OST is closed for business but its spirit survives on my blog.
"So I am too a bit troubled by some of the things I see within emergent:
a perception of extreme anti-Americanism (and I am not an American by
the way) for example which borderlines on a strange socio-communist
agenda, and I say that with no critical heart at all, just a genuine
observation. Since I’ve lost two thirds of my life to communism, you
may understand why this matters to me personally."
Wow, I didn’t really see this criticism coming. Of course, as an American who is studying religio-political fundamentalism in an American context through sociological perspective, I can certainly be accused (or, perhaps, misrepresented) by some as being anti-American. (Acknowledging, Virgil, that you have named no one.) However, my criticisms of my own country are more in the line of the criticisms of MLK or even the OT prophets: the calling of nation to higher ideal, bringing it into account via a source beyond itself (we widely call this American Civil Religion here in the states as it applies to our country) is certainly not the same as condemning the country, hating what it stands for, or, really, anti-American in any sense. Certainly we wouldn’t call the prophets anti-Israel!
I presume, Virgil, that you are not living in the states? If not, I think you may be surprised at the kind of media to which we are exposed. I have a Swedish visiting-scholar friend who was appalled at the ethnocentricity of our media and our inability to hear non-American perspectives. Of course, we also have a president who just recently explicitly made the case that he was above the law when it came to his duties to protect the country, i.e.: he could do whatever he deemed necessary to accomplish this mission and was accountable to no one in its pursuit. We live in genuinely scary times here (as does everyone else for that matter) — and I imagine that the times in which you lived under communist rule were also quite "scary". Just as perhaps your experience colors the glasses through which you look at the historically-defined *other* of communism (i.e.: American-style democracy) — and how you react to related criticisms of it, so also perhaps are my glasses colored by living within a nation that appears, for all intensive purposes, to be crumbling a bit at the foundations. How will a Christian live within an empire that comes dangerously closer on a daily basis to tyrannical rule and has the largest military in the history of the world?
I don’t mean to overstate, but this is a genuine concern of mine at this point and I am working very hard to not be naive about these things. Emergent gives me a Christian community through which I can theologically prepare to oppose the powers that be.