Friday, June 04, 2010

Good Questions

I need to read James Davidson Hunter's To Change The World... but until I get the chance, James Emery White has done a bang-up job of summarizing the questions raised & the potential problems in this important work with his blog post, Questions On How To Change the World. Read the post & follow the links for deeper discussion of the issues raised.
Hunter saves his most scathing critique for the use of power through politics, which he finds in almost every approach to cultural engagement currently being offered in American Christianity. All, he maintains, are marked by “ressentiment,” a French word that includes our American idea of “resentment,” but also involves anger, envy, hate, rage, and revenge as the motive of political action. “Ressentiment,” writes Hunter, “is grounded in a narrative of injury or, at least, perceived injury; a strong belief that one has been or is being wronged” (p. 107).

Christians, Hunter maintains, have given themselves over to this. We’ve politicized our faith, and stake out our positions in ideological terms. This is as true of the Christian Right as the Christian Left, marking Jim Dobson as much as Jim Wallis. All have reduced the public witness of the church to a political witness (p. 169).

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