Christians on the political left often advocate for additional Federal spending as part of bringing God’s shalom to the world, and Christians on the right often, contrary to how scripture uses the term gospel and salvation, disconnect the gospel from any temporal and embodied forms of salvation. But an issue of justice crying out in the current culture is rallying both the left and the right in God’s Kingdom to work together, and the electoral defeat of Mitt Romney may have provided the necessary impetus for apathetic members of Congress to get on board. Read the rest of this entry »
Category Archives: Politics and Culture
Over the past few weeks, the mainstream media has been abuzz with talk of Zero Dark Thirty. Heavily marketed as an Oscar front-runner and as an “insider” account of the quest to kill Bin Laden, Zero Dark Thirty has been besieged by a group of critics, who have openly challenged the film’s depiction of the “enhanced interrogation” techniques employed by agents of the CIA. Indeed, the outcry has become so persistent, that the acting head of the CIA, himself, has actually taken the unprecedented step of releasing a press statement discussing the film. So what is Zero Dark Thirty? Is it an action-packed thriller offering us a rare glimpse into the inner working of the intelligence community? Or is it reckless filmmaking of a dangerous variety? Read the rest of this entry »
Last Wednesday, Ryan Mahoney introduced the readers of this blog to a new series we are running, entitled Contextual Theology. In short, this series is driven by our desire to see Evangelicals re-root themselves in the Great Tradition of the Church. While many within Western Protestantism have been taught that “tradition” is a dirty word most commonly associated with Catholics, the Reformers of the 1500s would never have seen the Great Tradition in this light. Indeed, it takes little more than a cursory examination of even a few of the writings of Calvin, Luther and Zwingli to see that these men were deeply invested in tying their theology to the teachings of the universal church that preceded them. So today, as we continue to walk in the footsteps of the Magisterial Reformers, our series continues by taking a look at the modern, pro-life movement through the lens of an ancient text called The Didache or The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles. Read the rest of this entry »
We have been discussing the need for evangelicals to develop an evangelical, political philosophy in this series of posts. Previously, we discussed the problem of present evangelical engagement with the political culture and the need for a coherent vision for such engagement, using Ron Sider’s book The Scandal of Evangelical Politics as a jumping off point. The last post briefly surveyed the history of Christian engagement with culture, and I argued that evangelicals needed to root themselves in the tradition of this engagement as a guide for future direction. But, there is a problem; even if evangelicals could decide which elements of the tradition are worth retaining and who gets to decide such matters (both of which are very large problems that will need to be addressed later), we still need to articulate our position to the broader culture. What authority generates our political convictions: scripture, reason, experience or some combination thereof? How can we meaningfully engage such a pluralistic society? How can we articulate “our” political message to Hindus, Buddhists, Jewish people, Muslims, Agnostics, Atheists, and other people holding to different worldviews? Read the rest of this entry »
As a teacher charged with the task of helping students learn how to construct and deconstruct arguments, I often begin the year by asking my students to articulate their own personal worldview. Why is there something rather than nothing? How do you know what you know? What is the meaning of history? How do you explain the moral nature of humanity? What has gone wrong with the world? Can it be set right? Will it be set right? What will “right” ultimately look like?
As foundational as these questions may first appear to be, you might be surprised to know how rare it is for a student to be able to answer these questions in any kind of a meaningful way. Regardless of how bright the student may be, they are often incapable of providing even the most rudimentary of responses, as they simply have not been taught how to consider their own thought-life. And yet, as you can see from the questions themselves, worldviews are a summation of everything we believe to be true about the nature of the world around us. And as such, worldviews are very much a part of our daily existence, even if we don’t spend a great deal of time consciously considering their merits. Read the rest of this entry »
Over these past few days, much ink has been spilled on the subject of the Democratic party’s eleventh hour decision to include the word “god” in their official platform. But in case you haven’t been paying attention, let me bring you up to speed in short order. When the Democratic Convention recently adopted their official party platform, they elected to approve a document that did not contain the word “god,” and did not recognize Jerusalem as the rightful capital of Israel. When Republicans caught wind of this omission, the usual talking heads seized the airwaves, and began to paint the Democrats as a party that didn’t want “god” to be recognized. This, of course, was done with no small measure of self-righteous indignation, as many right-leaning pundits were quick to point out the fact that the Republican platform contained no less than ten acknowledgements of “god.” So the implication was, if you believe in “god,” the Republicans are the party for you because the all-important scorecard read 10 mentions of “god” to none.
As I have watched these events unfold, and as I have watched the ensuing comedy that surrounded the Democrat’s hasty attempt to ramrod the politically expedient language back into their official platform, I have found myself wondering … Read the rest of this entry »
I am writing this series on evangelical political engagement to explore the questions of if and how evangelicals should participate in the political culture of America. Given the upcoming election and the constant barrage of Facebook friends posting all manner of vitriol on our news feeder, it seemed go to us, and the Holy Spirit, to come and reason together about what we are doing and the manner in which we are doing it. To that end, I am bringing to you parts of Ron Sider’s book The Scandal of Evangelical Politics to ignite our thinking and conversation. His main thesis is simply that evangelicals need to develop a cohesive theology of political engagement in order to more consistently apply scripture to political engagement as well as provide a winsome answer to the culture for our engagement. So, how do we move from the biblical text into the world of politics? Read the rest of this entry »
Given the recent discussion of politics on this blog, by all of its authors, and the upcoming Presidential election, I thought it would be fruitful to have a discussion about the how and why of evangelical political activism. I chose a book written by Ron Sider as a jumping off point for this discussion. His book is titled, The Scandal of Evangelical Politics: Why Are Christians Missing the Chance to Really Change the World? I hope to post articles regarding this topic once a week, moving through Sider’s book. In his first chapter, Sider sketches a brief history of evangelical activism and the need for evangelicals to develop a theology for political engagement. Read the rest of this entry »
So as I continue to struggle to find the path of authentic Christianity in today’s culture, my mind often bounces from point to point within postmodernity. Why are Evangelicals largely in favor of “big military” and even military preemption, but ardently against abortion? Why are evangelicals largely against wealth redistribution? If the evangelical church lives in the grace of the new covenant, why are they largely in favor of carte blanche support of Israel? What percentage of mega church budgets are allocated towards missions relative to facility maintenance and upkeep? Why is there an Evangelical outcry against homosexuality, but hardly anything said on the divorce rates within their own community or children born out of wedlock? How has the Republican political party actually served the Evangelical community relative to the advancement of Christ’s birth, death, resurrection and ascension? Where is the compassion of Christ within Evangelical politics? Read the rest of this entry »
Today, I stand in solidarity with the Russian, feminist, punk-rock, art collective known as “Pussy Riot.” And as I do so, I do it as one who professes faith in Jesus Christ and as one who stands in defiance of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Allow me to explain. Read the rest of this entry »