Part of the problem, of course, was that this evangelical left was never quite sure or clear about what, exactly, those wonderful and very difficult things were supposed to be. It was always a bit too evangelical to ever really be progressive, and a bit too progressive to ever really be evangelical. On a small scale, it could be concrete and specific, and so it was able to accomplish many great things on that small scale. But on the larger stage it drifted into abstraction, pulled its punches, and squandered its energy seeking the approval of the very same ideologies it was trying to critique.
There was an Evangelical Left? News to me.
I have seen Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners, a movement whose mission is to articulate the Biblical call for social justice, and President Jimmy Carter described as such. Are their names new to you?
I’ve never really identified Carter as an “Evangelical” but more of a mainline Protestant liberal. I’ve heard of Sojourners, but don’t know much about them or their founder.
I think the “evangelical left” really consisted of people from an evangelical background, not people who are currently evangelical. Many of them used their church connections to get a platform for their views, free publicity, free meeting space, and credibility.
Jimmy Carter was a long-time Southern Baptist and the nation’s first self-identified “born again” president. Carter still identifies as Baptist, but he has broken with the Southern Baptist Convention on a lot of issues because he’s too liberal for them.
Yes. One of the reasons he broke with the Southern Baptists was over the role of women. He now attends Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains and teaches Sunday School. People line up for miles to get into his classes, especially since his cancer diagnosis.
I lived in DC toward the end of the Carter Presidency and he would teach at the (Northern) Baptist church on Sundays then too. I popped into his class every once in a while. He’s good!
I love Jimmy Carter. He is more of a saint than you or I will ever be.
Jim Wallis is wonderful, as is Sojourners. Their materials are worth a read. sojo.net