12 thoughts on “MOY Friday Extra: Red States and Blue States”

  1. There’s an extraneous S on that “needs” isn’t there?

    I’m think it should be: “need is:”

  2. I’ve been reading SFL for a long time and I had no idea that you felt the way about “Liberals” that I did about many Republicans. Good job keeping your politics out of your non-politics blog.

  3. Dear Darrell:

    Today, I tip my hat to you. Complex and deeply malignant, this matter needs ongoing discussion. That you have raised it at all reveals that your character is honorable. I need to sleep on this and listen several more times while following the transcript [which I downloaded] before I could begin to piece together a helpful response. That said, a few broad, preliminary observations. Sorry in advance if I give the page a hernia, or if this isn’t the appropriate place for such a discussion.

    1. As a democratic socialist, I hear these ‘socialist President’ and ‘bane of America’ screeds as an outsider listening in on an ‘in-house argument’ between two bourgeois parties, both of which are 100% committed to the 1%. Neither party is committed to economic revolution [which is my domain!]. As I see it, under a Democratic or Republican administration, precious little changes in terms of productive relations between the ownership/banking/investing class and working class America. I find myself wondering, ‘why the ruckus’ since in my perspective, they differ in terms of which bourgeois class interests they represent.

    2. As a Christian, I am profoundly distressed by what these dynamics mean. As the audio file shows, the church has received the divisions of a broken world and overlaid them on the theology of the cross. The result is to break the theology of the cross so that Christ cannot be proclaimed. We are instead led to believe that we must proclaim a ‘Christ’ who is strangely alike a free-market fundamentalist, or a 5 star General. Or Christ is presented as a community worker and ethicist who bids us follow him in the ways of fair trade, etc. All this is to say that the church has utterly abandoned its identity in Christ and has chosen to align itself with the Christ who calls us all to kingdom service – Libertarian, Republican, Democrat or Socialist.

    3. I have had people reject and turn on me because I am a Christian who happens also to be a socialist. But so far as I know, I have not shut out them; my door is open should they be inclined to return, and they know this. My best buddy and his wife meet with my wife and I every week for fellowship and study. He has seen my Socialist Party membership card. I know he carries an NRA membership card. We love the Lord, and we study his word. We read Lesslie Newbigin, William Stringfellow, N.T. Wright, Moultmann, Richard Bauckham and others. On social, economic and political issues, we affirm both the ‘conservative’ [so-called] talking point of individual responsibility, but also the ‘socialist’ vision of social responsibility. This shouldn’t be hard to see. The prophets addressed cities [nation-societies] with messages of judgment and/or salvation. Surely Biblical fidelity requires us to affirm BOTH individual and corporate responsibility, while recognizing that Jesus is free to call us to serve him as Libertarians, Republicrats or Socialists.

    4. In context of discussion of Mr. O’Brien, Lee Quandt referenced the word, ‘cult.’ Without arguing for or against that idea, the insight should call us to recall salient features of any worldview. Worldviews define the world in which we live. They explain what has gone wrong. They envision where we want to go. They define the program we are to follow to get there. If it does these things, it is a religion, whether it is formally organized as such or not. Of course this is challenged in many quarters; it does show us, after all, that religious participation is pretty ubiquitous, even if it is not recognized. On these terms, it should be clear to us that many of the same attitudes and emotions that many SFL readers witnessed in their churches are equally at play in civic life and political discourse. In these things, we see the work of a cultic mind, a mind that does not rest in Christ because it does not trust Christ precisely at that point where it adheres to alternative explanations of where we are, what has gone wrong, where we should be going, and how we are to get there. When answers to the big questions diverge from Scripture, we adhere to derailed religion. We serve a political cult, a cult that is fundamentally idolatrous in nature. Politics is our religion. And much attending language suggests exactly that.

    5. The most distressing thing about this presentation is the failure of the church to recognize and respond prophetically to the reality of satanic power that works around us ceaselessly [Lu 22:31; Ac 26:18; Ro 8:38-39; 1Co 15:50; 2Co 2:11; 4:4; Eph 1:21, 2:2, 6:12ff; Co 2:15; He 2:14; Ja 4:7; 1Pe 5:8]. While ‘deliverance’ ministries have committed countless clear abuses, we err to suppose that there is no legitimate application of these ministries for that reason. Wisdom and great maturity are requisite for pursuing such things. It will help nothing [and certainly not the cause of Christ] to go about leveling at others our accusations of demonic possession. But especially given the cultic/idolatrous nature of our public mind, neither should we rule out this possibility. And we should recall that one of the first stories told by oldest gospel [Mark] is an account of a possessed man attending synagogue on the Sabbath [Mk 1:21-27]. How many years had this man gone to synagogue for Sabbath worship – and his condition never recognized for what it was!

