This post is part of a series of articles I am writing to UPDATE the original vision that I first articulated concerning Political Jesus’ purpose. For part 1, see here: Why h00die_R? Instead of simply asking why PJ is here, it now stands to reason that I explore the four principles for which Political Jesus exists.
I initially did not set out to be a “progressive Christian blogger.” The label is debateable, but I digress. I originally started writing online because I needed an outlet to express my feelings and thoughts during seminary. During that time, I was active in the church, highly involved in extracurricular activities at school, and studying to earn good grades. My social activism (which I usually don’t like to talk about) back then was taking its toll. The Living Wage campaign, a petition to update a school’s curriculum, and the “Save Sudan” movement took up portions of my time. As these movements were met with various responses, and ended for various reasons, I had found the virtual form of being active.
So, Black Libertarian Theology blog became Hope And Theology on Blogspot, and then on wordpress, it became Political Jesus. Behind Political Jesus, and Hope Theology, there was the underlying premise that I wanted to make hope theologies, relational theologies, and liberation theologies accessible to laypersons, all the while having dialogue with church historians and biblical studies.
The meaning of this Theological Openness is TWO-fold. First, Theological Openness means Political Jesus, its editors, writers, and guest contributors, are committed in general to being honest about where they stand or are standing contextually. In some cases, there are Christian bloggers who work to avoid labels (and this is okay) in order to speak to Christians generally, as well as the general public. Great. That’s fantastic. There is an alternative way of creating a community. This is one built not on branding, but honesty. This theological openness means from time to time, the pieces that are published on Political Jesus are upfront about our theological, *gasp* biases. One of the things I truly appreciate about The Gospel Coalition is that unlike many emergent “don’t label me” bloggers, the TGC blog makes it obvious what tradition they stand in, and by doing so, they make possible for others to dialogue with them. Sometimes these dialogues may not be in USian Christianity’s best interest, but hey, at least conversation is going right, rather than lecturing all those mean people who are angry.
[side note: a series on being creedal and baptist is happening next year.]
A positive, constructive example of a blog site that practices Theological Openness is Joel Watts’ Unsettled Christianity. As annoying as it is, Joel constantly goes out of his way to remind everyone that he is United Methodist, that he is Wesleyan, and that he has an affinity for Catholic teaching. Recently it’s become popular for us bloggers to brand ourselves and our platform, even with things, like with Jesus Radicals or Jesus Capitalists (I mean Republicans, woops). What Jesus asks us is not only to follow Him, but to follow Him WITHOUT qualification. Unqualified, without reservation, without limitation. Jesus told us to not only take up the Cross, but he also instructed prospective followers to abandon their families, to discard themselves of their riches, etc. If discipleship and community are to happen virtually, we should shed off branding labels and ideologies with Jesus+whatever, & reject discipleship without sacrifice.
The other, secondary meaning for Political Jesus’ Theological Openness is a general commitment to the notion that God is relational. From the First Testament (the Hebrew Bible/LXX) to the New Testament, God shows Godself to be a God who lives in covenantal dialogue with God’s people and creation. Political Jesus seeks to explore these relationships, and how Christian praxis is influenced by God’s relationality.
[sidenote: In January, I will be doing a series on Liberation Theology as Relational Theology; the results may surprise you]
So, let me ask. What does Theological Openness look like for you?