The Future of Liberal Theology

A recent post on the blog an und für sich offers both an insightful retrospective on the nature of liberal theology (including noting the irony of the classic language of “husk vs. kernel” which ends up looking a lot like the “letter vs. spirit” dichotomy of supercessionist theologies), and a vision for the future. Here is a long excerpt from that second section:

I take ‘liberal’ theology, in its most positive form, to be a dynamic set of interventions and possibilities, not a fixed position. As such, I believe two things are called for.

First, a theology without essence, or a pluralistic theology. By this, I do not mean the idea that ‘many religions lead to one reality/God’, still less that ‘anything goes’ and we can pick and choose the truth we want. I mean that theology should be experimental: a production of possibilities which fights against the myth that reality is simply given, that a preconceived idea of ‘Nature’ dictates what can and can’t be done, that there is one Orthodoxy or Providence to which all must submit.

Theology’s temptation is to set out a world structure or essence and then determine where we fit into that structure. The problem is that this obscures the fact that such structures are produced, and that they serve particular interests. The most radical insight of liberal theology is that what God is can’t be dictated in advance. On my account, this is not an excuse for relativism, but an affirmation that theology is anti-imperial, anti-supremacist, anti-capitalist, since it resists the domination of reality by a single principle of value. More positively, this means that God ‘is’ the reality which engenders multiple expressions of militant solidarity, the flourishing difference which is the common wealth of all creatures. God is possible, not in the weak sense of ‘may or may not be real’, but in the strong sense of a real possibility of expressing and living solidarity, curiosity, love or forgiveness in uncountable and unforeseeable ways.

The second thing I think is needed is a theology which is partial. Liberal theologies have found that concerns over method and truth have led them into political commitments: taking sides over issues of power, resources, recognition and visibility. These are profoundly material concerns, to do with race, gender and class. A theology which is not merely an echo of a pre-existing hierarchy cannot avoid these political, worldly entanglements. More than that: it should not avoid them, since they are its lifeblood. If theology does not serve the liberation of flesh and blood human beings, it is part of the problem.

Click through to read the rest.

 

  • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

    If theology is “anti-imperial, anti-supremacist, anti-capitalist,” where does it get its “anti-imperial, anti-supremacist, anti-capitalist” funding from?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      There is certainly a potential for hypocrisy. But wanting to see one’s nation’s economy change is not necessarily incompatible with working within that framework in the present, is it? Couldn’t someone who supported capitalism nonetheless still work if they lived in a Communist society, for instance?

      • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

        The reality is that I live under a socialist president who supports Islam while pretending to be a member of a Judeo-Christian capitalist society — that’s not just a potential for hypocrisy, it’s de facto hypocrisy.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          What an interesting context to find oneself in. I myself live in the United States, and so obviously my own context is very different from the one you describe. Where do you live?

          • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

            I wonder how many Americans compelled to embrace Obamcare have also said: “What an interesting context to find oneself in”?

            • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

              Obviously it would be much better if we had a nationalized healthcare system like other developed nations. And so unfortunately Obama’s non-socialist approach is bound to create all sorts of problems, however much better it may have made things for some people.

              • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

                Yes, it’s much better for people like Sandra Fluke, the “social justice” attorney from Georgetown U. who will one day be making a six-figure salary while the nuns of “The Little Sisters of the Poor” still pay for her birth control!

                • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                  Sandra Fluke works for the Little Sisters of the Poor and gets her health insurance coverage through them?

                  Would it not be better to have a national system that provides services without either requiring employers to cover it and which tries to make wellness rather than profit the primary consideration?

        • TrevorN

          The country I live in has a right wing government (and many of its citizens think it is extreme) which, nevertheless, pursues policies far closer to socialism than those of the current American president. I don’t think you have a clue what socialism really is.

          • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

            Obama still has another term to show us what socialism really is.
            And though many Americans had no clue what “hope and change” meant, Rev. Al Sharpton explained it all after the election.
            “… the American public overwhelmingly voted for socialism when they elected President Obama,” said Sharpton.

            • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

              He has another term? Did you write this comment a very long time ago, and it is only appearing now? Or is this an attempt at humor, and I just don’t get it?

              Anyone who voted for Obama hoping for socialism must be extremely disappointed, don’t you think?

              • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

                I think anyone who voted for robbing Peter to pay Paul was not disappointed at all if they were Paul.
                And Obama still has a second term to finish.

