This piece was pointed to by Jim Wallis on the God’s Politics blog.
we need to be much more explicit on this point: from a Christian perspective, the hope of the world is in Jesus Christ, and he has chosen to center this hope in the church he established. Readers of our work should not have to figure out that we believe this by deducing it from our positions. Rather, we should be up front and explicit about it–name our commitment to the church, which is based in our commitment to Jesusâ€™ proclamation of Godâ€™s Good News and to communities that embody it. We should remind folks that we are not a people looking to support a particular political agenda, but rather a people who are trying to figure out the political implications of following Jesus.
Source: Imitatio Christi: Constantinianism of the Left?
I would have liked to have seen a more detailed engagement with these issues by Jim. It focuses in on some questions that have been raised in my mind as to why the Jim Wallis of the last 5 years or so sounds so different from the Jim Wallis of the 80’s. There are some legitimate reasons for concern as to why there’s so much less talk of the church and more about “politics” as opposed to “the politic” represented by the life of the church. I say this as one of Jim’s supporters. I say this as a long time (23 years) Sojourners subscriber and contributor.
More goodies from Chuck’s post:
Progressive politics, centered upon a Christian foundation, creates an agenda that invites the reunion of those two things far too often separated in our contemporary religious world: a vibrant spirituality empowered by Godâ€™s Spirit and a love of neighbor that drive us out in service to those on the margins. When we focus our energy exclusively on the former, we arrive at a Christian faith that deserts our neighbors in favor of inner reflection. When we focus exclusively on the latter, we arrive at a Christian faith that deserts God in favor of material justice. When we intentionally combine the two, we faithfully embody obedience to Jesusâ€™ words that we are to love God with all our being and our neighbors as ourselves. What a winsome witness to the world would follow from a church revitalized along both lines! And, it would overcome the bad experiences so many have had with the church.
The communities to which Christ calls us are centered around the Eucharist–the meal where we celebrate the great mystery of the faith. The community that is the church of Christ is not an â€œadd-onâ€ to the life of faith, but rather its source of formation, energy and empowerment.
Chuck’s post brought quite a few engaging comments. I will begin to pay attention to more of Chuck’s stuff.