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Bishop of W. Mass. on living a Christ-centered (not a Trump-centered) life

Bishop of W. Mass. on living a Christ-centered (not a Trump-centered) life

Bishop Douglas J. Fisher of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts has some advice for churches and Christians in the current political climate. In a provocatively-titled piece, he offers “some practical ways to stay Christ-centered in this era.”

Specifically, the bishop recommends more time in prayer, and less watching the news; making friends across the political divide; fostering interfaith worship; and replacing the Nicene Creed with the Baptismal Covenant at every Sunday liturgy.

The Creed gets covered in the first three questions and then we are asked five questions about our commitment to a Christ-centered life. We need an affirmative answer to all five questions, and especially now, we need the last two:

“Will you seek and serve Christ in ALL persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?”

“Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?” With God’s help, we can do that.

Fisher compares these questions to the ones to which he responded as he was ordained a bishop, especially this one:

“Will you be merciful to all, show compassion to the poor and strangers, and defend those who have no helper?”

The answer to all the questions is “I will…” but always followed by a different clause. Sometimes, it is, “I will, for the love of God.” Or, “I will, by the grace given me.” For me, the answer to that question has become, “I will, for the sake of Christ Jesus.”

For the sake of Christ Jesus. A Christ-centered life means standing with the poor, the stranger (immigrants, refugees) and those who have no helper (those without health insurance, the environment). There are others that fit into my parentheses. Those who are discriminated against: women, people of color, indigenous people, LGBT people, Muslims. Those who have lost jobs due to automation, down-sizing and technological advancements. Those who cannot get jobs because they are experiencing homelessness or because they were once incarcerated. Those who are addicted who wind up in jail instead of rehab.

I was the one who answered the question, but as a faith leader I was answering for all of us. Calling elected officials, participating in the political process, engaging the American right to peacefully protest in order to stand with “those who have no helper”- we do this for the sake of Christ Jesus.

Read Bishop Fisher’s blog here. Do you have recommendations of your own for remaining Christ-centered in a polarized and politically contentious era?


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Bill Louis

Daniel, I’m not going to spar with you over the merits of who is Christian and who is not and why. Your thinking is what I believe is wrong with the Episcopal Church. Its become a bastion of intolerant liberal and progressivism . From what I’ve seen of this website, anyone who does not go along with ideas like yours is demonized and called non-Christian. Who are you to make that determination?

Daniel Jarvis

Do you know how absurd it is to think that believing in Trump is not antithetical to believing in Jesus? As to why the majority of christians voted for DJT… a tree is known by its’ fruit

Daniel Jarvis

yes David, your right. I was focused, however, on how his advice to live the covenant results in a healthier soul in reg to current situations. Then, as I am wont to do, point out how anti DJT is. Interesting that 26.000 psych professionals has signed a petition claiming Donald is dangerously mentally ill and should be removed

Back to the Bishop…interesting that he perposes replacing the creed with the Bap cov at eucharist. Dont know how that will play out, but when I was in the Church, I was not a fan of the creed…following Jesus is discipleship, not religiuos ontological speculation and adoration course that attitude has its detracters, not here to open that can o worms

thanks for letting me speak

Daniel Jarvis

I think you mistake about what the Bishop is about; he is giving pastoral advise to help his people in their emotional/spiritual health.
But given that…if his words alienate half the country, then I see that as an indictment on the USA. and since that half of the population is the most overtly “christian”, it is also an indication on how far the american versions of the faith have fallen from the Way of Jesus.
Yes brother, it is ALL about ideology… The Jesus way and the Trump way are so diametrically opposed as to be an analogue of christ/antichrist

Jesus be about others, not just self
Trump pathologically narcissistic

Jesus be humble
Trump pathologically egotist. I am the most, the greatest, the best….

Jesus know and focus on your own sins
Trump continuously projects his sins on others; THEY are the crooked, the fake, the ignorant…,

Jesus greed is a source of evil
Trump self described as a bottomless pit of greed

Jesus a great speaker of truth
Trump a great teller of lies

Jesus show mercy to the least of society
Trump scapegoat the least of society

Jesus its about love and healing
Trump its about power and control

Jesus its about covert righteousness
Trump its about overt corruption

So it is no wonder that those who follow Jesus are having a hard time swallowing the rise of the trump era. We do not expect our Prez to be necessarily christlike…but being so anti christlike is troubling, a kairos moment, a test for christians, a test for the Nation.
The bishop is giving advise on how to mitigate the harm to the soul, given this new reality. How to mitigate the harm to the larger world… thats another kettle o fish

Bill Louis

So, anyone who voted and believes in Donald Trump cannot be a Christian. Do you know how absurd that is…. probably not.

bill louis

Sorry, It was directed at daniel.

David Allen

Mr Louis, are you speaking to me or Daniel?

David Allen

No Daniel, I think that you missed what the Bishop was about completely. Christopher, in the first comment, was on the right track. The Bishop wasn’t making any commentary about Trump at all, other than mentioning that a lot of people on both sides of the political field are caught up in the day-to-day turmoil from the past year of campaigning and the first few weeks of this administration.

+Douglas was reminding what we should have been caught up in all along, being followers of Jesus, dwelling on fulfilling our baptismal vows, the things that never change, regardless of who is in power and what they are or are not accomplishing. How we go about achieving the outcomes of those vows may change with who is in power, accomplishing some of our vows may be easier or more difficult because of a particular administration’s policies, but the vows never change, what we have commited/covenanted to achieving is always the same.

Tamara Sutter

Exactly! Thank you!

Prof Christopher Seitz

Logan–I believe your concerns are those of the Bishop in this entry.

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