            • TrevorN

              oh, ok.
              Let me explain what I think is going on here. I think you don’t like Obama (for reasons you can’t really outline), and I think you’ve grown up being led to believe that a socialist is a really bad thing, so of course Obama must be one.
              That he hasn’t shown himself to be the slightest bit socialist yet is just part of the cunning plan.

              • Michael Wilson

                Your right Trevor, I have no idea what Obama actually thinks, but he certainly hasn’t given any explicit support for socialism and has in fact endorsed capitalism. His health care plan is more conservative than Nixon’s proposal and simularcto Romney’s plan. Real socialist are going the way of dodos and unicorns. The article on the blog doesn’t have much to do with Obama. I think Mr. Decaro is mistaken to tie him into this. The article is pushing a marxist position which Obama is not interested in based on his accomplishments. He’s no Clinton or Reagan, but he is doing his part to maintain the capitalist “empire.” The article endorses a vision far more radical than any thing you’ll find in Democrat or labour politics.

                • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

                  Socialists “going the way of dodos and unicorns”?
                  Isn’t that what Obama and Kerry thought about Putin?
                  Aside from Sarah Palin, who knew Russian 19th century thinking would be making a Communist comeback in the Ukraine?

                  • Michael Wilson

                    Well I think most right wing thinkers understood Putin was interested in getting back Russias power with force. I dont think Obama and Kerry thought Putin was going away, they just thought that his earlier bad behaviour was a result of feeling threatened and disrespected by the west. I dont think it has anything to do with socialism and I dont think his Ukraine action is going to make socialism a hot topic among responsible people again.

                    • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

                      Again, I don’t think socialism is going away if communism is making a comeback in Russia.

                      Many “right wingers” believe Putin is resurrecting the old USSR whose collapse he publicly lamented as “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century!

                    • Michael Wilson

                      Joe, I haven’t seen a lot of evidence that Putin is a communist. His ideology seems to be a mixed bag with no clear focus other than power for Russia. His resurrection of the USSR is not a crusade for communism but a crusade for Peter the Great’s Russia. I don’t for see Vlad trying to export worker revolutions any where, and the violence in Ukraine has been over national ties, not worker revolution. It would be great if Putin did institute communist economic policy in Russia because that would further take money out his hands to cause mischief with. His ties with Syria and Iran are not based on communist solidarity, since they are not communist either but shared hatred of the West,.

                    • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

                      I don’t think an X-KGB spymaster is going back to the time of Peter the Great, even if Putin imagines himself to be a latter day tsar.
                      If you follow the 20 committee on Twitter, Schindler is describing current events as Cold War II with Putin using old-style Soviet destabilization tactics in Ukraine and elsewhere.

                    • Michael Wilson

                      but it isn’t communism Joe. He can use all the KGB tricks he wants, it isn’t communism. We could elect the ghost of Reagan and he could use those same tactics. It isn’t cold war II because their is no ideology at play, just a grab bag of assholes that haven’t come around to global liberal democracy.

                    • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

                      Schindler calls it “Putinism”.
                      “Putinism is a far cry from the Marxism-Leninism that animated the Soviet Union, Putin’s Sovietisms and undisguised affection for some aspects of the USSR notwithstanding. That said, it’s good to remember that Soviet ideology, as practiced, was a pretty cobbled-together edifice too that only had intellectual coherence if you were standing firmly inside the bubble.”
                      http://linkis.com/20committee.com/2014/LJlnC

                    • Michael Wilson

                      The article you linked to suns up my position pretty well. The right wingers that see Putin as a savior from globalism and gays are not socialist. When nimcompoops like Sharpton praise socialism I doubt they have anything in Putin’s Russia in mind (well except the Lena Dunham Obama ad concept they lifted from Putin). However much aid and comfort dingle berries like Adam Kokesh abd Noam Chomsky might get from Vlad’s Russia, their not going to get on board with the idea of Russian or Orthodox supremacy like the CPUSA was able to promote the USSR as the leader of the world wide workers movement.

              • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

                If Obama wasn’t a socialist, explain why Al Sharpton said “the American public overwhelmingly voted for socialism when they elected President Obama”?

                • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                  That is easy – What if Al Sharpton favors socialism and hoped that was what Obama stands for? What if Sharpton misunderstands socialism almost as badly as you do?

