Sunday, August 26, 2007

Asphalt Gospel

Book, film showcase walk that promoted Christian compassion
August 25, 2007
Lawn Griffiths
East Valley Tribune (Phoenix

They've long since kicked the road dust from their shoes, but the small band who walked 2,500 miles from Phoenix to Washington, D.C., last year in CrossWalk America for a new vision of Christian faith is taking it to America again with a book, "Asphalt Jesus," and a documentary film, "Asphalt Gospel."

Grounded in a call for love of God, love of neighbor and love of self, CrossWalk America ( is touted as a point "where Christian compassion meets progressive action." The message is being showcased in the book and the 97-minute film, which will premiere at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. today at the Phoenix Art Museum.

The walk in the spring and summer of 2006 became an exercise in listening to Christians at the grass roots, including those who disagreed with the team's message, said the Rev. Eric Elnes, pastor of Scottsdale Congregational United Church of Christ, CrossWalk's co-founder and author of the newly published "Asphalt Jesus."


Along the way, the team got support from such prominent religious leaders as former Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong and the Rev. James Forbes, senior pastor of Riverside Church in New York City. Forbes would say, "You never know where the next Great Awakening is going to come. ... I see of spark of what very well may be the next Great Awakening in Phoenix, Arizona." Spong and his wife took part in the last segment of the walk, and he wrote extensively about CrossWalk.


We were walking for principles, some of which would suggest that no highly conservative person would want to support us," he said, pointing to Affirmation 5 that "implies full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people" and well as Affirmation 1 implying that "there may be other legitimate paths to God in addition to Christianity." Yet his group found "a lot of evangelical and fundamentalist people coming up to us and saying, 'Thank you, you are walking for me.'" Those same people, [CrossWalk co-fonder Eric] Elnes said, could never stand up in their churches to express support of such positions.

1 comment:

Rev. Thomas Squiers said...

This sounds very interesting and I look forward learning more about this organization. With the founder as a UCC pastor, I am aware that the UCC's are by far more progressive than most Christians of today. We could learn a great deal from them and how they have worked to shape their own denomination.

Rev. Thomas Squiers
Integrity Fort Worth