emerging politics

Emerging Politics

For a long time, I have been reassessing my political beliefs. Aaron challenged me a while back to develop a political approach that mirrored the emerging church. My reassessing predates that challenge, but ever since that challenge, it has been running around in my head more frequently. Additionally, the results (so far) of the 2008 political campaign have given me a chance to reassess things since I am for the first time in my life an “undecided.” I thought originally that I would wait until I had some answers to share before I blogged about it, but I have decided instead to start a conversation. So, I’m going to just start talking about what I’m thinking about without any answers in sight. I hope you’ll join me on the journey.

About 5-6 years ago, I went through a process of reassessing my theological beliefs, which ultimately led to the existence of Vintage Fellowship. That was an interesting process for me because I feel like it led me to a very unusual place, like a theologian without a home. Much of what I grew up with and was taught in college or wrote in my ordination paper, I continue to affirm. As has been documented here, for instance, I remain a Calvinist, needing to believe in a big God. But other things have been abandoned. For instance, I am no longer a Baptist. Additionally, I have adopted an approach to theology that is far less certain and, in my estimation, far more humble and hopeful. I don’t claim to know all the answers. I try not to demonize those who disagree with me. And I am willing to ask a lot of questions, even questions about things that others in my more theologically conservative past would deem unquestionable.

Politically speaking, I think I am moving in a similar direction. Like I am skeptical of the ecclesiastical structures of the established church (I really like the term “postdenominational”), so too, I am skeptical of the partisan structures of the political establishment (“postpartisan”?). While I remain a Conservative, needing to believe in a small government, I am questioning whether I will remain a Republican. I have come to reject the certitude of the God-and-Country patriotism of the Religious Right. I am also refusing to demonize those who have a different political philosophy than me. And … I am asking myself a lot of questions, questions that I will post in an upcoming blog entry.

Ultimately, I think I can say with some degree of confidence that this political evolution on my part is initially one of attitude. (This is similar, again, to the theological process I went through). The evolution of particular beliefs and approaches will come in time as fruit of a more humble, more honest, and more hopeful perspective.

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