                  Now it is your turn. If Obama is a socialist, why isn’t he implementing socialist policies? And, for that matter, what is wrong with socialism, given its close connection with Christian principles?

                  • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

                    Are you saying that the Rev. Al Sharpton, a Baptist minister, misunderstands socialism and it’s so-called “close connection with Christian principles”?
                    If so, what did Peter mean when he told Ananias that the property he sold was his to sell and his to decide how much of its proceeds to give (Acts 5:4)?

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      You think those early Christians didn’t tithe and pay their taxes, but only gave through the church?! Where on earth did you get that idea?

                      And what makes you conclude that Biblical laws related to social justice ought to be ignored when Christians vote for or recommend policies in the very different democratic context we live in?

                    • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

                      Don’t put your words in my mouth and then ask me where I got them from.
                      And we’re still waiting for the Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature to tell us what Peter meant in Acts 5:4?

                    • Michael Wilson

                      James, I cannot speak for DeCaro, but while I think we should be concerned about “social justice”*, we ought not mistake a democratic state for a church. First any institution can be corrupted by power. The Roman church before the counter Reformation was a terrible steward of of wealth as regards to charity (and pretty good stewards in regards to fine art) and it was run by monks and priest. Our goverment is run by wealthy buisness people and lawyers with an itch for fame.

                      Secondly, one can observe how different policies have worked regarding helping the poor over the past century in a variety of states, and those observations have lead me to conclude that transfering wealth to the poor is not always a good policy for the poor when undertaken by a large state. A simple understanding of Christ and government chairity might lead one to think that they should vote for the govermnent to give to every one that ask and to tax all we own and give it to the poor, or at least aim to have the highest tax rates on the wealthy or something like that.

                      The problem that arrises in so many instances (see Venezuela, France, the “PIIGS” among others) is that the tax tends to squeltch economic growth. Money being spent on the poor often does not make them productive and is diverted from a productive use. Each year the amounts of money availible to be taxed declines. Ultimately, one runs out of money to help the poor and they suffer.

                      Or, when a person derives joy from giving, they will work hard, put in extra hours to be able to give. But if they don’t, and you make them give, they will try to hide their wealth, they will move away from you or they will give up trying to make more. Take California for example. The good people of that state have tried for years to alleviate social problems by raising greater tax revenue, but every year 1000s of families leave for other states to escape taxes. That leaves the rest of the state in a lurch. California’s generous welfare programs in the long run will fail those they sought to help just as Greece’s did.

                      *I find social justice a problematic term. People often use it when they should use chairity or some like term. Justice is what one deserves based on merit. You owe people justice. Your not doing any favors by being just. Social justice would be ending slavery because people deserve to profit from their work. But people that are not productive do not deserve someone elses products, if you give it to them, it is chairity, not justice. If one believes, as some do, that chairity is in fact justice, then Jesus is a person without merit. He paid his bills, nothing more. He owed the blind sight and the hungry food. He owed sinners his death on the cross. Now, their is (correct me if im wrong)Luke’s parable about the slave who is repremanded because he thinks he deserves praise for doing his master’s bidding, but I think the justification is that since God is good to us, we owe God obedience. Under a leftist understanding of social justice we owe God shit because as a person of privilege, God owes us goodness.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      I am not persuaded by this argument as a whole, even though there are some important and valid points embedded in it. A God who has everything and determined through his power and wealth who gets what, and decides to lavish wealth on some and keep most of it for himself while leaving others destitute, would not normally be viewed as benevolent. Reflecting the Mediterranean value of limited good, the prophets of ancient Israel viewed the rich as by definition culpable – if others have less, it is because some have taken more than their own share. The legislators of ancient Israel required people to leave the edges of their own farmland and their own crops for others, and also mandated the return of land to its original owners and cancellation of debts once a generation.

                      I think that we can do better.

                    • Michael Wilson

                      Some might argue that is how God seems to operate. However I agree with the writer of Job that questioning the justice of reality is a fools errand, and I think that deciding that life is unfair is a recipe for unhappiness. Given the level of lawlessness in the ancient world, doubtless many people were ripped off. law was the will of what ever consortium had the best fighting force in the area justified by religious mumbo jumbo. But even if your money was fairly earned, and at some level the kings and princes of antiquity earned their plunder since the lives of all people were better under them than under the chiefs and clan elders they replaced, that does not absolve you from the moral dilemma of whether your wealth should go to starving peasants or an ivory throne. Don’t get me wrong, we are all better off because some people wanted ivory thrones, but their is a time and place for everything.

