Paul Ray, author of the Cultural Creatives, has an ongoing research project that is chronicling the break down of the old political dividing lines. I was reminded of it when I listened to this very intersting interview with him as part of the lead up to the ‘State of the World Forum.’ If you have never ran into his thought before check it out. I find that he always gets me thinking and right now I am beginning to think about a correlating movement in the church. Maybe there could be an ecclesial version of the New Progressives? I am sure this would be some part of the ‘Great Emergence’ but it may be fun to think through with a new lens.
In an older article in Yes magazine Paul Ray summarizes his research and says:
The easiest way to describe this emerging political constituency is to say that they are at 90 degree angles to both the liberal Left and the social conservative Right, and they are directly opposed to big business conservatism. These “New Progressives” are not “the center” or mushy middle of Clinton lore. They tend to oppose corporate globalization and big business interests, and favor ecological sustainability, women’s issues, consciousness issues, national health care, national education, and an emerging concern for the planet and the future of our children and grandchildren on it. Many of their issues are claimed by the Left, and sworn at by the Right, but their stance departs from both liberal Left and religious Right, as do business conservatives’ stances.
To the parts I put in bold I say, ‘Amen’!
Left versus Right doesn’t work any more
A century ago, Left vs. Right meant progressives and unionists vs. big business and maybe the Ku Klux Klan. But that was before nuclear weapons could destroy life on the planet, before the civil rights movement and women’s movement, before the insurgent radicals of the religious Right came back into politics, and before saving the planet from ecological destruction and globalization became a huge issue. Both the issues and the constituencies of the US have evolved, but our political rhetoric stays frozen in century-old lingo and metaphors, and so have our political parties and our politicians.
Again I would like to give a little Woop! Woop!
I think Obama won because he got this group excited. The traditionally progressive churches are much more the ‘Clintons’ than anything nearing change worth getting up on Sunday for. Without being a lucky kid of cool church planting parents who gave me hope in the church I would probably be a member of the growing ‘NONES’ or post-church people. I bet I am not the only one who thinks there is a new way of being progressive and so I think I am going to think it through.