The Gospel is primarily communicated by highly symbolic human lives that operate as “Prime Attractors”: through actions visibly done in love; by a nonviolent, humble, and liberated lifestyle; and through identification with the edged out and the excluded of the world. The very presence of such Prime Attractors “gives others reasons for spiritual joy,” as St. Francis said.
Bonaventure pays little attention to fire and brimstone, sin, merit, justification, or atonement. His vision is positive, mystic, cosmic, intimately relational, and largely concerned with cleaning the lens of our perception and our intention so we can see and enjoy fully!
Today Óscar Romero (1917–1980) will be named a saint by the Catholic Church. As Archbishop of San Salvador for the last four years of his life, Romero was a strong, public voice for the many voiceless and anonymous poor of El Salvador and Latin America. When he preached in the cathedral on Sunday mornings, I’m told that the streets were empty and all the radios where on full volume, to hear truth and sanity in an insane and corrupt world.
Here is a man who suffered with and for those who suffered. His loving heart shines through clearly in his homilies:
The shepherd must be where the suffering is. 
My soul is sore when I learn how our people are tortured, when I learn how the rights of those created in the image of God are violated. 
A Gospel that doesn’t take into account the rights of human beings, a Christianity that doesn’t make a positive contribution to the history of the world, is not the authentic doctrine of Christ, but rather simply an instrument of power. We . . . don’t want to be a plaything of the worldly powers, rather we want to be the Church that carries the authentic, courageous Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, even when it might become necessary to die like he did, on a cross. 
In his homily on March 23, 1980, the day before he was murdered, Romero addressed the Salvadoran military directly:
Brothers, we are part of the same people. You are killing your own brother and sister peasants and when you are faced with an order to kill given by a man, the law of God must prevail; the law that says: Thou shalt not kill. No soldier is obliged to obey an order against the law of God. No one has to obey an immoral law. And it is time that you recover your consciences. . . . In the name of God, then, and in the name of this suffering people whose laments rise up to heaven each day more tumultuously, I plead with you, I pray you, I order you, in the name of God: Stop the repression! 
The next day, following his sermon, a U.S.-supported government hit squad shot him through his heart as he stood at the altar.
Only a few weeks earlier, Romero had said:
I have often been threatened with death. I must tell you, as a Christian, I do not believe in death without resurrection. If I am killed, I shall arise in the Salvadoran people. I say so without boasting, with the greatest humility. . . . A bishop will die, but God’s church, which is the people, will never perish. 
If you want peace, work for justice. —Pope Paul VI
.. the single biggest obstacle to the church’s mission and vision of peace with justice is the fact of the segregation of the poor/the oppressed/the exploited/the neglected/the stranger from the comfortable/the secure/the satisfied. The result is a divide that convinces the comfortable and secure that all is well and persuades the poor that there is no hope. . .
.. Regardless of what else we do, we must stay connected in some kind of face-to-face way with the persons and the places at risk. . . .
.. The second critical ingredient . . . is justice education. . . . The single most repeated phrase in the Gospels is [what] Jesus uses to describe the vision and focus of his ministry: the Reign of God. . . . This is the reign of
- compassion and
Jesus calls disciples to this vision. Is it fair to say that Jesus did not call disciples to follow him for the purpose of idolizing or honoring him? Rather, the reason to follow him is that he is pointing toward a new possibility—a holy possibility. . . .
.. for us to live as we live in this country, we need to dominate others so that they cannot use the limited resources that we want.
As St. Francis is often quoted as saying, “You must preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary use words.” This demands no “belief” or theology whatsoever, but only eyes wide open.
.. In the great basilica in Assisi where Francis is buried, there is a wonderful bronze sculpture of Francis inviting the Holy Spirit. Instead of looking upward as is usual, he gazes reverently and longingly downward—into the earth—where the Spirit is enmeshed. Francis understood that the Holy Spirit had in fact descended; she is forever and first of all here! There are artists who inherently understand incarnation.
he American media tend to portray American evangelicalism as exclusively white, male-led, nationalistic (American exceptionalism) and ultra-conservative socially and politically.
.. I never heard the word “inerrancy” until I attended a mainstream, evangelical Baptist seminary. Only then did I learn that “women should not be pastors or teach men.”
.. I saw and experienced that fundamentalism was gradually inserting itself into mainstream evangelicalism and pushed back against that as best I could. I was taught that “we evangelicals” were not fundamentalists. Gradually, however, the line between the two communities of relatively conservative American Protestants began to blur and even dissolve.
.. I have developed strong resistance to any identification of true, authentic “evangelical Christianity” with American nationalism, conservative political ideologies, “whiteness” and “maleness.”
.. What I have done is state very publicly (on my blog, in books and articles, in papers read at professional society meetings, etc.) that, in my own personal opinion, the American evangelical movement is dead and gone. The major reason is the divisive influence of ultra-conservative neo-fundamentalists who have somehow managed to capture the label “evangelical” in the public mind.
.. When I call myself “evangelical,” and when my seminary calls itself “evangelical,” I/we are not identifying with any movement; I/we are identifying ourselves with a historical-theological-spiritual ethos deeply shaped by post-Reformation: pietism, revivalism, missions, and profound emphasis on the gospel of Jesus Christ as the only message that brings true and holistic transformation—both individually and socially.
Material gifts decrease when you give them away. Spiritual gifts, by contrast, increase the more you use them.. When you are living in conscious connection with this Loving Inner Presence, you are in your True Self. God is forever united to this love within you; it is your soul, the part of you that always says yes to God. God always sees God in you–and “cannot disown God’s own self” (2 Timothy 2:13)... Many Christians live with a terrible sense of being rejected, because their religion is basically a worthiness game where no one really wins. That’s precisely not the Good News. It’s bad news. The Gospel will always be misinterpreted by the false self in terms of some kind of climbing or achieving. Since the false self can’t even understand the command to love one’s enemies, it has to disregard the message as naive, which is exactly what most of Christian history has done. Jesus’ rather clear teaching on love of enemies has been consistently ignored by all the mainline churches. Christians have been fighting one war after another, and excluding, torturing, and killing enemies right and left because the false self can never understand the Gospel. Yet we have been baptizing, confirming, giving communion to, and even ordaining false selves throughout our history. It is probably unavoidable, and God surely must be patient.
Once, after I gave an anti-war sermon, a businessman came up to me and said, “Well, Father, maybe in an ideal world. . . .” I know he meant well, but that’s what we’ve done with most of the teaching of Jesus. We interpret his meaning for some ideal world. Of course, the ideal world is never going to come so we can just ignore 99% of the actual teaching of Jesus, as the institutional church (and I too!) have usually done. We concentrate instead on things that Jesus never once talked about, like birth control, homosexuality, and abortion–bodily “sins” because the body can most easily carry shame. We shouldn’t disregard bodily shame or addictions, but they are not the core problem. Jesus focused on issues of power, prestige, and possession–which all of us have largely ignored. I don’t think the church has had intentional bad will. It has simply tried to get the false self to live the Gospel, and that will never work. In other words, we’ve tried to have a church without fundamental transformation. Thus we whittle down the whole Sermon on the Mount, and Jesus’ direct teaching that “he who lives by the sword dies by the sword” (Matthew 26:52); and we look for absolutes in ever new secular places–like the 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution which allows us to carry weapons. And this is done by a vast majority of Bible-quoting Christians.