                      Regarding the laws of ancient Israel, leaving gleanings and fallow fields to the poor was probably a good thing, as was the freeing of slaves, in fact eliminating slavery all together would have been best, but the prophets were people of their time. on the cancellation of debt though, I suspect that Deuteronomy’s expansion of the covenant code on Sabbath years was implemented as a reward to those people of the land that put Josiah on his throne (2nd Kings 21.23-25) but if it were maintained permanently, the unintended consequence would have been a sever difficulty in securing loans by those that needed them, exacerbating poverty, not alleviating it. If all loans had to be forgiven every seven years, no one could get a mortgage and so no one would build houses. You can see where that would go. Laws against usury harmed poor people in the Abrahamic world for centuries.

                      Certainly we can do better than now, just as we have done better than then, and back then did better than before. I have a lot of confidence in humanity and our society in particular. That’s why I reject the tea party’s pessimism on Obamacare. My expertise in economics and the insurance market doesn’t give me the ability to tell you what will happen, but I’m confident that if the people feel the same way about it 3 or 5 years, they will get rid of it and will have just reason to do so, and if they don’t, it will be because they grow to like the law because the law will deliver what they want. Our current impasse is a weird blip caused by a perfect storm of political foolishness that will pass soon.

                    • Michael Wilson

                      Their are broad understandings of what socialism means which is confusing. For Lenin, socialism meant state ownership of virtually all property, while for Hitler it did not, even the means of production were privately owned in Nazi Germany. Your citing of “Luke’s” story of Ananias is a good example of how his Christian community viewed property, which certainly wouldn’t fit a more totalitarian view of socialism, your right, Peter acknowledges that property belongs to individuals. I think it also shows what I think is important to remember about Christianity, it is not a political ideology. Peter in this story does not see himself as a challanger to Rome’s political power and does not view his call to alms as enforceable by human means. He does not kill Ananias for cheating the church, God does. A state where God is responsible for punishing tax cheats would not last long.

                      Sharpton is a nit wit, so I take his statements with ample salt. Obama may be a socialist of some variety, but his statements and policies don’t reflect that.

                • TrevorN

                  Well it seems to me that you’ve set your own trap, Joe. (By the way I expect that’s the only statement Al Sharpton has ever made that you want to agree with; I bet you don’t think he’s credible or truthful on any other subject, amirite?)
                  Did the American public overwhelmingly vote for President Obama, yes or no?
                  If President Obama is such a socialist, and a significant majority of the American people voted for him, you don’t have much right to complain, frankly.

                  • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

                    So now I don’t have First Amendment Rights?
                    What else don’t I have under Obama?

                    • TrevorN

                      It appears that you don’t have your reason any more. But that’s not President Obama’s fault.
                      Your first amendment rights entitle you to say what you think. So far as I can tell, that’s what you’re doing. I’m not sure why I don’t have the right to say that you’re posting unqualified BS.

                    • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

                      To a true believer like yourself, nothing is Obama’s fault.
                      And it was you that posted I don’t have “much right to complain,” so what other rights don’t I have under Obama?

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      Sure you do. You are using it, and your freedom of speech is protected by law. Trevor’s point is that, if you truly believe that Obama is a socialist, and the majority voted for him, then that is democracy at work. Surely you aren’t opposed to democracy, are you?

                    • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

                      “democracy at work” is not how I would describe a Congress that passes an unpopular law and then exempts itself and it’s staff from its own Obamcare mandate!

                    • TrevorN

                      Well the curious thing there is that the arrangements provided for members of the House of Representatives are far closer to “Socialist Healthcare” than those of the Affordable Healthcare Act. So what’s your complaint? That you should have got more socialist legislation than you actually did?
                      Damn that socialist president and his unsocialist policies!

                  • Michael Wilson

                    Trevor, “significant” and “overwhelmingly” are certaily exaggerations for the 53% (2008) and 51% (2012) of the vote he got. The last time any one got close to a significant percent of the vote was Reagan in ’84 (59%). Use wikipedia when in doubt.

