This past weekend, I spoke with several members of the congregation I belong to. One of the things I was struck by was the intellectual and ideological diversity that exists in our congregation. It certainly isn't the majority report in the church, but it nonetheless represents a significant minority that questions the status quo. Fox News isn't the final arbiter of what's true and accurate of reality. These fellow travellers theologically, if not all-together ideologically, nonetheless share a deep-seated uncertainty about what is presented to us for public consumption.
When I speak to fellow members of the church, I speak of the radical agenda of the neo-cons and their Jacobin (left wing) ideology. Yet among other members of the church, I speak of the hard right inclinations that exist among some on the "Christian Right". Inclinations that speak of bringing "America back to God". Yet, in all of this, I'm struck by the strange similarities that coexist between these two poles.
I'm still working out this interrelationship that sees its greatest commonality in the website: http://www.antiwar.com This website has furnished the fruitful ground of ideological growth from both left wing and right wing concepts. This site regularly provides a voice to those from those two ideological perspectives. The main unifying factor seems to be a common opposition to current American policy in foreign affairs (and in many cases, domestic affairs). Typically, it's assumed that the underlying assumptions are ideologically and theologically opposed. Yet, I would argue that much of what constitutes the political discourse of today is predicated upon assumptions that limit the dialogue to very limited parameters. Both the left and the right views expressed on the antiwar site are an expression of essentially libertarian views. These libertarian views are largely built around a view of the human condition that assumes that we are sinners because we sin, not that we sin because we are sinners.
I know that this distinction may seem inconsequentual, but how we see our human condition is fundamental to accurately understanding our interactions with each other and with God. The view that we are sinners because we sin is essentially Pelagian, whereas the view that we sin because we are sinners (the Augustinian view) is based on a view of the fall that says we have all been radically infected by this moral virus; a virus that has passed down to every human being, no matter their social standing or class status.
Well, I have to get to training early the next morning for a new study Bible, so I better get going. I hope this little essay will help clarify where I'm at. As always, a work in progress.