Tag Archives: James K A Smith

Mainstreaming Radicalism

“Radicals are hopeless, they are all ugly, and are so ungrateful for everything given to them. — they are ultimately rooted in a sense that everything sucks”

I don’t get it. I really don’t get it.

I really just don’t understand how there’s an entire generation of Christians out there who feel like Mainline Christianity has let them down, that there’s this BIG CONSPIRACY OUT THERE: that the Bible shows us just how terrible everything is. EVERYTHING IS AWFUL! EVERYTHING IS NOT COOL WHEN YOU’RE NOT PART OF OUR TEAM!

It can be a startling revelation to learn that there are a relatively small group of people sitting on their couches, criticizing the civil religion that this great nation was founded on. Social Justice Warriors have absolutely no respect for their elders, which is completely ageist by the way!

We might still be reeling, okay, okay, just a tad bit embarassed that there are no Mainline Protestant members on the Supreme Court, and we have all of these elitist outsiders “claiming” that we live in a Post-Christian world, and that may be true. This is especially true when many Mainline Christian voices are exiting the public realm. How can there be a realm with no King? If the nation’s civil religion is removed, who will be there rule over the masses? Certainly not lazy hyper-critical Twittervists!

So who in their right minds would try to mainstream radicalism? Well, I’d like to give it a try.

If you can’t imagine anything good coming out of Mainline Christendom, this essay may not be for you.

Mainstream Churches are not about seeking other options, it is not a project for outsiders; this is for insiders.The point isn’t to challenge conservatives in power, but to emulatethem.

The temperament of radicals is defined by a nihilistic disposition. Radicals are filled with ingratitude, they are mean. Surveys have shown of the top 300 of Social Justice Warriors who use Digital media, 79% of them possess no sense of humor OR patriotism, and they certainly don’t care about being respectable! Radicals are hopeless, they are all ugly, and are so ungrateful for everything given to them. — they are ultimately rooted in a sense that everything sucks.

This isn’t a rescue project. This is not a call to turn back time to the good ole days where all of our civic leaders attended Episcopalien, Methodist and Baptist churches. If you are a radical, and you have no respect for yourself, then there’s isn’t a hedge of protection around you. The Mainline Church has always been a for-ism project; we are in favor of assimilating the world’s most hideous rejects into being civilized participants of our society. It’s not like ugliness will save the world, okay?

As my favorite director Tyler Perry once testified, the family that prays together at the dinner table, stays together. It’s only at the potluck dinners filled with casseroles and lemon meringue pies that The Church can teach others about unity and politeness. He who fills himself with two helpings of mashed potatoes learns what it is like to NOT bite at the hand who fed him. When brotherhood and niceness are scoffed at in favor of barbarism, we merely get assimilated into being worthless slackers. It might be the “radicals” in The Church who look reactionary. Sort of like Hitler.

Book Review: Letters to a Young Calvinist by @jameskasmith

A while back, I posted when I won James K A Smith’s Letters To A Young Calvinist: An Invitation to the Reformed Tradition.

Jamie Smith himself even took the time to answer my question via facebook about Reformed Theology and race, which I thought was really cool:

Today, I offer a few thoughts on the book.

Overall, I enjoyed the very pastoral tone of the book, it was pastoral without being too preachy. It’s format may have given me an idea for a future endeavor. As I am trying to give Smith’s Who’s Afraid of Post-Modernism another shot, Smith is slowly becoming one of my favorite Reformed (and Charismatic) Christian thinkers. The book is not meant as an apology for the Reformed tradition; rather, it is a humble explanation for what being and doing Reformed Christianity entails. Smith is quite upfront about the habits of cage-stage calvinists and their snarky ways. Much of the descriptions that Jamie provides are quite on cue. I appreciated the delineation that Smith makes between the simple “Westminster Reformed” Southern Baptists and the Belgic Confessional Reformed (mostly Presbyterians (Letter XII). Smith leaves himself vulnerable to criticisms by fundamentalists who decry the use of the incarnational (in Letter X), but from me, he gets nothing but props.

I enjoyed this book dearly for its honesty (and really, that’s about all I ask from writers, that they are upfront about their beliefs/agenda/subjectivity), and coming clean about the Reformed tradition’s troubled history with race was just what the doctor (okay okay, just I) ordered. In the chapter entitled, “God’s ‘Social’ Gospel,” Smith emphasizes (and rightly so!) that God’s economy of salvation is people-centric since the biblical authors’ use of YOU is primarily plural. In Texas, we could just translate it as Ya’ll. God in essence creates a third race a new humanity, a people Jewish and Gentile; thus, the Reformed tradition condemns what occurred in South Africa (page 69), especially with the Belhar Confession where the church admits its sin.

I know what you are thinking. Does all of this generosity and praise mean that I am headed back towards Geneva? Indeed, no it does not! The whole Jonathan Edwardsean/ John Piper self-glorifying vain g*d thing is something that will never sit right with me– I just have not found the right words yet, especially since its so dependent on the words of a creed that I do not adhere to.

I hope someday that James K. A. Smith will contribute a work that fully articulates his view of being a peopledom of God and how that it can help all persons engaged in anti-racist theologies.

James K A Smith on Race and Reformed Theology

About two weeks ago, I received the good news that I was going to be receiving a free book, and James K A Smith would be answering my question for his book. It was a brilliant response, and I feel satisfied, which, if you know me personally and have seen me in action at academic conferences, you would know that is an almost impossible feat.

So, here is his video answer to my question:

To, to sum up what Smith is saying here, he is suggesting that there needs to be a confessional model of addressing race issues. Confession of admitting sins publicly as well as relying on Reformed theological statements, such as the Kairos Document and the Belhar Confession, as the starting point for addressing racial injustice. That, along with the Reformed emphasis on the covenant established by Christ, in which God is not a respecter of persons.

Enhanced by Zemanta