                    • TrevorN

                      “Overwhelmingly” is what Joe quoted Sharpton as saying. But I think “significant majority” is a fair assessment. Maybe not Reaganesque, but definitely a more significant share of the vote than most other recent elected presidents have achieved. Along with the socialist claptrap there’s another right wing fantasy that claims Obama isn’t really a legitimate president because he didn’t get enough votes. I hope Joe isn’t silly enough to have bought into that one too.

                    • Michael Wilson

                      Fair enough

                    • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

                      Were all the people who bought into the ACA “silly,” or were they just lied to by Obama over and over again until it stuck?

                    • arcseconds

                      Can I just ask, what do you hope to achieve by commenting here?

                      Are you hoping to convert us to your way of thinking? If so, do you really think just saying ludicrous things like ‘Obama is a socialist’ and ‘You guys want to take away my freedom of speech’ or trying to make us answerable for Sharpton’s statements is going to do that?

                      What is particularly odd is that you don’t seem to actually want to discuss anything, because every time someone tries to engage with you you don’t respond to them, but come up with yet another non sequitur.

                      How are we going to understand you, let alone believe you, if you don’t actually discuss anything with us?

                    • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

                      And can I just ask, “Were all the people who bought into the ACA ‘silly,’ or were they just lied to by Obama over and over again until it stuck” without you trying to dodge the issue by making this all about me?

                    • TrevorN

                      You ask that as though it is an either/or question. But it isn’t; it’s a dumb/dumber question.

                    • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

                      Disparaging the question is a typical obama-bot response, but why would anyone buy into a bill that Pelosi said they had to pass in order to see what was in it?
                      And on top of that, Obama said they could keep their doctor and their health plan, “period”.
                      Dumb and dumber?

                    • arcseconds

                      Oh, you can ask it, sure (and thereby dodge my question). But why would anyone want to answer it? I mean, it’s obviously a loaded question, and you don’t seem to be asking it in order to engage in a genuine discussion about it, because every time someone responds to one of your talking-points, you ignore it.

                      For example, you claimed Obama is a socialist. You’ve not provided any evidence for that, despite people asking, except for noting that it’s possible that he might suddenly play all his hidden socialist cards in his last two year, and some nonsense about Sharpton.

                      Someone used the phrase ‘you don’t have much right to complain’, a perfectly ordinary turn of phrase, and you decided to interpret that as an attack on your first ammendment rights. Then when pointed out that no-one was doing that, again you dropped the subject.

                      Why would we want to engage with a discussion where you get to make all the silly claims and ask all the silly questions you like, and ignore any responses?

                      And why would you want to do that in the first place? I don’t get it. It just seems like a complete waste of time to me. I can tell you right now that your current tactic is not going to convince anyone; it’s just going to reinforce the belief that there’s a lot of people out there with preposterous beliefs about Obama based on nothing.

                      So if your goal is to convince people that Obama is bad news, I suggest either changing your tactic (maybe you could try having a genuine discussion!), or maybe just stopping now and finding something else to do with your time. McGrath is a biblical scholar, maybe you could ask some questions about the Bible.

                    • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

                      As I’m still here, I didn’t drop anything.
                      If Obama wasn’t a socialist, why did his good friend Al Sharpton say that “the American public overwhelmingly voted for socialism when they elected President Obama”?
                      And if no one wants to address that question, both they and you don’t have to respond, period.

                    • arcseconds

                      McGrath has already responded adequately to this question.

                      We don’t really know and we don’t really care. Sharpton is not an expert on socialism, so his opinion counts for little. It may have been wishful thinking, it may be that it doesn’t understand socialism.

                      Why do you think his opinion is important? Do you go to Sharpton for political analysis normally?

                      It also may be just a piece of political posturing. It’s not uncommon for political figures to make sweeping statements of what the results of an election or a poll mean which aren’t actually really supported by those figures. The winners always claim ‘a landslide of popular support’ and ‘a mandate’ when they get 51% – or even if they get 49%!

                      So there you go, your question answered again.

                      Now, how about you answer mine? It’s a simple enough question.

                      Perhaps you don’t really have any better idea than I do about what you’re trying to achieve here, and you’re trying to cover up your ignorance about your own actions?

                    • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

                      “Why do you think his opinion is important? Do you go to Sharpton for political analysis normally?”
                      I don’t, but Obama sure does; why do you think that is?

                    • arcseconds

                      Does he? I find that extremely unlikely, except perhaps for advice about how to engage Black activists or something.

