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Blog // Thoughts
June 30, 2005

US Political Christianity II: Why Isn’t It Global?

Sojourners magazine has been a favoured read of mine for many years. For a while I was worried that the magazine was getting a little light and caught up in its own rhetoric. However, in the past year it feels as if it has gotten meatier, clearly inspired by the political climate in the US. […]

Sojourners magazine has been a favoured read of mine for many years. For a while I was worried that the magazine was getting a little light and caught up in its own rhetoric. However, in the past year it feels as if it has gotten meatier, clearly inspired by the political climate in the US.

However, in the pages of Sojourners I frequently sense something that feels uneasy. When the world outside the borders of the US is addressed, it seems only to be framed in the context of povery and suffering (injustice) or in terms of perceptions of the US. Whilst both of these should concern the US Christian, as a framework, they are clearly the grid of localism. Could it be that Sojourners is beset by the same kind of localist thinking that burdens the fundamentalist end of American Christianity?

I’m not sure, but it seems a hypothesis worth investigating further.

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Responses
Steve K. 17 years ago

What kind of content would you rather read in Sojourners? I myself am not a subscriber, but I get their e-mail updates and often read content on their website. I think they’d be wide open to hearing this international perspective on their editorial coverage and adjust their thinking accordingly. I doubt they intend to cast all things international in a way that presents USAmerica as the savior of the world 😉

Shalom,
Steve K.

f 17 years ago

Thanks for the comments!. I plan to write to them, but want to test my hypothesis a little more before doing so.

However, you’ve raised a very good distinction because I agree that Sojourners does not write from the “saviour of the world” perspective. For me it also clarifies an important issue, because whilst sojourners are currently entering what I count as their third recent campaign to bridge the partisan divide in the US politics, i don’t see the right-left issue as the big challenge.

To me the big challenge is exceptionalism and the only solution to that is to present a global view that shows the need for American Christians to be more essentially networked with fellow believers around the world, on all levels. It seems no coincidence to me that at the same time that the US has gone for a unilateral approach in politics, some of it denoms and parachhurches have also gone unilateral (episcopals and southern baptists, for example).

So in terms of content, I’d like to see more of what sojourners does best, stories of Christians strugling to embody faith and justice, but to hear about that from all over the world. For example, the recent feature on people brought up evangelical could have had a very interesting and more challening flavour if it had included voices from around the world.

By becoming a voice for a global faith that happens to be published in the US, rather than a voice for US faith that happens to be interested in the world, I think Sojourners could increase its effectiveness in combating US exceptionalism.

Thanks again for your comments,

f.

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