Republocrat: a conversation between Gabe and Derek

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Gabe, I've been reading (again) Carl's Republocrat (P&R Publishing) and I'm struck by several things straight out of the gate. First of all, I'm struck by the fact that it is so controversial. Not that I find it controversial, or that most Christians outside the USA will find it so; neither is true. Indeed, Carl's views reflect, more or less, a good many theologically conservative Christians in (say) the UK -- and my guess would be that the number would be the same or greater in Europe. If, for example, you were to conduct a poll (and someone can probably point me to one that has already been done) in which you asked a string of questions on political matters, the results would be (as they say) "all over the map." That is, theologically conservative Christians in the UK would vote across the political spectrum. If Carl will pardon the Welsh illustration (and he won't!), I know many Christians who consistently vote for a nationalist party whose political position on economics and social issues would be far left of center. These same Christians read newspapers that would be centrist or politically to the right. So, my initial observation in reading Republocrat is a confirmation of something I have observed for the past 15 years: for a conservative Christian to express a political/economic/social view that is left of center is viewed as shocking. (Of course, I wonder if that observation is based on my current social and ethnic setting. Are conservative African-American Christians politically on the same page as ... well, you get my drift.)

In the second place, and I'm only reflecting on something Carl writes on the first page, I have been forced to reflect on something in my own life. When I was converted -- and that reminds me that I was publicly accused of not being a real Christian this past weekend because I did not believe in the King James Version! Now, if the ESV was good enough for Paul.... But I digress. When I was converted in 1971 (from a thoroughly pagan background), my initial instinct (or was it the urging of the Holy Spirit) was to ask the Samaritans if they needed volunteers. My point is that being a Christian (at that moment of first love and zeal) brought with it a concern for the poor, disadvantaged and socially outcast -- issues of housing, sanitation, unemployment, hunger. That is to say, my instinct was to align politically with the left. Was that instinct wrong? And if not, where is that concern in our Christianity?

Gabe, I'm off to Moscow (not Idaho, but Russia) next week to find Karl in Red Square. I really am off to Moscow!

Posted October 18, 2010 @ 9:11 PM by Derek Thomas

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