                      Do you think Obama actually gives serious weight to Sharpton’s opinions about broad political issues, such as the nature of socialism or overall economic direction for the entire nation? If so, why do you think that?

                    • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

                      So you find it “unlikely” that Obama gets advice from Sharpton?

                      What planet do you live on?

                      Tuesday, 08 April 2014 10:34

                      President Obama To Headline Sharpton Conference

                      “The tie between President Obama and Al Sharpton continues to grow stronger, as evidenced by Obama’s decision to headline the MSNBC host’s National Action Network (NAN) conference in New York …

                      “Sharpton has been a regular guest in Obama’s White House, meeting for everything from jobs and the state of the economy to Obama’s young black and Hispanic men initiative, and most recently partaking in the First Lady’s 50th birthday celebration. This is the second time the president has been a guest at the NAN convention, having spoken there in 2011.”

                      http://wisconsinfree.com/index.php/articles/613

                    • arcseconds

                      Yes the two of them meet, I did know that, but I don’t think it means Obama gives Sharpton’s opinions on every matter, and in particular on matters of socialism and the economy, much weight.

                      Do you honestly think that’s what it means?

                      If so, do you normally draw this conclusion whenever two people meet? Or is it just with Obama and Sharpton?

                      (What would your friends think if they found out you were talking to us? Maybe they’d conclude you were a socialist, too!)

                      Or is this just part of a game where you make whatever connections you can between Obama and socialism? Sort of like the ‘Kevin Bacon’ game?

                      I just wish I knew what you were up to. Maybe I could help? Right now, I really can’t see what the object of all of this is.

                    • Matt Brown

                      I’m more of a Ron Paul fan to be honest ;)

                    • arcseconds

                      No, Matt, I’m afraid you aren’t.

                      As one of us mentioned socialism favourably once, or at least, without high enough levels of scorn and antipathy, some of us are clearly socialists.

                      As you turn up regularly, clearly you are taking our advice on all matters political.

                      As you’re taking advice from socialists, you must be a socialist, too.

                      Of course, you may say otherwise, and act otherwise, but you’re just doing that out of expediency, or possibly you’ve decieved even yourself. You’ve still got a few years of your life left, and surely during those years your socialist agenda will become apparent, and you’ll start setting up workers’ communes and organizing general strikes.

                      At least, that seems to be the reasoning at work here, as far as I can figure.

                    • Matt Brown

                      Oh I see your joke haha:)

                    • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

                      You don’t think Obama gives Sharpton’s opinions much weight, yet “The tie between President Obama and Al Sharpton continues to grow stronger, as evidenced by Obama’s decision to headline the MSNBC host’s National Action Network (NAN) conference in New York …

                      “Sharpton has been a regular guest in Obama’s White House, meeting for everything from jobs and the state of the economy to Obama’s young black and Hispanic men initiative …”

                      When it comes to Obama, maybe you just don’t think.

                    • arcseconds

                      You’ve already quoted those things at me. Why do you think it’ll have a different effect this time?

                      What you need to do, assuming once again you want to convince me of something, is to explain more why this is evidence that Obama is taking his economic marching orders from Sharpton. Not just repeat yourself.

                      Also, what does insulting me achieve? People have called you ‘dumb’ here, did that have any effect on you?

                      Why do you think Sharpton has more influence over Obama economically than Jeffrey Zients, the chairman of the National Economc Council? It’s Zients job to advise the President on economic matters. He was appointed by Obama, which would count for something, I would think. I don’t really know anything about him, but he doesn’t sound like a socialist: he’s run investment firms and is extremely rich.

                    • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

                      What I don’t need is you telling me what I need; and thinking that I want to convince you of anything is indeed an assumption as you are a “true believer” in Obama.
                      And if Obama is so confident in Zients why is he meeting with Sharpton in the WH “for everything from jobs and the state of the economy”?

                    • arcseconds

                      It is an assumption, yes. Which is why I said ‘assuming’.

                      I’ve asked you repeatedly to tell me what your aims at participating in this discussion are. Seeing as you won’t tell me, I have to guess.

                      I’m not at all sure that you want to convince me of anything. Your arguments certainly aren’t very convincing. I actually hope you aren’t trying to convince me of anything, but are trying to do something else, what I can’t say, but at least that way you might be succeeding in whatever you’re trying to do.

