Monday, September 15, 2008

Emergent and Political Ideology

Tony Jones, in his recent book The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier, discusses the anti-ideological feelings of emerging/Emergent Christians. Throughout his book he sprinkles in dispatches. Dispatch Number 2 states: "Emergents reject the politics and theologies of left versus right. Seeing both sides as a remnant of modernity, they look forward to a more complex reality."

I wish that were the case. I would like to agree with them. In spite of all of the rhetoric that comes from both sides, I really don’t see that much “real change” following many national elections. But to deal with Jones’ point, that is not true. Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz, an author claimed by all believers on the emerging spectrum gave the closing benediction at the Democratic National Convention last month. Not as an independent praying for civility in discourse and unity as a nation, but as a registered Democrat who endorses the Democratic candidate. (From Christianity Today)

I’m a registered Democrat… If you look in the last eight years, we have lost our reputable standing among most nations. Certainly among many poor nations and Muslim nations, we’re not very respected. There’s a great deal of hostility against us. As we travel the world, America represents Christianity to the rest of the world. What we have is Christianity being represented by what is perceived as arrogance, bullying, an inability to negotiate peace, an inability to listen. People assume that Christianity is that way. You ask yourself, what sort of person might God rise up to heal the wounds that have been created by that kind of positioning in the world. You would think a very intelligent minority, who came not out of wealth, who’s not only power position in Washington, D.C., a man who’s more thoughtful in his answers and less bullyish, not as simple of a thinker, even as reality is not simple, a man who has spent part of his upbringing overseas and has connections with Kenya, that’s the guy. A name like Barack Obama, you just kind of go, that would be the guy that God would choose to heal some of the wounds that we’ve caused in the world. That’s what made me take him seriously

Here is the Emergent Village “godfather” Brian McLaren endorsing Barack Obama

Thus, I have a hard time swallowing this rejection of political ideologies by those on the emergent frontiers. I don’t know how Donald Miller or Brian McLaren are any different than right wing evangelicals like James Dobson and Richard Land who take criticism for endorsing Republican candidates. And furthermore, I don't know how those who endorse either side can continue to believe in political solutions to the real issues facing our society. Both sides are more interested in staying in power, getting credit when things go well and blaming the other side when things don't.


The MAN Fan Club said...

Do you think Jesus was a registered voter? I know many assume that Jesus would be a registered Republican, yet Billy Graham is a registered Democrat. Should a pastor even hint at his position from the pulpit?

billy v said...

That is a tough one. Any pastor needs to realize that for every Republican that he endorses, there are Democrats in his church that he may be alienating. I wouldn't, but I'm not saying that should be the case across the board.