No Centrist Gospel

I AGREE WITH Richard K. Taylor ("Seeing the World Through New Lenses," January 1993) in deploring rationalizations for violence. And yes, "looking at life through a single ideological lens can distort our view of reality, loosen our grasp on the gospel, and even harden our hearts." However, Mr. Taylor, blinded by an ideology of uncritical generalizing, offers us his own brand of apologetics.

Suffering cannot be quantified and must never be minimalized. However, it always demands contextualization. It is a great deceit to bemoan abuses in El Salvador and Nicaragua, and Cuba and South Africa, as if they were interchangeable privations. Such facile condemnation neglects these diverse realities, especially our nation's abuse of power, and has been used historically to deride and divide those seeking justice.

Does Jesus, as does Taylor, rail against those who are "blind to the good things about the United States [Roman Empire] ... that have contributed to human liberation in many parts of the world?" Or is his good news fundamentally at odds with the ethos of Caesar? The gospel challenge for all-encompassing love is not reducible to political centrism.

Michael McGinnis

Havertown, Pennsylvania

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Sojourners Magazine May 1993
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