As we bring our Hot Topics series to a close at The Ave, I’m offering up some final resources on the topic for this week: Tolerance and the Public Square.
While much could be said here, I’m going to offer some key resources that I think would be helpful for folks to explore.
On the issue of tolerance from a Christian perspective, I cannot think of any other book quite as good as Stan Gaede’s When Tolerance Is No Virtue. This is a brief book that is quite easy to read, but well thought out. Some of my thoughts for my message about replacing the term tolerance with the biblical language of justice came from this book.
There are some important resources for grasping the difficult issue of how Christians relate with the world. Here are three important ones, from my perspective:
Resident Aliens by Stanley Hauerwas and Will Willimon; for a good brief essay by one of these authors, read this.
Christ and Culture by H. Richard Niebuhr
People of the Truth by Robert E. Webber and Rodney Clapp – as with many good books, this is out of print now, but still available used.
Christianity and Politics
Turning to the realm of politics, which I think may have been many people’s area of interest with this topic, I offer the following brief summary of views.
Along with the typical political positions of conservative/right/Republican and liberal/left/democrat, I think it is helpful to outline some further perspectives within the Christian community on engagement with politics.
This is the perspective that America is an experiment in democratic liberty which is religiously rooted. Some key examples of this would be:
Chuck Colson, former aid to President Nixon who converted to Christianity, started Prison Fellowship, and organizer of Breakpoint, an audio program on today’s news and culture from a Christian perspective.
This is the perspective that emphasizes biblical justice as a prophetic stand that critiques the existing political systems.
This is the perspective that America must return to its roots as a Christian nation, shunning pluralism, moral-relativism, and political-secularism.