I’m going to play the prophet for a minute. In the very near future you will hear your Sunday morning pastors talking more and more about God as a person and less and less about the ideas about God. “Wait,” you say, “they’re already doing that …? They’ve been doing that for years!”
Okay, so I guess I’d be a better prophet if a prophet meant telling what is already happening, which I can do for you. A prophet that tells the future is scary, and a prophet who tells the past is, well, redundant, so bear with me. Modernity arguably had it’s start with Descartes’ “I think therefore I am.” Even hundreds of years later, this little “foundation” is still creating trends today … notice the emphasis on “I” and “think” and the “I am” identity. Along with philosophical historian beast Robert Solomon, I’ll argue that this little statement has created one of the irrefutable foundations Western culture is built on, spawning individualism and molding the materialistic Western mindset. It has helped created the Enlightenment, survived Romanticism, aided existentialism and eventually birthed modernism.
For the sake of this short article, I’ll be simplistic and reductionistic by defining modernism as the belief that truth = fact. This was originally fought against by Christianity, but was eventually amalgamated by liberalism, rejected by fundamentalism and finally defended by evangelicalism. So that a couple decades ago, conservative evangelicals had a list of ideas you had to believe in order to become a Christian. Mind you, it was accepting ideas that made you a Christian, and not, as we hear today, relationship with God that made you a Christian.
Yes, it’s true. God isn’t primarily an idea, but a person. He isn’t an object, but a subject, who is concerned with relationships. The truth in Christianity isn’t even the Bible for Jesus said, “I am the way …” you know the rest. And this new movement, although in ecclesiology, tends toward (I can’t say the movement on blogger), in theology it’s being called post-conservative / post-liberal because both conservative and liberal sides are recognizing that they were fighting on a field (modernism) that isn’t even a Christian field.
How does this all apply to politics? Well, this is where I can play the prophet. Few people have connected this to politics … well some have. Let me ask this question, “If a Christian’s main concern is not idea but personal relationships, would he or she be more likely to get involved with political platforms or people?” I’ve set up the answer to this question, so it should be pretty easy. Many Christians may be post-conservative / post-liberal in their theology (that is relationship oriented), but few have translated this to their politics.
As I have said before, the fact that Christians are often more concerned with national politics than local affairs is telling of their misplaced agenda and still modern mindset. Many Christians are more willing to talk about policies they can’t effect instead of reaching out and touching people they can. I guess Christians are more comfortable with defending ideas than they are people, and in this respect they are still trudging the modern paradigm.
What I’m promoting here is not a blend of conservativism and liberalism; what I’m promoting is a redefinition of politics from the platform base politics to the defense of people politics … away from ideas and towards local action. What I’m promoting is less national and more local (sound conservative to you?).
If you want to solve problems, sure, get involved in national politics, but not at the expense of the local / meeting people where they are at, helping the community poor, giving support to the mother who’s thinking about abortion by taking her into your home, by adopting local, by getting a job closer to home, by getting involved in your school board, by seeing your work as a mission field, by prayer walking through your town, by standing up for the sexually abused, by being involved enough in your community to even know who the sexually abused are, by running for a local political position … by preaching the Gospel, by being Jesus (does this all sound liberal?).
See, when we focus on the local people … on being Jesus in your community, you may find yourself disassociating with a straight-ticket platform and associating with the broken heart of God, which will often cross (no pun intended) political lines.