Monday, January 31, 2005

Honestly, is there any group that loves power more than us?

You may have seen it by now, but my pastor just passed it my way today- the new Time magazine with the cover story "The 25 most Influential Evangelicals in America." In all honesty it is a pretty good report. When the reporters surely could have cast judgment on the individuals they merely explained their nature of influence. Some of the names and faces are familiar (Graham, Hybles, and Warren) while some were new, at least to me (Ahmanson, Barton, and Coe). There were some notes of optimism: Warren saying the Saddleback Network will be taking up a social agenda that does not include abortion and gay marriage, but rather "poverty, disease, and ignorance." Yet, some of the aforementioned scaries of evangelicalism also appeared like our dear Mr. Dobson. Lastly, I'm sure it left out some individuals in part to only mentioning those associated with President Bush (though that makes me wonder what Ralph Winter is doing in the issue- a man who came out against the war).

All in all the article doesn't lead me to judge the positions of certain individuals, but begs the question, "Why do Christians want power so badly." Twice mentioned in the article is a weekly conference call held with President Bush by these influential Evangelicals. I wonder what that might go like:

President Bush: Good Morning everyone.
Random Influential Evangelical in America: Hail Chief.
PB: So support of our war is going down, but it's obviously ordained so what can we do about it?
RIEA: We'll I've decided to do a series called "40 days on a Crusade!" It will cover why God appointed America as His mediator, and why the democrats, French and UN stand in the way of our divine mission. And don't worry we've proof texted the baby to the brim so nobody can disagree.
PB: Glad that's taken care of...

Sorry for being dumb, I'm just frustrated. In the end I don't think the 25 mentioned have any real power. It seems more likely that Bush and Co. are using most of them for support, and nothing more (this is evidenced to a degree in Dobson's bio).

So what's the better model? The thinking seems to be “Let’s go to the top, and get a better reach for social change,” but that is evidentially wrong. Yet to stay out of politics all together denies a reality about how the world works. I've got plenty of opinions, but I'm hoping more for suggestions so I'll leave it at that.


At 1/31/2005 11:45 PM, Blogger Dusty said...

Adam, great post!

I put a brief snippet on my xanga about it

I think some of your concerns are valid, at least from my perspective. I think it is interesting to have someone like Lahaye on the list with people that at least want to start being more "socially conscience", when the two theologies seem somewhat contradictory.

Anyway, Jake I am still waiting to hear more of your thoughts...since I am gagged and all...

At 2/18/2005 4:21 PM, Blogger Ryan said...

This makes me more frustrated than anything, Adam. I understand exactly what you are talking about. It seems as if President Bush feels it is his divine calling to fight for freedom throughout the world.

Jim Wallis (in God's Politics) points out that the ideological belief that the United States is "good" and all against us are "evil" is just flat-out bad religion. It seems as if Christ's teaching, "Why do you see the speck in your neighbor's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?" has been completely disregarded by our nation's leaders.

And even worse, the term "Pax Americana" is being used more frequently and loosely in political circles, and the term "empire" has come to carry a positive connotation. This is exactly what Robert Kennedy warned the nation about--how dangerous it is to promote empire. It led to the downfall of the Romans, and it may very well lead to the downfall of the United States as well.

My mind wanders--back to Adam's concluding question. What are we to do? I've prayed and thought for hours on this, and I have yet to come up with a great solution. I did take the liberty of writing up a letter to President Bush explaining some of my concerns, but I did not do this in the hopes of "reaching the top" but rather as a means to reach out to others around the community. At this point, I am lost as to what we could do.

If anybody wants to read my letter, you can reach me by email at

Thanks, Adam for letting me know that I'm not alone.


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