Follow Up: Wallis on Beck

I don’t often agree with Jim Wallis – he is too much of a run-of-the-mill liberal Baptist for my liking – but it’s worth letting him have his say on the Glenn Beck statement I recently commented on.  Agree or not, Wallis is a passionate, intelligent man who practices what he preaches.  Literally.  As for Glenn Beck, well, let’s hope he catches severe laryngitis very soon.

See Rev. Wallis’ comments here.

Wallis is right: justice is at the heart of the gospel, of all the Biblical witness.  But there is both distributive justice and retributive justice.  For one, few of us have room in our political philosophies for both (most of us pick one).  For another, the distributive justice envisioned in the prophets and in the Kingdom have little bearing on how or if the power of the state should be used to those ends.  For those of us who are suspicious of both the power of the state and its ability to do anything effectively, the way that the church should effect distributive justice is through the church, and not the heavy hand of Caesar.

2 thoughts on “Follow Up: Wallis on Beck”

  1. Good point. All the responses I’ve read to Beck have admitted that God isn’t a south-paw, but they’re not very clear on why not. I think your point provides a some clarification, but most progressive Christians, as far as I can tell, fail to realize it.

  2. Stephen, thank you. Progressive Christianity and Conservative Christianity have, as contradictory as it may seem, the same root system. Both put ideology above the gospel, and so the church (insofar as there is any ecclesiology at all) becomes merely a gathering of individual Americans who can rubber stamp a party cause. Progressive Christians who have run screaming from the Christian Right often do not realize that they have, in fact, run in a circle and ended up exactly where they were before (but now they are pro-choice instead of pro-life, and pro-gay marriage instead of anti gay-marriage).

    Any word yet on your doctoral applications?

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