Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Evangelicals and the Political Process: A Conversation with Brian McLaren and Richard Land

Believe it or not, Richard Land and Brian McLaren had a cordial conversation! Though its hard to believe, these respective representatives of conservative and progressive evangelicalism spent more than a half-hour on issues of agreement, and in the end, I think the church will be better for having listened to it.

Make no mistake, I'm still no fan of McLaren's theology (though every time I've been around him, he makes it very difficult to dislike him personally), nor do I find myself in unanimous agreement with Land. But through my friend David Phillips, I was made privy to the recorded conversation below, and I was positively challenged by its contents. Given that I'm in the middle of a few posts on political issues such as immigration, I thought this video would serve as a great primer going into the coming election season. Some highlights (with which I strongly agree) were:

-Political parties are, by their very nature, Machiavellian, and thus, only as "good" as they have to be to garner votes and retain power.
-Evangelicals should not be committed to any political party unconditionally, but instead, should demand that political parties committ to evangelical ideals regarding the sanctity of life, traditional family values, poverty, social justice, and religious freedom.
-While "conservatives" and "liberals" can (and should) divide over a number of issues, there are also many issues on which we can (and should) stand shoulder to shoulder.
-Labels (such as conservative/liberal, etc.) can be helpful in identifying positions and vantage points, but too often are used to stereotype and malign individuals.
-Overall, the media is not your friend, regardless of your political or theological persuasion.

Have a look for yourself! The video is about 40 minutes in length, and it really is worth your time, especially if you want to think more deeply on the relationship between evangelical faith and politics.

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