Red-Letter Christians

Interesting list of people here:

Sojourners: Red Letter Christians
We’re convening a new group of Christian communicators who are taking Jesus’ words seriously.
I noticed , of course, Tony Campolo, but also Shane Claiborne, Founder, The Simple Way Community , and also someone new who interested me of late: Amy Sullivan Contributing editor at The Washington Monthly and author of a forthcoming book on religion and the left (due out in 07). Amy had what I thought was a good article on the stir caused by Obama when he talked about “faith and politics”. In the comments after this article at the above address, one commenter says:

All of this posturing about religion on the part of all of these politicians is little more than an effort on their part to triangulate their positions with respect to voters and the voting booths. Dylan was right: “Don’t follow leaders, watch your parking meters.”

As if ANY talk of faith is “posturing”. Where does REAL come in? This paranoia about “theocrat” whenver the “G” word or “F” word (ie God or faith) is brought up is so inane that I can only assume paranoia. Many are too young to remember how Jimmy Carter’s mention of his being a “born again Christian” caused such a sensation. Let’s get real.

This “Red-letter Christians” thing is a step in a direciton which may cause some additional stir, since to bring in the “J” word is for many, I expect, an even more “scary” kind of talk, probably due to the oft times theocratic leanings of the “types” that “talk Jesus”; at least “oft times” in the kind of coverage given to people who “speak of Jesus” in public.

Another commenter had this to say:

Obama’s big idea seems to be to convince people that doubt (i.e. lack of faith) is a virtue. This is not going to attract anybody, as it is totally un-biblical. […] Only the most out-of-touch liberal there is would hear this speech and think this approach is going to move one voter toward the Democrats. This speech is not about outreach, it’s about defensiveness and rationalization.

A rant from the opposite side; one who is critical of the CONTENT of Obama’s “speaking of faith”. Here, the problem is that of the Right attacking the NON-Right; not attacking the LEFT (although this is apparently THIS commenter’s position), but anything that is not properly pious; perhaps “politically pious” in a “politiocally correct” kind of way? Once again, getting it from multiple sides. And besides, the commenter is totally wrong and unaware of how many people are sick of this hubris in the guise of “certainty” and therefore, they claim, “true faith” that many fear. Kind of like “listening to your gut” and confusing that with God.

Doubt = “i.e lack of faith”? A prime example of a distorted view of faith. A prime example of a modern rationalistic overlay onto the idea of faith.


About Theoblogical

I am a Web developer with a background in theology, sociology and communications. I love to read, watch movies, sports, and am looking for authentic church.

2 Replies to “Red-Letter Christians”

  1. Theoblogical Post author

    I agree with all of that; I guess my take on it is that there is an element of doubt tnat has to do with being open to error; or REALIZING that our own appropriation of “God’s word” is perhaps different from what that word is, in reality. Certainly there are things that, if we do not ‘concur’, we are lacking in the faith that would reveal to us the truth of something.


  2. ericisrad

    Speaking Augustinian/neo-Platonic, doubt is a kind of lack of faith, in the same vein of how evil is really a privation of the Good. The problem is when people think that this “lack of faith” is equivalent to “absent of any faith.” This is how I think it gets mistakenly used in modernity. Being “absent of faith” is impossible, because really, doubt is actually the placing of faith commitments elsewhere.

    Take for example:

    Faith: I believe that God exists.

    “Doubt” #1: I doubt that God exists.

    “Doubt” #2: I believe that God does not exist.

    The last two are logically equivalent. I’d highly recommend Trevor Hart’s Faith Thinking for more on this.



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