Monday, May 12, 2008

Is the end of right-wing political co-optation of this branch of Christ's church in sight?

HOT OFF THE PRESS. I recently received a link to a new 20-page "Evangelical Manifesto" that purports to be an important realignment of Evangelicals in relationship to public policy and deliberation in the public arena. It was published and put online on May 7, inviting co-signers and comment.

READ AND REFLECT. I invite anyone reading Bikehiker blog to access it, read it, and respond to it here. I am reading it today, as well as the 29-page study guide that is a companion to it. I will publish my responses and questions in the "Comments" below when I've had a chance to digest and contemplate the document. I invite you to do the same.

CAN "EVANGELICAL" BE REDEEMED? You must know that I was so dismayed by the blantant and willing co-optation of Evangelicals by/to the Republican Party in recent national elections that I stopped referring to myself as an evangelical. I do not identify with the public statements and policy positions pushed by the leading Evangelical proponents and voices. I simply cannot reconcile their statements, political alignments, agendas, or specific policy positions with the overwhelming witness of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.

IS IT A BIG ENOUGH TENT? So, I am interested in what the steering committee of this "Evangelical Manifesto" has to say. I will be particularly interested if their perspective is inclusive of a Wesleyan-holiness ethic and compatible with my tradition's milieu. I can only hope the statement can go some way to helping those of us who think, believe and act evangelically (small "e" intended) to reclaim or redeem the term/identifier Evangelical (capital "E" intended) once again.

Again, here is the link to An Evangelical Manifesto.

1 comment:

  1. I've now read the Evangelical Manifesto...with appreciation.

    Briefly, here are some things that I appreciate about its content and emphasis:

    1. It charts a path that distinguishes Evangelical belief and perspective from Fundamentalism.

    2. It advocates for an end to fighting "culture wars" both in terms of their current content and current "my way or the highway" manner/approach. Evangelical faith is not a club with which to beat others into submission or out of "our" territory.

    3. It advocates for a "civil public square" over against extremes of a "sacred public square" or a "naked public square."

    4. It includes a litany of confession of Evangelical and Evangelical's sins, calling for recongition of wrongs and for renewal within Evangelical circles, among Evangelical believers, and within each Evangelical.

    5. It seeks to restore Evangelical to a theologically-described attribution instead of a politically or socially labeled attribution.

    6. Its tone and spirit is neither triumphalist nor condescending. It seems to me to articulate many of my concerns about Evangelicals and the challenges Evangelicals face in a caring and careful manner.

    7. It is firm, even stern, in its repudiation of right-wing partisan articulation and advocation within Evangelicalism.

    8. At the same time, it seems to me to be something of an olive branch extended both to factions within and among Evangelicals, as well as to the public, the news media, academia, partisan politicians, government leaders, and those of other faiths.

    9. It is as concise as it likely could be, but it is not brief. It will therefore not likely be widely read in full, whichi is unfortunate. But all who will take the time to read it will find in it both clarifying and inspiring substance for contemplation, deliberation, and action.


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