry I’m failing to get across that it was HOW I FELT and not WHAT he SAID… politics aside, or mixed in. My statements here are very much based on how the words hit me and my wondering if he might have been more effective if he simply said things differently.

    The heart of the message is classic Campolo, and I’m sure is the heart of the message you heard in Cincy. And, he is absolutely called to stir people up.

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