I’m a recent addition to the S&R line-up since my first guest appearance at the DNC, and I hope I can run with these clever, yappy dogs. I’ve been worried that I’m not enough of a pitbull – unlike Sam, whose ‘reality check’ radar functions more forcefully than mine, or Brian, whose critical slant isn’t compromised by pesky emotions. I, on the other hand, found myself inspired by the multitude of earnest political conversations buzzing around Denver last week (even while ABC reporters were getting arrested trying to unveil connections between lobbyists, big money and Dem lawmakers), and moved deeply while listening to Barack Obama energize 80,000 people inside Denver’s football stadium last Thursday night.
I felt like I’d been to church. Not my sedate Presbyterian church, though — more of an old-fashioned revival meeting where the spirit was unleashed and something transcendent was uplifting everyone in its presence. Nobody was racing for the doors as Obama wrapped it up; everyone seemed to want to just stay and bask in the love. Sam said I was seduced by “political theater,” and maybe I was. But I like to think my intuition is sharp enough to know when something is authentic – in this case, the candidate and his vision for America – versus when I’ve been charmed or had.
Despite my disclaimer in my initial post that I may smack of being a bit of a Pollyanna, I’m not stupid, and I have a well-tuned bullshit detector. I just make the existential choice that hope is worthwhile, faith is warranted, and progress is possible, though the human condition never seems to move more than one step forward for every one step back. I guess that’s why, as a Christian, I cherish the doctrine of grace – we continually and irrevocably screw up, but we are loved and forgiven and given a two-millionth chance anyway. And sometimes we get it right.
WAIT, you say: Did she say Christian? Huh?! Isn’t Scholars and Rogues basically a liberal blog (albeit with some cantankerous iconoclasm to challenge easy labels)? And didn’t she just write a feisty piece criticizing the hypocrisy of the religious right who are cheerleading for stressed working mom/VP candidate Sarah Palin?
Yup, that’s me. That’s why I like the “Rogues” part of this blog’s name. I’ve got the academic cred to earn the “Scholars” part of the label, but you’ll see that I’m as much a rogue as I am any Pollyanna. Along with Jim Wallis, I would counter that the answer to the religious right is not creating a powerful religious left, but a moral center – and that doesn’t mean “mushy middle.” (And isn’t it a commentary on our society when moderate views can be deemed ‘roguish’?) Along with that, however, I would also argue that “liberal Christian” is not an oxymoron. I’m here to stir a few ideas up that my colleagues might not anticipate or agree with. But they invited me, and if they are going to be true to their name, then let’s test the definition a bit. My goal is that what I write may be more thought-provoking than predictable.
On that note, check back soon for a future post in which I’ll argue that it’s important to look at the grisly images on the signs carried by abortion protesters at the DNC – even though I detest the hostility that most of the protesters display, and am confounded at their refusal to recognize any moral complexity in this most divisive of issues. Stay tuned…