Friend of the Libertarian Christian Institute David Gornoski recently interviewed Jason Jones --- a Catholic activist and human rights worker --- about Catholic social teaching, mimetic theory, and what it means to adhere to a consistently pro-life ethic. The interview…
Christians throughout the centuries have always communicated the good news of the Kingdom of God in the vernacular of their surrounding culture. They have engaged those around them by making use of their culture’s shared experiences so that the gospel is heard in a way they will understand. To be effective means to infiltrate and influence society so that God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven. Those who communicate the gospel effectively are agents of change in the world. One of the challenges for Christians is to avoid letting a culture’s influence dilute the message of the Kingdom of God so as to become ineffective or irrelevant.
The constantly evolving nature of cultures and the inescapable reality of a global pluralist society have become major challenges to the Church in the West, and to Protestantism in particular. The past century has witnessed an unprecedented rate in the change of cultural motifs and the increasing accessibility to these diverse cultures from the foreigner. In centuries past only the wealthy could explore the far regions of the world. Today even the poor can spend a few hours on the Internet to glimpse a foreign cultural experience.
To meet the challenges of a changing global community, a new generation of Christians are diverging from the standard political, social, and theological views they inherited. Although this movement involves the global Christian Church, my experience has been largely within the evangelical community, a relatively recent phenomenon within Christianity’s twenty-century lifespan. Cultural shifts are always a mixed bag, but it is prudent to notice the promise such shifts provide as well as the challenges.
When progressives emphasize social justice by using collectivist phrases like “common good” and “caring for our neighbor,” the typical reaction of libertarians is to focus on their wrongheaded policies and methodology. But libertarians who call themselves followers of Jesus can greatly benefit by understanding an important aspect of the gospel. If the good news of Jesus Christ is sufficient for personal transformation, it is sufficient for social transformation as well. But progressives fail to produce workable and ethical social reform, whereas libertarians offer ideas that are not only compatible with social justice efforts, they offer an ethical social framework within which to produce it.
If you enjoy reading as much as I do, the stack of books on your nightstand is about to topple and your Amazon Wish List is so large it requires its own web host. If our book selection is alike, some of those books share a perspective favorable to our shared bias toward liberty, while others do not. I like to be informed about opposing sides of an issue, but there is so much to learn and not enough time. Every field of study has a plethora of literature from a range of perspectives. Reading multiple full-length books on each one would be immensely time-consuming.
Thankfully there is a market solution to this dilemma. Years ago publishers invented a product for those who want to stay informed but are short on time: the multiple views books. These books contrast the differences of opinion on a single topic in the context of a conversation among experts, all in a single volume. There are trade-offs, of course. Multiple-view books contain theses that are succinct but not fully developed, while single-view books usually are more comprehensive. Single-view books, however, suffer from one disadvantage: the authors are often not engaged in the same conversation.
During a breakout session at the 2015 International Students for Liberty Conference, I was part of a panel with Norman Horn, Jason Rink, and Chris Wolske. In brief comments before a Q&A for the panel, I shared a word on…