                      You are suggesting that because they meet and discuss the economy, Obama must be being led by Sharpton on economic matters. This doesn’t seem like a rational conclusion to me, at least not without some premise that you’re not telling me about.

                      So is there a hidden premise that you’re keeping from me? Or do you actually think that it’s rational to conclude from the fact that too people meet and talk about the topic, that they must agree about the topic and one does what the other says about the topic?

                      Obama talks to many people, and I’m sure those discussions often revolve around jobs and the economy. Is he being led by all of these people? If not, why is Sharpton any different?

                      I don’t know why Obama talks to Sharpton. There could be many reasons. I don’t need to give an explanation, because I’m not concluding anything from their relationship: you are.

                      What makes you think I’m a ‘true believer’ in Obama? Just because I don’t think he’s a socialist?

                      You are aware that real socialists are either immensely disappointed in Obama, or never had much hope for him in the first place, right?

                    • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

                      Once again, this is not about me, although you’ve been insisting that it is. But I do know why Obama listens to Sharpton: it’s because Sharpton tells him he’s Jesus.

                      “Wednesday on the ‘Tom Joyner Morning Show,’ Al Sharpton offered a curious explanation involving President Barack Obama for the meaning of Easter:

                      “‘I think that the message is, no matter what the world may do to unfairly, no matter how your crucified, nailed to the cross at home, or in your personal relationships, or on the job that you can rise if you don’t lose yourself during the hard times and the challenges.

                      “‘The story of Jesus on the cross. no matter what they humiliated him with. no matter how they mocked him he took it, because he knew he could rise. And the story of Easter and my message for this Easter session is no matter what unearned suffering you go through, that if you know you can rise above it, don’t become like the diseases that you fight.

                      “‘As I looked at President Obama at our convention last Friday where all he took he’s been able to rise politically again.. I’m not comparing him to Jesus, but I am saying that to every crucifixion there is a resurrection for those who believe…”

                      Yeah, Al’s not comparing Obama to Jesus the same way Jamie Fox “didn’t” introduce Obama as his lord and savior by calling him his audiences’ lord and savior.

                      http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2014/04/16/Al%20Sharpton-The-True-Meaning-Of-Easter-Is-Revealed-Through-The-Political-Crucifixion-Of-Obama?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

                    • arcseconds

                      Hmm… you changed the topic to be about Obama. Now you’re telling me it must stay about Obama. How is that you get to dictate what the conversation is about? Did we vote you in as Topic Decider, or did you assume that duty by some kind of takeover?

                      I’d much rather talk about you. You’re much more interesting than Obama is. Virtually nothing you say makes any sense, which is quite fascinating. If we understand a discourse, we don’t necessarily feel the need to ask questions about the discourser, but when we don’t understand, that’s when we start asking questions. What could he mean by that oracular statement? What is the goal here?

                      But if you won’t tell me, you won’t, and I’ll just have to guess. My current theory is that you’re actually some kind of gnostic, and the process by which you conclude from Sharpton saying something nice about socialism that Obama must be a socialist is a secret that you’ll reveal only to the initiated. That’s why you can’t tell us.

                    • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

                      Can’t? No one has to tell a troll anything.

                    • arcseconds

                      OK. So now he hangs out with Sharpton due to naked over-the-top-flattery. Is this how Sharpton exerts his malevolent socialistic influence over Obama, do you think?

                      It’s kind of interesting, isn’t it, that Obama is a clever, manipulative and deceitful on the one hand, being able to keep his socialist commitments secret from all except you and a few million other far-sighted individuals, until his final couple of years where he will nationalize everything and put everyone into work communes somehow.

                      Yet on the other hand he’s also amazingly gullible and completely open to obvious flattery and will fall under the spell of anyone who says enough nice things about him.

                      You see, this is what I love about you DeCaro. Before having this conversation I would have thought no-one could believe both these stories simultaneously, because they seem on the face of it completely contradictory. But nevertheless, you manage it!

                      You may be on to something about the flattery thing, though. It doesn’t seem likely that Obama is that naïve or stupid to fall for this himself. But it’s quite useful for him to have someone telling other people — potential voters — that he’s some kind of Christlike hero. Perhaps that’s what Sharpton’s real use is to Obama? Not as an economics adviser, a position that he has no qualifications for whatsoever, even amongst socialists and radicals, but rather as a pocket demogogue, something that he really does bring to the table. Sharpton apparently has some ability and clout in the black activist crowd, and it’s no doubt very useful for Obama for Sharpton to keep talking him up to that community.

