Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Page 2 - third paragraph

If you want to understand a little bit about the dilemma facing the evangelical movement, this article is an excellent place to begin. Though lengthy, it addresses the shifting landscape of evangelical politics. If you can only read a little bit, please read the 3rd paragraph of this page because if offers an encapsulated view of generational shift that has occurred. In short, there's been a broader consideration of ethical issues, so that economic, justice, health care, and environmental issues have been elevated from the basement to the main floor in the ethical mansion.

Behind this, there's been a bit of shift theologically. In brief, the shift has less to do, in my opinion with post modernity than with eschatology (the theology of end times matters). Rather than a fatalistic withdrawal from culture, as was so typical in the "Left Behind" fixation on dates and times of Jesus return, and the rapture, there's been a growing commitment to embody, NOW, in this present time, a measure of hope, justice, and all the rest Jesus spoke of in his own mission statement. This makes sense, since Jesus said that we'd do the same things He did, and since Paul explains that we're the visible expression of Christ's life.

So here we are, on the cusp of an important political season as Americans, and I might simply say that it's refreshing to see the conversation expand to include subjects of justice, mercy, and the environment among Jesus' followers. Couple this with the reality that the Republican primary candidates don't really fit the evangelical mold, and we have the makings for a very interesting election year.

Labels: ,


At 27/10/07 22:50, Blogger Tom said...

Thanks for calling attention to this article, Richard. I've long puzzled over the assumption that conservative theology necessarily leads to conservative politics. Jesus and the scriptures overwhelmingly emphasize caring for the poor, welcoming the alien, loving [other] sinners, serving, giving, getting our own lives cleaned up, making peace, standing up for the downtrodden, etc, etc. How refreshing to read about more of us wanting to reclaim that territory as a real expression of the kingdom of God, not just the turf of 'bleeding heart liberals.'

One of the pastors in the article described President Bush as having "a spiritual heart,” then noted (regarding Iraq), "He is in a quagmire right now and maybe doesn’t know how to get out. Because to pull out now would say, ‘I was wrong from the very beginning.’”

For me, this illustrates how political leanings can trump our ability and willingness to see larger issues. Doesn't the "spiritual heart" readily admit failure, ask for forgiveness, seek to right wrongs, and refrain from blaming others for one's mistakes? A "spiritual heart" is demonstrated by how we live our lives much more than by our service to a particular political agenda. That's what our faith requires - from all of us.

At 29/10/07 11:45, Blogger Roy said...

"Some might compare the religious right to a snake,” he (Pastor Fox) said. “We may be in our hole right now, but we can come out and bite you at any time.”


At 30/10/07 12:55, Anonymous Kyle Sale said...

Having recently moved to Seattle from the South, I think this Times article broadly generalizes the evengelical voter. My guess is that this article only flies here, San Fran, NY, etc. As much as people here talk about all those crazy evengelicals out there I haven't met many (I stress many because be sure you can find crazies if you look).

I think this post by the esteemed Pastor Dahlstrom sheds light on the crux of the issue. The success of the '06 Democrats was attributed to the fact that they ran very centrist candidates, several of whom were basically pro-life conservatives againsts the war. This strategy paid off as many frustrated Repub's voted for the centrist Dem's.

The success of that strategy suggests to me that the country at large (most places other than here, San Fran, NY, etc) is much more purple than blue/red. This is why we see a shift in the Republican primary candidates talking points, back grounds, etc. I think the media generally portrays a much greater political divide than what exists in reality.


Post a Comment

<< Home