    6. While difficult to contain, Mr. O’Brien behavior ought to have been checked. Especially given his outbursts, one could very justifiably refuse ever to meet with him alone. One can ALWAYS insist that there be at least one witness. Again, the refusal to engage in or to be motivated by violent outbursts [however gratifying it might be to the flesh] puts those who rage in a difficult position. They cannot help but isolate themselves, and the more they rage, the worse they appear. It may be that Mr. O’Brien is an abusive person who is sold out to the Lords of finance and industry. He may be mentally unstable, however restrained he may seem when it suits his purpose. He may be a malignant narcissist, in which case real confrontation not infrequently results in death at the hand of the narcissist. Mr. O’Brien may have substance abuse issues. And again, it is also possible that he may be as the man from Capernaum who, although possessed by an unclean spirit, walked unrecognized among his peers – possibly for many years. Bizarre, abusive or threatening behaviors need not be tolerated. And anyone who gets within an inch or so of another’s face and begins raging, maniacal shouting has given sufficient cause to receive a restraining order. It is never appropriate to attempt to control outcomes through such threatening, abusive or destructive behaviors. Such behaviors more than warrant removal; they demand them. And what would happen if he did this and a representative pulled his legally concealed handgun right between his eyes so that he felt the cold of the steel? We have to face the fact that we simply cannot do things this way.

    7. By adopting and defining themselves by the broken and divisive powers of this age, we have embraced humanistic secularity wholeheartedly. Of this we must repent. We cannot be God’s agent of reconciliation in the world if the body is itself divided. There is a desperate need for reconciliation in the church. It is imperative that Christians begin meeting and praying together and repent of their secular, humanistic meet together. And we must begin the hard work of deep, theological reflection on what is happening around us. We need to assess where we are, what is wrong, where we must go and how we get there; but we must do this strictly from a Kingdom of God perspective that is shaped by the Spirit in the inner-dialogue between the Scriptures. We will need enormous humility to do this. We will be misunderstood and attacked for so doing – precisely because this is what we OUGHT to be doing. Only then can the gospel truly be heard, for only then will the gospel be sufficiently incarnational to be recognized AS the gospel. At the end of the day, we are left with Jo 17:21 – ‘that they may all be one … so that the world may believe that you sent me.’

    8. Having repented of our sins, we must go to our brothers and sisters confessing what we have done. On the strength of that confession, we must plead with them to repent of their sin and to join us doing the theological work necessary to regain a prophetic message to the nation. It is ironic that all those are correct who so often say that unless we return to our ‘Christian’ roots, we will collapse. But they have not discerned how, why or in what sense that is true. This is because they [indeed all of us] have accepted heretical ideologies into the body of Christ. To free ourselves of this error will be painful. But then that is what the Christian life means. We must become the wounds of Christ for the healing of the nation. Being Christian really isn’t about ‘asserting my rights as a Christian.’ But the degree that we can with forgiveness and love [not anger or resentment] absorb in our hands, feet and side suffering and pain of the world, to exactly that degree can we be Jesus Christ to the world, for the salvation of the world.

    Christian Socialist

    1. Dear Sir,

      I always look forward to reading your comments on SFL. Thank you for posting this. This is the first time I have ever printed off a blog comment for further study. You have given me much to consider.

    2. I think I hear echoes of Bonhoeffer and Jacques Ellul here. At any rate, I appreciate your thoughts and the spirit in which they are given.

      I am not sure I can follow you in applying the term religious to worldviews though I see what you are getting at. I see religion as a more specific subset of worldviews and believe one can have and champion a worldview without being religious (at least in the sense that most would undertand the word, and so in the sense that I would use it). Having said that, I am religious and happlily identify as a Christian.

      I am also not sure about the application of the phrase cultic mind to a mind that does not rest in Christ or deralied religion as applyng to those who have diverged from (a certain interpretation of???) scripture. As much as I appreciate Barth, I just can’t go there. It smacks of name-calling and I don’t think those who hold such views would accept that appellation, any more than I would accept any number of appellations that might be sent my way from opposing quarters.

      Finally, I would need more clarification around “satanic powers” before I could say anything about that.

      Still, despite my nit-picking, I enjoyed reading what you wrote, and as a proud Canadian who with a sense of pride lives under universal healthcare, I can gladly affirm our social responsibility as well as our individual responsibility. I also own guns for what it’s worth lol.

    3. CS –

      With all due respect, I do not think that both parties “[are] committed 100% to the 1%”. In point of fact, the left wing of the democratic party has been seeking to ignite class warfare against the 1%. I know, because I am one of the intended targets.

      While I completely agree that we should be able to sit down and have a healthy discourse on the issues, I cannot subsribe to the thought that everyone’s opinions are equally valid. The left seeks equality of outcome, while I only believe in equality of opportunity. I also believe that marginal tax rates are nothing but a compulsory redistribution of income. You might think that is a good thing…I do not. That doesn’t mean that I dislike you (quite the contrary), just that I think you would be wrong in that regard.

      I also find it interesting that the left talks about “civility” but that only applies to the right. As long as you are on the liberal side, you can say the most mean-spirited things, so long as they are directed towards wealthy conservatives. If we are going to be civil, I suggest that we start with the militant left.

      In referring back to one of your replies to a previous post of mine, I think that we must be fraternal (not identical) twins. 😀

      With Kindest Regards,
      Bro Bluto

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