via Yahoo News:
At 34 years old, Michael Wear has already been a faith adviser to an American president, written two books and developed a reputation as a thoughtful and connected leader in American politics and religion.
Wear is now launching an institution that will train Christians in public life to reject culture-war fights and to emphasize the public service aspect of politics.
Most Christian political organizations argue for politicians to take a position on a few issues of particular concern. Wear’s new group, the Center for Christianity & Public Life (CCPL), will argue that leaders in politics and elsewhere should emphasize personal character and service to the least fortunate….
While Wear wants his organization to engage in political debates over issues, the centerpiece of the organization’s first year will be a fellowship program for a dozen individuals who are already civic sector leaders but are looking to apply their Christian faith more deeply to the way they live their lives, professionally and personally.
Political sectarianism—and the culture it promotes—enables a destructive and suffocating social imaginary. Toxic politics deforms the whole person, along with their relationships and practices. It causes spiritual harm. Our civic culture doesn’t shape governance alone; it affects ever-expanding realms of the social and emotional.
We also need to come to terms with how much it claims and dictates our theology….
Out-party hate has become more powerful than in-party love. Many voters would choose to forgo helping themselves if it means passing up the opportunity to harm their opponents. We’ve lost the imagination for a politics that helps people and instead bought into a political logic that justifies hurting them. And we tell ourselves, This is just how the game is played. They’ll do it to us if we don’t do it to them. But would Jesus agree?…
One of the greatest contributions Christians can make to our politics right now is caring about it without making an idol of it, and then reminding our country that political decisions are very rarely a simple issue of dogma—religious or secular—and more often about prudential matters….
These convictions ground The Center for Christianity and Public Life, a new nonpartisan institution based in the nation’s capital that I, along with our board and staff, have launched this week. Our mission is to contend for the credibility of Christian resources in public life and for the public good. We advance that mission through two parallel streams of work: civic influence and spiritual formation.
No single organization or leader will solve the problems we face. There’s no silver bullet to the social and political dysfunction we see, and we should be wary of quick fixes. It will take many diverse leaders, organizations, churches, and Christians encouraging each other and partnering together to advance a basic vision of faithfulness to God and loving service to the public. This vision is key not just to our organizational vision but to the Body of Christ.