Our current election cycle leaves me prepared to invoke Inigo Montoya. “Political. Pastor, you keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.”
Mixing Politics and Religion?
Many of us have heard it is not a good idea to mix politics and religion. The prompting stems from thinking about politics in terms of platforms. Today these platforms most often represent ideologues and ideologies. We divide into two primary political parties that debate the role of government in the lives of citizens.
The word politics offers much more potential if we hearken back to Aristotle and Plato.
Mixing politics and religion takes a different form if the role religion plays is as a tether to a vision of life together where the aim is for all people to flourish, to experience shalom. Or, in a healthy sense, the Way of Jesus informs the systems and structures that provide for an environment where people flourish.
Beauty Gets Us Out of the Cul-de-sac?
Few would argue we have witnessed the collapse of modernity. The long hoped for sense of progress suffered the set backs of world wars and ethnic cleansing. Human beings appeared to get more lethal in their tribal tendencies.
Think about tribes as those living in a cul-de-sac. Isolation and exclusion become unintended consequences with the discovery of a new historical narrative, genealogy. Rather than a sense the common good, of equitable human flourishing, we end up with competing narratives that collapse difference into walls of separation.
Human beings need something the rises above the ideological border wars.
Enter beauty. What if an aesthetic helps us to see the possibilities of human flourishing? We are not talking about admiring a painting or enjoying good music. Beauty might be the consequence when the other is valued for their humanity and we recognize our interdependence and interrelatedness. We might be helped if we understood when one suffers we all suffer.
Political Theology? What Is It?
Today on the podcast I am glad to share a conversation with Bill Walker III. We take a broad look at political theology, defining important terms, consider where to look for resources for the shift away from Christendom and how an aesthetics, beauty, may provide a way beyond the collapse of communication inherent in the paralysis of competing narratives.
You will find more of Bill’s writing at his website: wawalker.com.
Follow him on Twitter: bwalkeriii
Read him at: Missio Alliance
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