"I don't know about you but I'm politicked!" said the lead pastor of one of the largest churches in the country as he kicked off a controversial sermon series on faith and politics.
"Many of us have been drinking deception for so long that we don't understand the implications and seriousness of the game," Pastor Ed Young of Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, told congregants Sunday. "It's time for us to sober up, to step up and to get into the game."
With many people asking hard questions about the role of the church in politics at a time when the country is facing the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, is in the midst of a war on terror and is just about to elect its next president, Young has decided to "point people to the answers" – from the pulpit.
The "Politicked" series began this past weekend, just two weeks after a group of pastors across the country endorsed political candidates to their congregations in protest of IRS rules, which does not allow nonprofit groups to intervene in a political campaign if they want to receive tax exemption.
Many pastors and most Americans, however, do not support politics being preached from the pulpit.
But Young feels the Church has a responsibility to speak to the issues especially when so many people are asking questions.
"Here's what you don't understand. The Church has become more and more a non-prophet entity," he said in his fiery weekend sermon. "But I'm excited a lot of churches are becoming for prophet. The prophets of God, men and women of God, are standing up and saying 'thus sayeth the Lord.'"
Giving congregants and television viewers a depiction of America's landscape, Young says there are battles between effectiveness and bureaucracy, responsibility and victimization, truth and relativism, and wisdom and intelligence.
"Name me one thing the government has their hands on that's run efficiently and effectively," he said. Sounding out the time's up buzzer, Young immediately followed, "You can't do it!"
"What's the government's job? It's to protect. But now we've turned the government into fedzilla! It doesn't protect us anymore. Fedzilla is now preying on us," Young emphatically stated.
Inevitably commenting on the $700 billion bailout bill for Wall Street, Young posed, "Isn't that sort of like giving booze to a recovering alcoholic?"
In other highly debated matters, Young lamented the relativism pervading the country.
"I cannot believe that our nation is trying to redefine marriage," Young said, adding that the removal of absolute truth from the culture results in chaos. "God has said from cover to cover, marriage is for one man and one woman in this commitment."
"I'm all for everyone having equal rights but when it comes to this institution called marriage, give me a massive break!"
Touching on abortion, Young recalled a time he came across sea turtle eggs on the beach. They were fenced off with a sign that warned of imprisonment or a hefty fine if the eggs were harmed.
"So our government is into that but it's OK to take the lives of developing babies," he denounced. "It's OK to take the lives of 3,200 developing babies every 24 hours."
"What's right is now wrong, what's wrong is right. Truth versus relativism."
Viewing the current state of the country, he told congregants, "As people who love God and who want the best, we should be ticked."
Young urged fellow Christians to step up and get involved in the political process and ultimately "return this nation to 'one nation under God.'"
"We're going to stand for God's truth and be the Church because what a time in history that we have right now to be the Church," he said. And they're not going to be shy about it.
In his next sermon in the "Politicked" series, Young will endorse a presidential candidate.
On the Web: Fellowship Church