David Batstone decries political and theological imagination in "Utopia: No Garden of Eden" (July-August 2002). He accurately points out that "imagination can...produce false hope...." He urges us to give up the pursuit of the ideal and content ourselves to take up permanent residency in the land of contradiction and ambiguity.
Perhaps I don't understand the full import of what Batstone is attempting to communicate. But in the wake of the corporate scandals at Enron, MCI, and a host of other firms, it seems a rather strange time to invite people of faith to relocate to the land of moral contradiction and ambiguity. I am profoundly grateful for the clear moral vision of Christian leaders such as William Wilberforce, John Woolman, and Dorothy Day and the difference their biblically inspired imaginations made in the larger society. As I recall the lives of these leaders, I don't have the impression that their compelling sense of vision ever caused them to vacate the "lived relations" of day-to-day life. But it did enable them to motivate others to work for "freedom and justice in a world yet to come."