#333333">I think that I am perhaps putting a dog in this (political) fight because I have been depressed and disappointed with the church in my life these past couple of years to an extent unmatched in my lifetime. The fact that I have been reading the Hauerwas’ and Fitch’s and JKA Smiths has only heightened the sense of contrast between what the church should be and what it seems to me to be right now. There is scarcely any sign of an offering of a different kind of community that differs in any significant measure.
#333333">So I have been catching a little bit of the “Obamania” , but like some have been discussing (see Charlie Pardueâ€™s post and David Fitchâ€™s post and the comments) , that the “change” is being located so thoroughly in the secular political arena is cause for pause in a theological sense.
#333333">I am reminded of the sports commercials that quote several ball players saying “I live for this” , referring to some dramatic victory in a big championship showdown. I have always been a little turned off by that, despite being the big sports nut that I am. You “live” for this? This is the ultimate purpose of your life? “Of course not” most of them would say, and I say “so why say it that way?” In a similar way, is what Obama offers really “change we can believe in”. I feel a little protective of “believe”. I know what is meant outside of the church, in arenas like American politics, that it is not the kind of belief we talk about in the church. But is it really entirely experienced in the lives of Americans as all that different? Is there not the sense of “I live for this” in the “promise of America” and “The American dream” ?
#333333">But I am at a low point in my enthusiasm and sense of tangible excitement for the church today. Notice I don’t use the phrase “hope for the church”. I believe I still have hope, but it is not “feeling” alive in the sense of a positive, energizing, aliveness. I can’t say “I live for this”, because there’s no “this” there. There’s nothing I have been able to find that comes anywhere close to being able to be described as a “polis” or a “politic” being lived out by a church.The “Progressive” churches are no better at living as a formative, radically different kind of “society”. They are events where there is talk of “supporting this or that” and “reaching out” , but in the end we all leave and “go our separate ways”, and I mean separate. There is ZERO sense of this community being any kind of a center for our lives. ZERO! This is blasphemous for the church. So even the progressive , “critical of America” churches are practical nationalists. we talk abut what is wrong with Americanism but still talk about “The American dream”, or even if we don’t like that phrase (which I don’t), we still live in it with not much resistance, if at all.
#333333">I think this is going to be a series of posts. I’m feeling some rants coming on.