Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Worthwhile Article...

There is a terrific article in this month's issue of Touchstone that notes a remarkable similarity between Jeremiah Wright and "your best life now" preachers.  The article is not a polemic against the much-maligned UCC pastor, but rather how the Black Church has not cornered the market on liberation theology.  The author, Russell Moore, points out that one is just as likely to find the essence of Wright's theology in the self-help, consumerist White Church.  As Moore writes, " does not have to be a political radical to bypass Jesus at the church.  White, upwardly mobile, pro-America preachers preach liberation theology all the time, with all the fervor of Jeremiah Wright, if not the anger."
Both angles on the Gospel make the same mistake.  Blacks say that if we can escape psychological, economic, and political oppression in America that we will attain salvation.  Whites are seeking psychological, economic, and political liberation through the American Dream.
Both end up in the same place.  The Gospel exists to serve me, for my benefit.  But lets give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that we are able to attain perfect equality, perfect wealth distribution, etc.  What then?  Have we attained salvation?  Is that heaven?  Both styles, whether its the grunginess of black liberationists or the bourgeoisie self-help whites, lead to the same dead end.  As Moore puts it so well,
"In both cases, the preachers fit Jesus into a preexisting storyline.  They did not call upon their hearers to find themselves in the storyline of the crucified, buried, and ressurected Jesus.  For them, Jesus is a mascot, just for different agendas, none of which will last a minute past the Judgment Seat."

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