Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Jim Wallis Speaks on Heartland w/ John Kasich

Nice exposure for Wallis, with the "typical banter" (as Wallis put it). What I want to know is why Kasich thinks that preachers should stay out of politics. Are some voices more legitimate than others? He seems to draw an interesting, somewhat arbitrary line where religion may speak to issues and where it can't.


Hollands Opus said...

Very interesting interview on a number of levels. I think you are right about Kasich, he does want to pick and choose who gets to speak publicly about the critical issues, and so completely leaves out amny excellent voices. That is entirely short sighted and he has acquiesed to the prevailing contemporary assumption that religion cannot be a source of genuine knowlegde.

I must also admit of some suspicion though. Wallis used the buzz words "poor" and "social justice", and the dreaded "global warming" but here again we hear a "biblical" perspective, calling for moral renewal, and not addressing the root problem of sin and the need for redemption. It seems odd to me that one who knows the scripture could come to the conclusion that atheism and theism can find some etheral middle ground, as if such ground exists and all we need is the means to access it.

We will not reach moral consensus on the most pressing issue when a spirit of materialiam, naturalism and other forms of monism steer the discussion.

I would welcome a public discussion of a larger scope, one that confronts the assumptions of the various factions, rather than just the particulars which are often coated with emotionalism and driven by mere sentimentality.

I think Wallis points to the right thing - the scripture. And once again, no one is better at providing for the poor FROM THIER OWN PURSES (and not public redistribution schemes) than Christians.

What do you think Ian et al?
Hollands Opus

mkz said...

I get the feeling that Mr. Wallis just wants everyone to get along. Which would jibe with a liberal theology, not being concerned overmuch with the black and white of Biblical ethics beyond a concensus of opinion, so every one can be happy. Why Mr. Kasich would have a problem with this is an interesting question, considering that everyone playing nice at any cost, seems to be what politics demands today. Were the host addressing an orthodox Christian pastor I could see his conundrum. Applying `religion` in that sense, the practice of politics would become subject to scrutiny under the lens of set ethical standards with definite boundries. This would result in the disasterous consequence of career Washingtonians having to make stands on what is right, not just politically expedient. I can only imagine the trouble Mr.Kasich, and many other politically orientated figures in our country would have trying to make heads or tails of that scenario.

David J said...

Wallis is becoming sort of a folk hero of mine. He has the ability to bring warring factions together. I would certainly welcome any progress on the war, on poverty, the environment, health care, as well as lowering the abortion rate.

We've tried the partisan approach to politics, and it seems to only polarize the country more and more as time goes by. Jim Wallis represents an opportunity for our nation to come together on the crucial matters of our day.

PeaceBang said...

Since when is "poor" a buzzword? Does that mean Jesus was trendy? I suppose he should have stayed out of politics, too, come to think of it.

As far as the radical notion that people need to all get along whether or not they've accepted Jesus Christ as their personal lord and savior -- is that so much what liberal politics demands, or perhaps the survival of the human species and the planet Earth?

mkz said...

Hello, Mrs. Peacebang.

The survival of the human species and this planet earth has already been determined. We will be saved in Jesus Christ, or judged by The Father, and this world will burn with fervent heat and be replaced with a New Earth, under a New Heaven.
We are called to be pilgrims and sojourners here only, to witnesses of The Christ to this world, not compromise the Word of God so people can feel comfortable while living in sin before The Lord. I fear the only people who feel it necessary to edit the Word of God for the comfort of others, are those who do not understand The Promise of Salvation in Jesus Christ, or would deny it to them.

Ian said...

HO, how might Wallis address the issues he reminds us that scripture calls us to attend to without the language of "buzz words"? The problems only arise when we stop listening to others after we hear the "buzz word" assuming we know the whole argument and all the related topics that constellate with the issue being discussed. Breaking that stranglehold on the cultural debate is part of what Wallis is attempting to do.

I must respectfully disagree with you that theists and non-theists cannot find common ground. I agree with Wallis that religion doesn't have a monopoly on morality. Non-religious folks are perfectly capable of desiring the common good. In regards to ethical decision-making in the public square, everyone brings something different, but not always or necessarily antithetical.

