Monday, June 04, 2012


Rejection or Democracy?

Brian McLaren links to the NYTimes on "the lack of Evangelical Reason" and quotes a friend on "social justice":
... evangelicals don't just need to repent for their neglect of the mind, but also their neglect of the heart (silence on a broad range of social justice issues, here and abroad). For example, there hasn't been much of an outcry among mainstream evangelical leaders on income inequality and job loss in the U.S., or when one of our Drone fired hellcat missles happens to kill an innocent child while targeting a terrorist.
Just a few thoughts here.

First, using a discussion on Evangelical intellectualism, or lack thereof, to make a point on social justice is part of the problem with the lack of Evangelical intellectualism. It's a non-sequitor, just an excuse to punch an agenda button instead of honest intellectual engagement with the issue at hand. It is the precise crime the NYTimes is accusing the conservatives of - OOPS!

Second point - "Evangelicalism" has lost its meaning. In the quote McLaren presents the NYTimes moves between "evangelicalism" and "fundamentalism" as if they were indistinguishable, which they most certainly are not. Evangelicalism is a broad spectrum and we have to do better at letting people see the entire breadth.

Finally, Evangelicalism is the most egalitarian of Christian movements. I do not mean that in the sense of gender ordination, or stuff like that. I mean that int eh sense that a) lmost anybody can self identify as an "Evangelical," 2) At this point in time, the term means, if it means anything - the American Church, and 3) There are no gatekeeping institutions in Evangelicalism. This last point means, among other things, that anyone of any education, or lack of education, can hang out a shingle and call themselves a "Pastor" or "Bishop" or whatever the heck else they want to call themselves.

This means a lot of people "speak for Evangelicalism," that do not know their butts from a hole in the ground. It is not hard to find "unreasonable" people to interview in such circumstances.

Evangelicalism has problems to be sure. They just may not be where the NYTimes thinks they are.

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