My name is Bruce Reyes-Chow and I too am a Christian. I am also a Presbyterian minister, a husband, a father and a Democrat. Identifiers claimed, I write to you today because I am frustrated with the singular version of Christianity that is dominating today’s public and political discourse.
Like many of you from across the theological and political spectrum, I am disturbed by the religious rhetoric that is defining Christianity in the United States today: one that employs inflammatory rhetoric over civil discourse, favors easy-answers over nuanced thought and seeks political victory over the common good. This is not the Christianity that I live. I believe that faithful Christians – from “liberal” to “conservative” – can vigorously disagree on significant social and political issues like abortion, marriage equality, health care, etc. without tearing down the dignity of the other, giving up the complexities of faith or inflicting pain upon another member of the Body of Christ.
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22
The Christianity that I embrace compels me to follow God’s calling into the world, and to do so with vigor, discipline and love.
I am generally against unity based on a negative, but we are at a time when remaining silent is a luxury that we can no longer afford. For if the current dominant version of the Christian faith continues to be cast as the one true version, the great diversity of our collective thought and theology will further cease building up the body as a whole. At some point our participation in the abdication of the Christian voice in the United States to the version of Christianity that politicians, pundits and the media would like it to be can no longer be tolerated. Unless we want our Christian faith to continue to be defined for us, we must seize this time, join our voices and reclaim the diversity of Christianity in the United States that we all know exists.
All together now . . . We are Christianity!
Because there is a broad expression of Christianity in the United States and lifting up a singular alternative would only perpetuate the idea of one “right” Christianity, taking a pledge or signing a contract would be silly. Instead, if this letter resonates with you – Blue Dog Roman Catholic Democrat or a Log Cabin Episcopal Republican – you are invited to publicly claim your spot in the larger Christian family by adding your name to the “We are Christianity!” petition and/or liking and uploading a photo to the Facebook Page .
Other than that, I hope that you will take every opportunity to model graciousness, extend respect and shower dignity as you passionately, publicly and faithfully live and express your Christian faith.
May the peace of Christ be with you.
Bruce Reyes-Chow, Christian
Bruce is a native Northern Californian and third generation Chinese/Filipino who has been living in San Francisco since 1998. Until May, 2011 he was the founding pastor of Mission Bay Community Church, a church of 20/30-somethings in San Francisco, CA and from 2008-2010 was Moderator of the 218th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA). He is currently one of those “consultant” types who makes his way, writing, speaking, teaching and drinking coffee. His social networks of choice are Twitter, Facebook and his Blog