Church 26 Jul 2006 04:48 pm

Reading “God’s Politics”

I’m currently reading God’s Politics by Jim Wallis. Wallis is an American evangelical theologian, preacher and activist.

God’s Politics presents an analysis of the ways in which the political Right has ‘appropriated’ God (inappropriately), and the ways in which the political Left struggles with so-called moral issues.

As a pedant, the quality of the editing of the book annoys me.

As someone whol falls asleep quickly in bed, the repetitiveness of some of the arguments sees me snoozing comfortably.

But a few paragraphs grabbed my attention last night. Wallis says:

The political class is at war, while the media focus more on the process of politics than its content. And while there are certainly very committed partisans on both sides, they seem to be fighting more for their careers than their principles. In the meantime, most Americans are not very passionate about their political choices. During election seasons, many voters are undecided until the very end, speak in “lesser of evils” language about their decisions, and wonder whether this is really the best that America has to offer.

Most simply put, the two traditional options in America (Democrat and Republican, liberal and conservative) have failed to capture the imagination, commitment and trust of a clear majority of people in this country. … The political Right and Left continue at war with each other, but the truth is that these false ideological choices themselves have run their course and become dysfunctional.

I couldn’t help but feel that if one substituted ‘Australian’ for ‘American’, ‘Labor’ for ‘Democrat’ and ‘Liberal’ for ‘Republican’, the above statements would apply equally in this country.

Wallis goes on to argue for a new political ‘option’ – he calls this option ‘prophetic politics’, and states that:

Prophetic politics finds its centre in fundamental moral issues like children, diversity, family, community, citizenship, and ethics (others could be added, like nonviolence, tolerance and fairness) and tries to construct national directions that many people across a broad political spectrum could agree to.

Sounds like an interesting concept. I’m now looking forward to the rest of the book.

(I got my hardcover copy from Koorong for around $17 (half price). Last week, they still had plenty of copies in stock (at West Ryde). I’m pretty sure there is a ‘20% off everything’ sale for the next three days, so if you’re interested, now would be a good time to buy. Or maybe you could invest in that new Dictionary of Theology that you’ve been saving for…)

2 Responses to “Reading “God’s Politics””

  1. on 26 Jul 2006 at 19:36 (Sydney) 1.Zog said …

    I’d just like to echo the sentiments re: the Dictionary of Theology. You do have one, don’t you, FN? Hm?

    Sounds like an interesting analysis by Wallace. The interesting phenomenon in this country I reckon is that every one you meet speaks of ‘b—— John Howard’, and yet the country votes him into office 4 times in a row. And yet no one apparently voted for him. I wonder what that says about us?

  2. on 26 Jul 2006 at 19:58 (Sydney) 2.Richard said …

    Re Dictionary: yes — I bought one at full price in an emergency.