God Loves Adverbs

Newsletter No. 17

Anne Snyder
Anne Snyder is the editor-in-chief of Comment magazine, a publication of Cardus, and the creator and host of Breaking Ground. From 2016 to 2019 she directed The Philanthropy Roundtable‘s Character Initiative, a program seeking to help foundations and business leaders re-envision the nature and shape of formative institutions needed for social and moral renewal in the United States. Her path-breaking guidebook, The Fabric of Character, was published in 2019. Anne is also a 2020 Emerson Fellow, a Trinity Forum Senior Fellow, and a Fellow at the Center for Opportunity Urbanism, a Houston-based think tank that explores how cities can drive opportunity for the bulk of their citizens. She has published widely, and currently lives in Washington, D.C.

It’s political season in the United States. Invariably, every four years, we experience a tightening in the societal chest as the majority hold breaths for a verdict at the tippy-top. This year, more than any other in recent history, fears of a democratic shudder and even civil war are in the air.

Hysterical or legitimate, the stakes are real for Christians desiring to care for the land in which they live. Breaking Ground published two pieces this week to help you think through your allegiance, and more importantly, the how of your allegiance.

In “A Tale of Two Evangelicalisms,” theologian Joel Halldorf reflects on the history behind two different streams of political engagement by the faithful as he’s experienced each—one in his homeland of Sweden, and the other here in the United States.

“This is a riddle I have been trying to solve for decades,” he writes. “How can those whose theology and spirituality are so similar hold such widely different political opinions?”

Halldorf takes the reader on an intricate tour through the evolution of each nation’s democratic fabric, and the role of devout Christians in weaving and/or tearing this fabric. What becomes vividly clear is the strength of a minority mindset to navigate pluralism skillfully while also maintaining such clarity on ultimate ends that the church can be a source of moral conviction for the state, not a pawn.

Read the whole thing. And then toggle over to Daniel Stid’s argument, “We Need More Christian Partisanship, Not Less,” where he pleads with the faithful to forgo the dueling temptations to throw one’s behavioral hat in the ring of today’s partisan norms on the one hand, and to stand apart as supposedly “objective and nonpartisan independents” on the other. “Politics is too important to be left to the politicians,” Stid argues. “[Our] institutional abstention needs to end. It is hurting Christians, the church’s role in our democratic society, and society’s overall health.”