Religious Worship as Political Action
Chapter 1. Religious Worship as Political Rhetoric?
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RELIGIOUS WORSHIP AS POLITICAL RHETORIC?
A couple dozen people gathered in the Shalom Mennonite Church in Tucson, Arizona, on Pentecost Sunday in the spring of 2013. One of the holiest days in the liturgical calendar, the date celebrates the account in the biblical books of Acts when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples during the “Festival of Weeks” (celebrating God giving the law to Moses on Mt. Sinai). The Mennonites in Tucson—like Christians around the world—gathered to pray and sing as they reflected on that dual referent to the coming of God’s religious-political law and the Holy Spirit. They also joined Mennonites across the country in setting time aside that day to write to their congressional leaders in Washington, D.C.1 With paper and pen in hand, some grabbed a hymnal and others a Bible to have a hard surface on which to write. Reviewing public policy information provided by the Mennonite Church USA, each of those gathered started to write their personal letter to their state’s U.S. senators and their U.S. House member. As they wrote, their pens left words on the paper and slight indentions from their advocacy on the hymnals and Bibles. A few letter-writers paused to sip coffee as they pondered their word choices. Others sat still, thinking—perhaps even praying—about what to write. A white-haired man leaned over to read his wife’s letter as he considered what else he should add to his own....
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