Yesterday I had the privilege, along with Chris Seiple, Joel Hunter, John Jenkins, Ron Sider, and David Neff, to meet with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Yesterday I had the privilege, along with Chris Seiple, Joel Hunter, John Jenkins, Ron Sider, and David Neff, to meet with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The meeting wasn’t a photo opp. We didn’t take any. It wasn’t because 3 of us were mega-church pastors, one a prominent professor, another a diplomat/humanitarian, and another President of all of Christianity Today publications. Except for we three pastors, we all live in different worlds that converge at times. It was because in each of our own ways – all six of us have lived an “activist” or what some might call “missional” faith that engages hurting people where they are. We use whatever God puts in our hand be it a pen, a congregation, a briefing, a lecture or protocol. It was because of what most of us have already done – be it Vietnam, Afghanistan, Pakistan, environment, or our own inner-cities, etc. and what we are burdened about in the West Bank.
In the West, we Christians talk a lot, we write a lot, we “conference” a lot, we “worship” a lot, but compared to other parts of the world, we really don’t do a lot. I know someone will be quick to say we have to “be” first. They’re right – but being never stays cooped up inside – it flows out. Credibility and access doesn’t come from vision, aspiration, and the presentation of what you want to do – but of what you did and are doing. I wish we could get that.
Secretary Rice was appreciative of the letter that many evangelicals signed supporting her and President Bush on the two-State solution for the Israelis and Palestinians. She was recently in the Middle-East and visited Bethlehem – she told us about it – said it was moving to be where her Savior was born, but also sad to see the conditions of the people there in Bethlehem. She told us even though she had 14 months left that she and the State Department would do all they could to help and resolve the situation.
Obviously, my concern was more the people to people diplomacy and how followers of Jesus can serve, care and connect with a hurting pocket of humanity. I’m also sad that our evangelical Christian brothers there feel so rejected and ignored by us in the West, trying to live out their faith in the land of Jesus among Muslims and Jews. I’m convinced, when we stand before God, we as the church in America will answer for that one day. Ignoring any pocket of suffering, humanity never leads to anything good and violates what Jesus commanded of us in Matthew 25. We Christians gripe about PC language – but the reality is we have our own PC language – and caring about Palestinians has not been PC correct but it is very JC correct.
She’s a class act. She’s sharp. She’s engaging. Personally, I’d vote for her if she ran for President! Run Condi Run! She’s not a whiner – she’s upbeat, positive, and serious. I gave her my two books – explained to her that Glocalization is a new way that many churches are engaging the world and Transformation is how we create disciples that do that. I told her they’d change the world – she started laughing and said “Well I’ve got to read this.” I got her to autograph a copy of her biography for my daughter Jill – she was very gracious and wound up getting her a personally autographed photo. Good will is nice, but it will take a lot more than that to move forward there. Now, the hard part, let’s put our shoulder to the plow . . .