Red Letter Christians?
In an interview with California's new Attorney General, Jerry Brown in Sunday's NYT's magazine section, he was asked to describe himself politically: "There's a great line from Friedrich Nietzsche: 'A thinking man can never be a party man.'" It's interesting how party affiliations and labels have soured genuine discussion on issues, turning them into lobbed hand grenades of sound-bite invective instead of dialogue towards resolution.
I mulled Brown's thoughts as I went off for lunch with some area youth pastors. One pastor told me how Tony Campolo began calling himself a "red letter" christian instead of evangelical, because the term "evangelical" has been hi-jacked by political groups. The very term "evangelical" is associated with that which is fundamentalistic, Republican, conservative, reactionary, militaristic, anti-intellectual, white and American, that it has lost some of its deepest value as "eu-aggelios" good news.
So Campollo says he is a "red-letter" christian in that he follows the red letters (versions of the Bible that highlight Jesus's words in red ink). Then, my friend said, but I could not verify, Bono and the Gap have created the HIV/AIDS campaign with RED clothing, an indirect allusion to red-letter christians.
I'm not sure what to think about it all; marketing, words of Jesus over actions, gospels over epistles, the Jesus only believers reacting against church structures. But, hey, it is interesting.