Red Letter Revival: A Revival of Jesus and Justice
A group of progressive evangelicals and other Christians are planning a “revival” this spring to protest “toxic evangelicalism” and evangelical leaders who support President Trump. Christian author and activist Shane Claiborne recently announced the event, saying he and others plan to host a “Red Letter Revival” on April 6-7 in Lynchburg, Va. — the same city where Liberty University, a conservative Christian school led by Jerry Falwell, Jr. is located.
“In word, worship and witness, this ‘revival of Jesus and Justice’ will stand in stark contrast to the distorted Christian nationalism that many white evangelical leaders have become known for,” the statement reads in part. “It is a gathering for people of faith or no faith who are curious about Jesus and troubled by the state of evangelicalism in America.”
Other faith leaders critical of Falwell are also scheduled to be part of the revival. Claiborne said the event will include an address by the Rev. William Barber II, a leading figure in the religious left and organizer of the Moral Mondays.
Claiborne was quick to note that the event is being organized in cooperation with local Lynchburg clergy, two of whom are mentioned in the news release. He also hinted at possible participation by unnamed students and faculty at Liberty. “(We are) building on some of the movement locally and different leaders there,” he said. “We really don’t want it to be just outside people coming in.”
The Red Letter Christians name other leaders expected to attend, including author and pastor Tony Campolo, also of Red Letter Christians; author Lisa Sharon Harper, founder of Freedom Road; the Rev. Brenda Brown-Grooms, pastor of New Beginnings Christian Community and minister with the Charlottesville Clergy Collective; and the Rev. S. Todd Yeary, pastor of Douglas Memorial Community Church in Baltimore and political action chair of the Maryland State Conference NAACP. Claiborne said organizers are also reaching out to several musicians to ask about their participation, such as Jon Foreman of the band Switchfoot and Christian hip-hop artists Lecrae and Micah Bournes. He said he hopes the result will lift up a different evangelical voice than that of Falwell and others.
“When evangelicals have lost our focus on Jesus, we end up talking a lot about things Jesus didn’t talk about … and supporting things that are a direct contradiction to Matthew 25,” he said, referencing Jesus’ call to help the vulnerable in the Bible.
(The information in this abridged article originally appeared at Religious News Service.)