I had a great visit yesterday with an adult education class at Mechanicsburg (PA) Church of the Brethren. The class is reading Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump and it was a privilege to be present to answer questions and talk more about the book.
We spent a lot of time exploring theological, political, and historical factors that led so many evangelical to support Trump in 2016, but we also talked about a vision for Christian politics defined by hope, humility, and an informed understanding of American history. Class members had questions about abortion, “end times” theology, environmentalism, the 2020 election, and how to think more Christianly about political engagement.
As Christian political scientist Glenn Tinder explains, politics requires “attentiveness” and “availability.” Attentive people are aware of what others are “doing, suffering, [and] saying.” But they also make themselves available. They see the needs of the world and ask: “Is there anything I can do about it?” If we think about politics this way, then churches are always engaged in political activity. And if churches are always engaged in political activity, then it also has a responsibility to think deeply about how to exercise such engagement in accordance with scripture.
Thanks to Warren Eshbach for the invitation.