Your point about various monisms requires some unpacking. If you are implying that people are driven by singly-focused philosophies then I think you are either overestimating the amount of analytical thinking the average person does, or over-simplifying most people's motivations.

Finally, I wish that your statement about Christian generosity were true. The great Calvinist Jonathon Edwards argued that human depravity made compulsory giving necessary and thus supported taxation in order to provide for social welfare.

Hollands Opus said...

I think that gentlemen like Wallis may certainly use scripture to call people to God's priorities. But to do so outside of a call to repentance and reconciliation through the body of Christ is to tear asunder that which should not be torn asunder.

By monism, I mean that Wallis is making comment that while (hopefully) grounded in theism, is addressed to the larger society that has institutionalized materialism, or naturalism - a closed system without access to genuine moral knowledge that comes from God. His message will fall on deaf ears if he does not address relativism and secularism. Those thought systems either exclude God, or attempt to syncretise thought systems that are clearly contradictory.

By lack of common ground, I mean to imply that we cannot satisfy the need for mutually agreed to “grounding” ideology from whence our practical address of the problems may proceed. Regarding the same you wrote “assuming we know the whole argument and all the related topics that constellate with the issue being discussed.” That is a tremendous sentence – it speaks to the very thing I am bringing up except that you said it much better. It seems to me that this is precisely what people do when they accuse Christians of not providing for the poor and the environment. It is not as though the accusation is done in a spirit of cooperation, it more typically an assault seeking to evoke some false sense of guilt. And I must insist that this is obvious. “The poor” is a good example. I find it remarkable that our current redistribution (theft) system is what it is today, a system which makes the “poor” a morally forthright status and the rich an immoral one. In other words, the rich wouldn’t be rich if they had not taken from the poor. Violence, crime and promiscuity are not sins, they are caused by poverty and the poor are victims rather than sinners when they do these things. Hence, they need to be rescued, but in the process they must also be kept in “rescuable” mode, so that they remain dependent on the parasites that continue to garner votes from those they are feeding off if.

If we are to have a discussion then let society have at it. We need more Enron type criminal execs going to jail, and we need more Bill Cosby types. We need to be able to weed out those abusing the system so that we can meet the needs of the genuine poor, dollar for dollar; and not feed bloated bureaucracies that take a dollar from charlie, out $.50 cents into the delivery system, $.25 cents for themselves and a measly $.25 to the poor.

I absolutely think that people are driven by motivated by singular philosophies and I have no problem with that. The problem arises when the erroneous assumptions of naturalistic philosophy are tethered to policy, and theistic objections are ruled out of order simply because they are theistic. We need to address the assumptions, and I think that is what you and I can agree to do. I do not want to silence Wallis, I want him to compass about the entire range of issues which include sexual immorality, envy, and the reigning paradigm that teaches our young children that we are the biological products of chance and natural selection. For one cannot espouse that view on the one hand and then lambaste people the selfish Enon exec or sexual deviant – for perhaps nature selected those genes over the others, in which case not amount of “reasoning together” will help things.

Thank you for your patience in working through this with me.

Hollands Opus

mkz said...

Wow OP, what a gem of reason. I feel that all to often theism is set at the kid`s table when the important issues of culture are adressed by the `adults` of society. Certainly Ian, the unsaved are capable of desiring the`common good`. Yet whithout Saving Grace and Faith in God that desire is ultimately based on one`s own intrests, and concern for self regardless of how altruistic they may seem. It pains me, that we continue to tear the nails and bloody the fingers, digging through the rock and sand of secular landscapes, in a desperate search for small and unsatisfying bits of fools gold. Particularly because the true vein of treasure that will ransom human security and joy is open and flowing from the Body of Christ. Even more the tragedy, is that there are so many who expend so much time and energy in effort to hide this mine, because its` riches are free to all who seek them, so they can neither control, nor profit from its` riches in any way the present world they live in finds value.