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Ideologies and Idols

By November 24, 2017 No Comments
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By Jason Lief

When I think about the future of Perspectives I’m optimistic. Why? We’re still here!

So many journals have disappeared, unable to survive the technological revolution. Maybe Perspectives is like an indestructible weed that resists every attempt to snuff it out. Or, maybe we have something to offer as a voice of Reformed Christianity. There are advantages to being small. People do the work because we believe in it, not to gain status or points in some political game.

We believe that the Reformed tradition has something important to offer the broader Christian community. There are issues that need to be discussed. Sure, most of them are controversial, but we can only ignore them for so long. We need a space where people with different political and theological beliefs can try to find common ground, even as we acknowledge our differences. We need a space where we can agree and disagree with each other respectfully.

There are some significant opportunities for Perspectives in the upcoming year. We’re working to expand our online platform so we can be more responsive to current issues, and to provide more diverse voices. By doing this we have an opportunity to live into what’s good about Reformed Christianity.

We live at a time of heightened political and theological tension. Increasingly, we’re driven by ideology instead of engaging in thoughtful conversation. Karl Barth says that every ideology eventually becomes an idol that possesses us, determining our identity, and guiding our actions. Barth goes on to say that too often we measure and evaluate “others only from the standpoint of whether they are supporters of this ideology, or whether they might become such, or whether they might at least be useful to it even without their consent, or whether they must be fought as its enemies.”

Will Perspectives become a place where Christians can thoughtfully and respectfully engage in important discussions over important political, cultural, and theological issues? I hope so. Can it became a place for Christians to wrestle with what it means to love God and love our neighbor at this particular historical moment? We need to. We’re on the way, but we need your help.

Please consider contributing to our cause by giving what you can.

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Jason Lief

Dr. Jason Lief teaches courses in Christian education and youth ministry. A Northwestern College graduate, he served as the chaplain for Pella (Iowa) Christian High School while earning a master’s degree in theology from Wheaton College Graduate School. He also completed a doctorate in practical theology from Luther Seminary. He previously taught theology and youth ministry at Dordt College for 10 years. Dr. Lief is the author of “Poetic Youth Ministry: Loving Young People by Learning to Let Them Go” and "Christianity and Heavy Metal as Impure Sacred Within the Secular West: Transgressing the Sacred.”

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