Culture > Q&A

Rising from a fall

"Rising from a fall" Continued...

Issue: "The rise of localism," March 12, 2011

What happened? He completely lost his mind, because he thought it must have come from him. He took his wife's life and his daughter's life and tried to take his own life but failed. They resuscitated him. He was convicted of double murder. Along the way they did a lot of tests and found that he didn't have AIDS. He was absolutely broken. But by the time I got to know him, he was the choir leader. You could see him up leading worship every Sunday. He had an amazing testimony of how God had changed his life.

You do some political analysis now: What does it mean to start from a Christian rather than a Republican perspective? One thing: I watch how politicians speak about the opposition. I was attracted to one Christian who speaks of articulating a new and more fully evangelical way to engage in politics, and yet I found over and over again that this person caricatured conservative Christians. I grow weary of saying, well, that's just politics.

So if an opponent has a good point . . . We need to be willing to stop caricaturing and start taking each other seriously. As we reshape the way Christians listen to one another and engage in political culture, I hope we'll become known as people who are relentlessly honest even when it's not necessarily in our political interest.

Do liberals and conservatives both engage in caricature? Both sides. A "hermeneutic of suspicion" tends not to take seriously the reasons that people give for their beliefs. It says, "You're not a Christian because you've looked at these things and you've experienced the love of God. No, you're a Christian because you're terrified of something, you're looking for a father figure, etc." Or, "You're a liberal because you have no convictions."

Too much psychologizing? People start accusing others of having the wrong psychology rather than dealing with substance. My own political instincts are conservative, but it frustrates me when my fellow conservatives speak as though liberal evangelicals are really not evangelicals at all.
For more on Timothy Dalrymple, read his columns at Patheos, visit his Facebook page, or follow him on Twitter.
Listen to Marvin Olasky's complete interview with Timothy Dalrymple.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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