The Common Good
July-August 1998

Seduced by Success?

by Randy Bond | July-August 1998

WHEN ROME EMBRACED Christianity under the emperor Constantine, Rome didn’t change—it remained "the Empire." However, the church did change. It lost its prophetic voice.

WHEN ROME EMBRACED Christianity under the emperor Constantine, Rome didn’t change—it remained "the Empire." However, the church did change. It lost its prophetic voice. It became the religion of empire. It has continued to be the church of empire ever since. It’s only the prophetic voices from the edge such as Sojourners that has kept the gospel alive and viable.

But Sojourners seems to have taken a change of direction the last year or so. When the church and the empire join forces for whatever reason, be it to demonize an enemy or to help the poor, it creates an unholy alliance. Your editorial response to Shelley and Jim Douglass’ letter ("Letters," May-June 1998) seems to prove the point. It could have been written by Madeleine Albright. She said the same thing in her 60 minutes interview with Leslie Stahl. And so it appears Sojourners is embracing the imperial religious concept of redemptive violence.

I suggest you reread Walter Wink’s books addressing the issue of the Powers. It appears you are being seduced by the possibility of success rather than being the prophetic voice that is so desperately needed in this time of economic globalization. Please rethink where you are going. You have been my friend and companion on the Way for many years. It is disturbing to me to think we may be parting ways.

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