My friends at Patrol had one of their best days of content since I have been reading them.

First, check out Alissa Harris’ affirmation of the apolitical nature of traditional evangelicals:

However, when I look at my own parents and their friends, the nature of their political involvement has changed. They used to be the pro-life crusaders who picketed the abortion clinics, who went to the state capitol and lobbied for pro-family legislation. My parents are still politically involved (unlike most of their friends) but it is now all for the Republican Party, not for individual causes like marriage or abortion…

I wonder if this shift in political engagement–from grassroots activism to party politics for some–is a sign of a shift in the way some Christians view power. It is, after all, a change in believing in the power of deeply committed individuals marching on Washington, to believing in the power of a connected, networked, funded party machine.

My gut reaction is that this is right.  Our parents’ generation was shaped by the anti-war demonstrations of the 60s, so it’s not surprising that conservatives would make public protests a central part of their own political activity.

One hypothesis is that as demonstrating has decreased, the emphasis on law has increased.  And as individuals feel increasingly separated from their own ability to enact political change, political speech becomes a necessary substitute.  Part of the misconception that traditional evangelicals have been overly politically involved stems from a view of politics that reduces politics to speech–a function of an overemphasis on national politics and the resulting loss of connection between individuals and the actual structures of their government.

Second, Paul Burkhart highlighted what a responsible theology looks like when it’s informed by post-modernism.

Get that?  Okay, so that’s the joke.  The link that showed up in my RSS reader took me there, which was unintentionally hilarious and ironic.

The real post is here, and it includes this video:

I haven’t read any of Rollins’ work, though I can see why Burkhart is impressed.  I’m not terribly comfortable talking about really knowing God in our doubt, as I think it rests too much of our theology on Jesus’ utterance on the cross–and a contentious interpretation of it, at that.

And while I’m all for attempts to recapture a Chestertonian sense of the paradoxes of orthodoxy, I am less moved that the two horns we need to seize are Dennet-style atheism and traditional, orthodox Christianity.

But when Rollins starts talking about who we really are, pay attention.  There’s lots going on in there that encapsulates many of the undercurrents of post-modernism.  His point that the basic insight of Pauline theology is participation in the death and resurrection of Jesus is interesting, even if throughout he seems to minimize the objective content of that death and resurrection.

At any rate, congrats to Patrol for a great day of content.  Here’s hoping they continue.

Update:  See Milliner for more on the atheist side of that paradox.

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Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.


  1. Rollins’ brand of Beyondism has some stiff competition.


  2. […] you ask Pete Rollins why he thinks belief and unbelief are compatible–and even desirable–states for the Christian, he’s got his answer ready to go: […]


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