Caffeine for the Conscience - November 17th
A good cup of coffee stimulates thinking and discussion. And I had been craving some of both, so I invited a group of some new and familiar friends to meet at Panera’s Bread Company for a discussion of God’s Politics, by Jim Wallis. Wallis is editor of Sojourner’s Magazine. The subtitle of Wallis’ book is noteworthy: Why the Right Gets It Wrong, and the Left Doesn’t Get It.
It was a Thursday night when about 12 of us sat down at some tables with our coffee in hand. I opened with a question. Why can’t we talk about things that matter most, like Religion-Sex-and Politics? Being something of an extrovert, I asked that question loudly enough for people at surrounding tables to hear it. Wouldn’t you know it?
Three people joined in, either pulling over their chairs or leaning in close enough to hear or comment. Now I ask you. Why is it when “nice” church people get together, they are often so downright boring in their conversation. It’s like we’re terrified of any disagreements. And that makes us boring! Someone has put it this way of us, “We are out there on the cutting edge of the uncontroversial.” Who wants to go there?
Wallis, in God’s Politics, observes that the 2004 Elections were supposed to have been determined by voters concerned with “values.” But as he put it, Which Values and Whose Values? The war in Iraq is a values issue; so is poverty; so is the economic stressors on families. Why is it conservatives are so often consumed with a narrow definition of morality, asks Wallis. And why are so many progressives so resistant to a discussion of faith and politics. Morality is about more than what happens in the bedrooms of America. What do you consider the chief moral issues?