                    • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

                      Sharpton “hangs out” with Obama the way the people of Jonestown hung out with Jim.
                      From Sibelius to Sharpton, Obama surrounds himself with incompetent sycophants who have turned this administration into a “garbage in, garbage out” government.

                    • arcseconds

                      Also, if true Obama believers are a lost cause, and you think that’s what we are, why bother talking to us at all?

                      I really just don’t understand what you think you’re trying to do here. My current theory is that you’ve got no idea either, you just found yourself in here spouting spurious paranoid non-sequiturs. A Pavlovian response kind of thing, maybe.

                    • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

                      Or maybe you’re just a troll trying to disparage anyone who is critical of the Obama admin and anyone connected to it.

                • adam

                  IF Obama is a socialist, WHERE are his SOCIALIST policies?
                  Obama care is Corporatism. The merger of business and government.
                  Bush’s wars are all Corporatism.
                  I would bet if you look at Putin and his policies you would find Corporatism as well. Look as Ukraine resources.
                  Jesus spread the biggest Socialist dialog ever..

                  • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

                    So instead of admitting that the redistribution of wealth thru the ACA is socialist, you call Obamcare Corporatism: “the organization of a society into industrial and professional corporations serving as organs of political representation and exercising control over persons and activities within their jurisdiction,” a word salad that seems to encompass everything yet has nothing to do with Jesus or his apostles.
                    See Acts 5:4.

                    • TrevorN

                      Somebody said a few days ago “you can’t truly be this stupid”. Are you on a campaign to prove him wrong?

                    • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

                      So another anonymous Obama-bot said something about me. All that proves is that both of you are doing obeisance to Obama.

        • Guest

          You can’t truly be this stupid . . . .

          • http://www.worthynews.com/ Joe DeCaro

            … to believe Obama when he said that we would keep our doctors and that health insurance premiums would decrease under Obamcare?

    • Eric Thurman

      I believe U2′s Bono provided the answer to that question a long while ago: “Well, the God I believe in isn’t short of cash, mister” (from “Bullet the Blue Sky”).

  • Michael Wilson

    I have thought for awhile on how to come up with a theology that enshrines doubt and can live with the prospect that nothing can be said to be settled. The attempt by this blog post at this stumbles over the implication that ultimately we have to question our notion of what is good as well. The post wants to have it both ways. It says that “God is can’t be dictated in advance”, but then dictates in advance that God “is anti-imperial, anti-supremacist, anti-capitalist”. I had a professor that bought into this line of thinking, that “theology should be experimental: a production of possibilities which fights against the myth that reality is simply given, that a preconceived idea of ‘Nature’ dictates what can and can’t be done, that there is one Orthodoxy or Providence to which all must submit.” which effectively meant she disregarded facts that contradicted her pre-dictated view of God and theology. It was radical close mindedness masquerading as open inquiry. [Because I know what is true, I have to be open minded about reality in the event it contradicts the truth.] The deficiency of the approach is evident regarding what the post gives as a, in my opinion reasonable, end of theology, “the liberation of flesh and blood human beings.” By this standard, however, theology that is anti-capitalist, and even anti-imperialist, is “part of the problem” since objectively, capitalism and even empires have liberated more flesh and blood human beings than competing ideas.* But since subscribers to this theology have determined in advance that God is anti-capitalist, the reality of the world has to be rejected and substituted with special pleading.

    Another professor exemplified this sort of thinking by arguing that since American society was not less capitalistic than it was in the 50′s and 60′s, it must be more racist despite the obvious lack of equitable racial violence and overt racist behavior. Our current day, which has more racial integration in marriage, entertainment and politics, must be more racist somewhere because we are not more socialist.

    *I recomend Steven Pinkers “the better angels of our natures” to explain the way human civilization has been steadily improving throughout history. Interstingly empires tend to reduce violence and increase prosperity. Clearly by comparing free market and command economies over the past centuries the verdict is clear, command economies are disasters for the environment, for human rights, and for alleviating poverty. Even Europe, which some hold as a different model of socialism apart from the failed communist states of the Iron curtian, Maoist China, Cuba, N. Korea and so on, even Europe is more right wing than it was 30 years ago. Look at France, they have their first socialist predident in 16 years and his approval is in the toilet among the French.


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