@ayjay I loved reading this, as always, but it left me sincerely confused. Doesn't this:
> People who are deeply grounded in and deeply committed to their faith tradition who are also capable of rising to high levels of influence in government and education
describe a solid majority of U.S. elected representatives? Is their professed faith of a kind or quality different from what you or Vermeule are imagining? Sincere question!
@ayjay This was perfect reading for me today as I just began a preaching series at @EastbrookChurch this weekend on Daniel, beginning with attention to enculturation/socialization and how our double identity as "citizens of heaven" (Phil 3:20) relates to "seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile" (Jer 29:7).
@robinsloan And a very good question it is. Here’s what I’d say: that I have no doubt that such people are very sincere in their faith, but they aren’t especially well formed by it. You wouldn’t have to be all that well-versed in the Bible and Christian history to know that Jews and Christians have often suffered to the point of martyrdom because they wouldn’t worship the emperor or the gods of the State — and yet many of these professedly evangelical churches hold Make America Great Again rallies and destroy Nike shoes from the pulpit because NFL players “disrespect the flag.” Leading evangelicals say that it’s okay that Trump has done a lot of bad things because “King David was a sinner too” — without noticing that David repented of his sins, whereas Trump has said that he doesn’t repent because he doesn’t do many things wrong. So what we’re seeing here is people who have a sincere profession of faith but don’t know the basic grammar of their religion. It is the civic religion of America, rather, that they are formed by. And if, like Adrian Vermeule, you want Christians to transform the society from within, then you have to hope that those people have absorbed the grammar of their faith more thoroughly than they have the grammar of their country. And that, by and large, ain’t happening.
@ayjay The counter-catechesis that you suggest is something that goes so much deeper than most of us realize. Daniel seems to be a perfect primer on this, combining both the narratives of exile faith (chs. 1-6) and the visions of an apocalyptic imagination (chs. 7-12) as two halves of the necessary aspects of living as a people transformed at the deeper level of social imaginaries for more meaningful engagement. As you mention in another response, this is a different grammar flowing from a different imagination. It can sometimes feel like an endless exploration of the rabbit hole.
@frankm @ayjay And Quakerism is at the far end of the Love spectrum. No creeds or official doctrines; only queries. There's a good reason the official name is The Religious Society of Friends. Divine Love for the self, love for one's community, love for the world, love for one's opponents. Universal Unconditional Divine Love is the root and the core. Everything else is meaningless without it; even Scripture is secondary. It is empty unless read from within the Spirit of the Life.
Plus, the Liberal-Liberal branch puts intense value on the individual experience of Divine Love. At some point I'll write about the compatibility of my atheism and my Quaker spiritualism. 🙂