arizona, tea partiers, primaries... what's a christian to think?

The news these days is hard to watch. There's alot of talking heads and interviews with angry peoples across the nation. Alot of signs, fear and frustration out there. I'm almost afraid to turn on my newsfeeds and NPR!

Unfortunately most christian's blog post or engagement with what's going on in the States goes like this:

*Insert Bible Verses to justify current political/cultural position here and argue passionately for your position*

I find myself wondering "when did American Christendom become so balkanized?" Oh wait, i know the answer... the 20th century. When the fundamentalists/modernist swore each other into eternal damnation. While i would love to get all academic-y here, i dont have the brain power or the footnote space. So a few summary sentences. In the late 19th and most of the 20th century there was an epic war among christians over just who Jesus was and who had the truth. Tree's, Ink and tons of Hot Air were spewed arguing over who was right and who had the corner on biblical hermeneutics. It was a very creative, but a very polarizing time to be a christian in the mainline. Many of our newer denominations were started during this time. Also a number of our Para-church organizations came out of this turbulence. Christianity Today has nicely compiled a reading list for those who want to delve deeper.

While i have a lot of frustration with the current climate of political debate and discussion in the States right now. I find myself seeing echoes of the debates and imbroglios that roiled evangelicalism in the century prior. While i kept hoping for people to burn themselves out, instead i think this is one of the few cases where the church was ahead of the curve. The purity tests, reluctance to dialogue and find a middle ground are all reminiscent of some of the battles that were fought among conservative believers. In fact for those who have studied american church history its not a surprise that its conservative christian politicians who are leading the resistance/naysayers to any policy change or law they do not agree with.

I find myself wondering if perhaps the fundamentalist/modernist wars were a battleground practice for the current flare up in American politics....

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