Today is the Pennsylvania Primary, so it was good timing to stumble upon this last night which pointed me to a great episode of American Public Media’s Speaking of Faith. In it, Krista Tippet interviews three evangelicals about politics: Charles Colson, Greg Boyd, and Shane Claiborne. In the spirit of Bruce Reyes-Chow’s thoughts on transparency, I’ll do a little self-disclosure here. Each of the men in this interview has influenced me at some point in my life. As a freshman in college, Colson’s book How Now Shall We Live? made me afraid to step outside my dorm room, terrified that evolutionists and liberal politicians were lurking ready to attack my fragile faith. Thankfully, I came to my senses and eventually came out of that cave. As I grew in maturity and gained a broader perspective on life, I came to a much more balanced point of view. Greg Boyd spoke at a retreat I attended through our college ministry and I remember being impressed not just by his speaking, but even more by his willingness to move into the inner-city to live out his message. (And I highly recommend his book Myth of a Christian Nation, especially for his thoughts on pacifism and being “pro-life in a Kingdom way”.) And it was Shane Claiborne’s book The Irresistible Revolution that persuaded us to move into living in community in the inner-city. I have yet to read Jesus for President, but I’m looking forward to the tour which will bring Chris Haw and Shane to Pittsburgh on June 26th at the Union Project.
As I listen to the interview, and prepare to go vote today, I’m asking myself a few questions. How much can we as Christians participate in a political system that often requires choosing the lesser-of-two-evils? How can we endorse certain political leaders without placing false hope in a “savior on capital hill” (to use Derek Webb’s words)? How do we as the Church encourage faithful people to serve in the public sector, while still taking a “power-under” approach (Greg Boyd’s term) to serving the world rather than a “power-over” approach which brings corruption?