Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Kingdom Calling

There's a new movement afoot among evangelical Christians. Anti-gay? Not really. Pro-war? Certainly not. Brimstone and hellfire? Seem to have moved beyond that...

From Revolution in Jesusland:

Right after the 2004 elections, a cynical map made the rounds of progressives’ inboxes everywhere, separating “Jesusland” from the “United States of Canada.” Several other self-righteous riffs followed.

The image was a hit because it expressed a sinking feeling in the hearts of many progressives that America had been taken over by an incomprehensible cult of ignorance, intolerance and hate—a cult they knew as “evangelical” or “born again” Christianity.

Most secular progressives are comfortable with mainline liberal Christianity. But when it comes to evangelicals, many can only think of anti-gay ballot initiatives, clinic bombers, street preachers with megaphones and corrupt televangelists. And they tend to be confused and disturbed by a movement that reads the Bible “literally” as the “inerrant word of God.”

This blog is a plea to the progressive movement, to take another look and get to know the diverse and complex world of evangelical Christianity in its own terms. Here you’ll find interviews, commentary, analysis and other dispatches from all over “Jesusland.” This tour will explore everything from the workings of the local church, to the evangelicals’ vibrant, decentralized national leadership training infrastructure to theological questions such as, “How in the world DO they read the Bible literally?” and “Do they really think I’m going to hell?”

There are two really big reasons to come along on this tour:

First, progressives will never achieve their goals as long as they are hostile toward and ignorant about the faith of 100 million of their own people who are born again Christians.

Second (and we know how difficult this is to believe) there is an incredibly large and beautiful social movement exploding among evangelicals right now that stands for nearly all of the same causes and goals that secular progressives do. Those goals include: eliminating poverty, saving the environment, promoting justice and equality along racial, gender and class lines and for immigrants—and even separation of church and state.

This brilliant new movement is multi-faceted, including the New Monastics, co-operative enthusiasts, Christian anarchists, and Creation-care evangelicals (environmentalists).

If you are feeling depressed about the state of politics today, spend a little time researching this movement... it can offer a bummed-out progressive a great deal of hope.

Currently Reading:

  • Citizen Hobo: How a Century of Homelessness Shaped America - Todd Depastino

Recently Finished Reading:

  • Blink - Malcolm Gladwell
  • The Tipping Point - Malcolm Gladwell
  • Utopia of Usurers - GK Chesterton
  • Orthodoxy - GK Chesterton