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March 22, 2006



Amen, amen, amen...

brad anderson

great stuff, i really appreciate your thoughts on this. i fear conservatives, especially in the states, are going to write williams off even further after his comments regarding teaching creationism as science. but they won't read the whole story where he notes that he fears this would actually perpetuate a reductionism with regard to what creation is about theologically. seems this might back up what you're saying re: approaches to leadership and issues. perhaps his theological and historical knowledge give him an insight into things that prevents him from rushing into judgment or action.

couple of questions if you have time: how exactly is williams' moral leadership seen as a disaster by those who would label it that?
and didn't folks expect this approach to issues and leadership when he was appointed? this is a person who, in my opinion, can be one of the most difficult living theologians to read, whose arguments are always dense and nuanced. were people expecting him to start popping out pithy quotes on morality, etc?
thanks again for the post


Good post. I would like to add some observations.

One, George W. Bush is a smart politician. He recognized early the electoral power in the religious middle. He used it powerfully, running for governor of my home state of Texas, which like the South had been mostly Democrat since Reconstruction after the Civil War. But what he saw, is a group that was called the Reagan Democrats in the 1980s. These are mostly working class, mainstream folk. These were members of labor unions before the unions began shrinking in the 70s and 80s. They were previously supporters of the Democrat party. Their allegiance is not to party or church but to mainstream, working class values. But not all of them vote Republican. They vote mainstream, working/middle class. Analysts fail to fully understand this group when they refer to them as the “religious right.” They are conservative, alright. But conservative was working class Democrat for the middle part of the twentieth century. Conservatives are those who believe that things will get better if we do what we did in the past. Liberals, or progressives, are those who believe that the future is bright if we continue doing what we're doing. Some of us disagree with both.

These are the folk who are smack in the middle of James Fowler's Faith Stages 2 and 3. They are Mythical-literal and Conventional-Synthetic. They not only follow the leader, but they expect that leader to do what he or she promises. They don't really get all the complicated stuff of global politics and religious politics. They don't consider that a single leader in a nation of 300 million can't pull of most of things he promises. In the same way that they piled on the Bush wagon, they will pile off. The Democrat party became rather elitist in the past couple of decades. They bashed the religion of middle Americans, and they pooh poohed their values. Bush and his party are in danger of making the same mistake.

While I agree with your point, I believe there will always be the mainstream who will follow the leader. They will find one to follow if there are no real leaders to be found. They move as a group or a herd. When they turn, they turn as a flock of birds or a school of fish.

Dana Ames

Kester, I really appreciate your ability to pull these things together. Bill has some excellent insights too.

++Rowan is the man for the hour. The more I find out about him, the more I admire him. God help him.


Paul Fromont

Kester. Thanks for this, particularly the link to the Rowan interview and the commentary you add around the edges. You've pulled it all together very usefully.

Take care.

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