24 January 2013
not quite post evangelical
With all of the fervor around the latest presidential election, there has been no shortage of voices speaking for what the "Christian" message, or value system, really ought to be. There are those on the left and those on the right who equally appeal to the same sacred text for their opposing political positions. I do the same, of course, even though I have always done my very best to be unified in faith above socio-political definitions. That is becoming even harder in these days, mostly because the silent civil war is leaving no stone unturned, and there is an increasing secularization to our culture as a whole, often pushing self-identified Christians into the belief that faith must be left at the socio-political door. (So much for the 'everything-is-spiritual' crowd, it appears that many have emerged all the way into the everything-is-spiritual-unless-it-doesn't-fit-my-narrative group.)
I am finding myself doing a great deal of leaving these days, for I want my identification to reflect my commitment. I do not consider myself a Republican, for the values which are displayed by this party are not representative of my own values ... and they are the ones who have shifted. The same is becoming increasingly true of my level of comfort of being associated with Evangelicals. Although there remain many good evangelicals (much, much more than good Republicans), there is a statist shift which is working its way in to the movement. Whenever evangelicals offer political support for those who seek to advance the murder of unborn babies, I do not consider this a minor difference of public policy, but a distinct break from the conviction that life is a sacred gift from our Creator. I will not follow that line of thinking.
There was a time, not too long ago, when love for this country was viewed as compatible with our Christian faith. It was not a perfect marriage ... in fact, there is no perfect marriage between our faith and our fallenness while we work and live on this side of eternity.
Evangelicalism is fighting the same battle of elitism which has overrun so much of our culture, and we must not become dismissive of it. There is a great deal of hypocrisy by those in the evangelical world, for we believe ourselves to be enlightened to great spiritual truths while simultaneously being duped by facts that do not exist in the socio-political realm. For example, many evangelicals have accepted global warming as a truth, though there is no science to support such claims (clarification: there is no science which hasn't been proven to be a hoax to support such claims). So, there is a belief that we can "save the world" with specialized light bulbs which supposedly exists alongside the belief that God created this world and is sovereign over it all. We witness this while the truth of the matter is that global warming, as a political agenda, has created much economic hardships on developing nations - the same cultures which the Book of James tells us that we should be edifying.
Many evangelicals openly supported President Obama's reelection, even though he has a record which devalues life, has been proven to lie to the American people for purposes of manipulation, and who has a disdain for many of whom he seeks to govern. (And before anyone regurgitates the crap about all presidents lying, let us remember that in true biblical ethics there is a right and a wrong regardless of the actions of others ... And, I am not here defending any president or candidate.) What is most disturbing is the amount of times I saw those who preach about Jesus not being a part of politics openly use Christian imagery to support the leftist agenda. I am convinced that those Christians who openly support the agenda of Progressivism have their heads buried in the sand, either politically or biblically ... or both.
So, what is my point here? Our evangelicalism is full of holes and contradictions. I don't know how long it has been this way, but it is clear that we are quite messy. How we fill these holes will say much about what we truly believe and how we reason the Scriptures together. Some who read this will undoubtedly see my own failures, while others will find support. I am politically and biblically conservative, and I wonder how much longer it will be before both of these become a rare breed in our culture. It is not so much that I want to have yet another political debate. Rather, I wish to have a biblical discussion - a truly biblical discussion ... one that has the teeth to grab hold of real life and allow the gospel and the kingdom to make a powerful difference in a world with very real problems.
I wonder if that is still possible in an age of such polarized position.