15 January 2009

bibliobloggers unprepared for politics

The general election cycle is over.  Sort of.  Intentionally, this blog did not enter the discussion of presidential politics for the sake of being a blog devoted toward biblical theology.  There are reasons which I had in mind that kept me from moving in that direction, and in the end I think that they were completely worthwhile.  But it is not because I am not a political-minded person, nor is it that I find no connection between faith and politics.  On the contrary, I affirm both.

But what disturbed me the most in the biblioblogosphere was the constant conversation of presidential politics, using theological ground to make divisive statements regarding policy.  Throughout the past year I have rolled my eyes countless times to hear some new endorsement or rambling on a site which is supposed to be theological in nature.  Whether it was the emergent flavor-of-the-month now endorsing a candidate or a biblical scholar sadly and lamely defending global warming based solely on anecdotal evidence, it became clear that those who blog about faith and politics have a difficult time keeping up with both.

This is not to say that everyone doesn't have the right to their own opinion and voice (especially on their own piece of virtual real estate), but that it calls into question one's ability to think critically and without bias.  But there are two fronts which I wish to address specifically: 1) In the grand scheme blogs contribute nothing to the swaying of public opinion, so there is nothing to be gained by making politically-charged statements than division among the body.  To think that bibliobloggers have some grand sway is to take ourselves way too seriously in what we do.  There is definite value to this group of folks, but not in that arena.  2) The social gospel is overemphasizing social to the detriment of gospel.  This is more confined to the emergent bibliobloggers who have reasoned through many choices based upon theological reasonings which do not account for a full understanding of the gospel as it comes through the Messiah Jesus.  There can be no other reason why we think that our work is so important, even when the kingdom's message is not attached to it.  This is a problem.

What I think we have seen happen is a sub-culture which reacted against the Religious Right (in most cases, rightly so), by lecturing everyone on how faith and politics do not fit.  Until we think that this particular guy has the right understanding which fits faith.  In reality this perpetuates the cycle.  There is no more kingdom advancement in this group of elected officials than any other, and it is absurd that we act as though anyone but the Almighty is capable of sustaining or destroying his creation.  But the lack of understanding and reason within the hundreds of biblioblogging discussions have shown that those who have invited the political beast inside didn't really know what they were getting into, nor did they know how to handle it.

In short, if our ability to research and discuss modern politics is any way reflective of how we conduct the work of theology then we should have no credibility left for the work of the church.  Indeed, many do not.

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