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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Recommend-a-blog (23)

What political theology are you?

I’m a ‘Radical Anabaptist’, or at least so says Mere Orthodoxy’s political theology quiz.

Not sure quite what to think about that. I guess I’m glad to be a radical something. These days I think I’d be more insulted to be called a moderate. And while I dislike the implicit nod to infant baptism in the “Anabaptist” label, I am indeed a firm believer in baptizing believers only, as readers of my baptism series (left sidebar) will confirm, and glad to take a stand on that.

It seems a funny point of theology to fixate on, but I’ll take it ... I guess.

Church and State

Rod Dreher’s bestselling The Benedict Option has got the Christian blogosphere cogitating about the biblical relationship between Church and State again. For those who haven’t read or heard about Benedict, Amazon says, “In this controversial bestseller, Rod Dreher calls on American Christians to prepare for the coming Dark Age by embracing an ancient Christian way of life.”

“The coming Dark Age.” Hmm. That, or perhaps the sound of a trumpet.

Naturally, there is an entire spectrum of strategies employed by groups of Christians in responding to the cultural question. Mere Orthodoxy breaks them down into the following six:
  • Catholic Integralism
  • Post-Liberal Protestantism
  • Post-Liberal Retreatists
  • Radical Anabaptists
  • Liberal Protestantism
  • Liberal Revanchists
(Yes, you’d probably benefit from a little further explanation of these labels, which MO dutifully provides here.)

Out of Step With the Religious Mainstream

Now, I don’t know much about the Mere Orthodoxy site or its writers, so I can’t recommend anything they’ve written, but the quiz itself is worth taking if only for the weird sensation it produced (in me, at least) of being so spectacularly out of step with the religious mainstream that I could have used a “none of the above” option on more than half the questions.

There wasn’t one — which, if you think about it, kinda makes a statement in itself.

For example, on marriage, we find this:
 The state should handle the
 question of marriage by ...

  • Recognizing marriage as a legal contract between two freely consenting individuals.
  • Recognizing marriage between a man and a woman as the only legal and valid form of marriage, criminalizing adultery, and banning divorce.
  • Recognize marriage between a man and a woman as the only legal and valid form of marriage.
  • Requiring all fertile women to become the concubines of powerful men, donning characteristic clothes.
Having watched a number of friends and acquaintances get financially and emotionally eviscerated in the family courts, I’m convinced Christians and pagans alike might be better off if the State had nothing whatsoever to do with marriage, adultery or divorce, but naturally there’s no such option.

The Cultural Moment

If there’s any real spiritual value to this quiz, it’s the dawning recognition that institutional churches and denominations may well be approaching the Church/State relationship from the wrong angle entirely.

After all, getting right answers about how the Church should proceed in the present cultural moment surely requires we ask ourselves the right questions first.

Doesn’t it?

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