October 1, 2018

AMEN, BROTHER:

Christianity and Resistance: An Interview with Alan Jacobs (Wen Stephenson interviews Alan Jacobs, OCTOBER 1, 2018, LA Review of Books)

WEN STEPHENSON: I've always seen you as a theologically "orthodox" Christian intellectual who is neither of "the right" nor "the left." Is that a fair description? How do you identify or describe yourself religiously, politically?

ALAN JACOBS: It's not easy for me to do. Really, for me it's a set of strivings, instead of a set of realized achievements. I do often say I'm a small-"o" orthodox Christian, in the sense that I believe in the great ecumenical creeds, the Nicene Creed, the Apostles' Creed. I see those as the template of basic Christian orthodoxy over time. But also I'm an Anglican, almost my whole adult life -- when I became a Christian in college, I really only spent a few years in kind of low-church evangelical congregations before I found the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition. If you're an Anglican, you get habituated to living in the midst of difference. You come to discover that, even when people can sign on to that orthodoxy, there are still enormous differences on all sorts of issues, and you learn to live with that.

As far as left and right goes, what I strive to be is what Cardinal Bernardin called the "seamless garment" Christian -- the seamless garment of life. I try to be consistently pro-life. And what that means in practice, for instance, is that my wife Teri and I do support crisis pregnancy centers, and we also are involved with the Waco Immigrants Alliance. Whoever is marginalized, whoever is despised, whoever is being left behind by society, whoever is being ignored and demeaned and treated as less than fully human, or having inferior value, then for me those are the people that Christ calls us especially to minister to. And so that's what I strive for. Of course I don't achieve it, but that's what I want to be.

And what that means is, I will freely admit to being scandalized by the number of abortions that there are in America -- it grieves me, it breaks my heart. But my heart is also broken by what my government is doing to immigrants right now. And my heart is broken by what now appears to be the everlasting legacy of white supremacy. It's broken by people who, in the richest country in the history of the world, do not have health care. There's just no excuse for that. So that's what I try to do -- to promote life wherever it is endangered, wherever it is marginalized, wherever it is demeaned. That's the kind of Christian I want to be.

Posted by at October 1, 2018 6:34 PM

  

« PROFILES IN HYSTERIA: | Main | ...AND RICHER...: »