Monday, July 01, 2019

The Christian Left

I appreciate the sentiments. I agree with almost all of them.  But I don’t like the label.

I am not a part of the “Christian Left.” I am a Christian. If THAT term offends you, and I can well believe it might in these deeply divided and heretical times, then I’m okay with “Jesus Follower” too. But I’m not a part of the left in terms of adhering to a particular political ideology. I believe that I stand in a long theological tradition that encompasses most mainline Christian Protestant denominations, much of the Catholic Church, and many evangelical Christian churches before, say, 1980 or so. You can look it up if you don’t believe me. “Evangelical” in 2019 looks very little like “Evangelical” in 1979.

The problem with the political label is that it assumes a frame of reference, a worldview, that is wildly inaccurate. That’s not to say that there is not overlap between the American political left and my theology, which is formed by some 45 years of trying to suss out just how all this Jesus stuff, circa AD 30,  is meant to play out in God’s Own U.S. of A, circa 2019. But the sources and inspirations – Jesus and political platforms - are not equal, and the emphases are very different. As a Christian, some of my beliefs are shared with the American political left and some of my beliefs are shared with the American political right. This is axiomatic, as far as I’m concerned, because neither major American party comes close to representing the concerns and issues that were most important to Jesus, and as a Christian I try to take my cues from Jesus.

That is also not to suggest that I think both major American political parties are equally Jesus-y and equally non-Jesus-y. I don’t believe that. Can you guess where I might land on that? But that’s part of the sussing process. I do the best I can. In any event, I am a Christian. Full stop. No other label appendage needed or wanted.

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