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Blog // Thoughts
May 26, 2005

The Blinking Flat Purpose Driven Tipping Point That Got Left Behind

I wasn’t quite sure what to think when my favourite opinionist, David Brooks began his current op-ed piece for the NYT reflecting on a talk by Rick Warren. But, by the time I read the following quote I was not only consoled, but also inspired. “Millions of evangelicals are embarrassed by the people held up […]

I wasn’t quite sure what to think when my favourite opinionist, David Brooks began his current op-ed piece for the NYT reflecting on a talk by Rick Warren. But, by the time I read the following quote I was not only consoled, but also inspired.

“Millions of evangelicals are embarrassed by the people held up by the news media as their spokesmen. Millions of evangelicals feel less represented by the culture war-centered parachurch organizations, and better represented by congregational pastors, who have a broader range of interests and more passion for mobilizing volunteers to perform service. Millions of evangelicals want leaders who live the faith by serving the poor.”

Brooks’ point is that,

“The natural alliance for antipoverty measures at home and abroad is between liberals and evangelical Christians. These are the only two groups that are really hyped up about these problems and willing to devote time and money to ameliorating them. If liberals and evangelicals don’t get together on antipoverty measures, then there will be no majority for them and they won’t get done.”

He then goes on to outline various international efforts for peace and alleviation of poverty that are being driven by evangelicals (and motivated by U2). This is thrilling and heady stuff and despite my serious reservations about Rick Warren (particulary over his support for Bush in the last election), I can’t help but feel that Brooks is onto something we not only need to recognise, but something we need to communicate clearly. We are at a crossroads and we are seeing more and more evangelicals who do not want to be defined by the narrow and false constraints of the culture war. We are seeing more and more who have come from an evangelical past into a more organic and whole understanding of what it means to live out the Christian faith in an era of globalisation. We see what Brooks sees when he writes,

“I see evangelicals who are more and more influenced by Catholic social teaching, with its emphasis on good works. I see the historical rift healing between those who emphasized personal and social morality. Most of all, I see a new sort of evangelical leader emerging.”

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