Christian Models of Political Engagement

I’ve been thinking this morning of the different Models and Schools of thought in Christian political engagement most prevalent here in the United States. What prompted this? I found this weird book sometime ago edited by the Christian Reconstructionist Gary North. Peering through it made me think of the different Models I’ve encountered:

The Radical Critique of Politics:

1. Anabaptist: Get out/Stay out, the Church is its own polis.
2. Christian Anarchist: learn about the system, monitor your involvement, stay on the side of the humans, subvert the system.

Reconstructionist: form a Christian Shadow Government, frame society using Calvin’s Geneva model. (Don’t worry about how that turned out.)

The Christian Left: Vote Democrat, reframe liberal values, use societal liberal values to your advantage.

The Christian Right: Remember society back in the 1950s? We like that. Vote Republican, frame all political discussions in terms of morality. Abortion, Gay Rights, Christians as a persecuted minority. Get political power, don’t ask where it came from. Use money, wealth, the media, and all societal growth and change to get power and keep it.

None of these models work monolithicly. We could say that the Christian Left swallowed much of the radical critique qualities and uses them and that the Christian Right swallowed much of Reconstructionism. What seems to be true of all these groups is their loud pleas for attention. The Polis (the political order) must either be steered or abandoned. To me the thousand pound elephant in the room is that we can’t do either one completely. Theories are one thing, living by them makes it all so messy. Love it or hate it, we humans live on this here planet earth. One thing I haven’t seen the radical critiquers do is publicly burn their citizenship records and passports. Neither have I ever seen a Christian politician use their office to force conversions of all their constituents. Get what I’m saying? While it is true that no Christian faith can remain free of politics, neither can we ever claim we possess THE Christian politik. Well, people do claim to do both all the time, but don’t believe them.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Christian Models of Political Engagement

  1. But burning my birth certificate would be a political act, aimed at influencing the USian nation! If I’m only a visitor from the Kingdom, then what am I doing messing in local politics this way?!

    (Actually I’m out on the corner (just about) every Tuesday with a great big ‘Bring the troops home now!’ sign. God wants me to do it, I think. Or maybe I just can’t entirely stop asking for mercy for some of the victims, at least. (“Why does a mouse scream when a cat grabs it?” scientists wonder. “What’s in it for the mouse?”) So much for consistency!)

    What was Jacques just saying about trying to find “solutions” for human problems via following a system?

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