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Aug 26, 2006

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Josh

It's this paradox that exists between the left and the right that will probably never really be solved. I know that I feel the tension, as do many Christians who see some of the benefits of the arguments of each side. I can't say that I've read Jim Wallis' "God's Politics", but I have heard him speak. He talked about this very problem. The fact that the left is extreme to the point of self-induced naivity, and the right is maybe even more so. There's a middle ground that many of us feel lost in. The problem is (to which I don't have a solution) finding the voice to represent that middle ground: the place where religion is still able to exist, but with an open mind of change.

Michael Kruse

Josh, the thing I am coming to is that it isn't about being left, right or center. Our politics has become disembodied. We can’t articulate what it means to be human beings in the image of God. We have no sense of the grand story we are living in; the story that stretches from Genesis to the New Jerusalem.

I also think that far too many of us think legalistically instead of dynamically. For instance, we are called to be stewards of creation and fill the earth. It is unmistakable that God has called us to use creation, to “tame it,” and as co-creators with God make it into something more than it is. As I have said elsewhere, the story begins a garden (Eden) and ends in a city (New Jerusalem) not back in a garden. You can’t fill the earth without simultaneously working the earth and making it productive. However, God made all creation and pronounced it good. God used a variety of symbols of nature to fill his temple as recorded in the Old Testament. So we are also to value the beauty and the majesty of the created world. To some degree it is a paradox but it is our mandate.

The right demonizes anyone concerned with environment as “tree-huggers.” The left demonizes those who champion productive uses of resources as despoilers and plunderers. Absent a narrative to evaluate the debate before us I think all too often we just cozy up to the camp that shares our proclivities, rather than doing the hard work of asking what this means to the narrative God is unfolding in history. I think happens very often is each camp has deified one portion of a paradox to the exclusion of another.

My take on many public policy positions would probably place me right of center. However, I try very hard to avoid embracing a position because it is the conservative position (or not embracing because it is liberal) and for that reason I usually eschew calling my self a conservative; being conservative is not my gyroscope. The Word of God and the narrative therein, as learned and interpreted in community, is what I am trying to my gyroscope. I don’t see any other way out of the mess.

Dana Ames

Good answer, Michael.

May I? "askew" means out of alignment or not working properly; "eschew" I think is the word you want.

Dana

Michael Kruse

"May I? "askew" means out of alignment or not working properly; "eschew" I think is the word you want."

I knew that. Just wanted to see if you did. :)

Thanks. It does have an affect on what I was saying. Or was that effect? :)

I don't use either askew or eschew very often and I just used askew (correctly) in something else I was writing today. I could blame it decaying brain cells from old age but I have been doing this sense I first learned to read an write.

Anyway, I do appreciate corrections!

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