Creative Politics: Democracy, Socialism, and Christianity

Published on: 28th January, 2021

There are basically four options. When you meet someone you disagree with, you can either kill them, create a system to coerce them, run away, or do politics."

That is one of several quotable quotes in our conversation today on democracy, socialism, and Christianity. Even if you're not Political with a big P, meaning maybe you simply don't want to get into it with Uncle Terry on Facebook, both our guests today would probably venture to say it's not easy to avoid being political with a little p. That is, if being political just means finding ways to negotiate our common life together.

Historically speaking, Christianity is in the very root systems of democracy and socialism. What philosophies, and what Christian ideals, are at the heart of both of these systems of organizing common civic life? How have they actually played out?

Our guests today approach democracy and socialism, not as buzz words, but as ways of enhancing and guiding how we think of each other and how we approach citizenship in the communities and countries in which we find ourselves. And they uncover some fascinating history, like:

Why and when did established churches make the turn toward supporting democracy, a system that sought to de-establish them as nationally governing bodies?

Why were some of the great socialist figures in earlier generations also Anglicans?

What does this mean as we make decisions for how to live in our times?

Listen and find out.

Our guests today include:

Dr. Luke Bretherton, Robert E. Cushman Professor of Moral and Political Theology and Senior Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke Divinity School, and the author of Christ and the Common Life: Political Theology and the Case for Democracy.

Dr. John Orens, who is the Professor of European History at George Mason University and author of Stewart Headlam’s Radical Anglicanism: The Mass, the Masses, and the Music Hall(Gotta love that title.)

Our conversation is moderated today by Covenant blog author Dr. Stewart Clem, assistant professor of moral theology and director of the Ashley-O’Rourke Center for Health Ministry Leadership at Aquinas Institute of Theology.

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About the Podcast

The Living Church Podcast
The Living Church Podcast explores ecumenical topics in theology, the arts, ethics, pastoral care, and spiritual growth — all to equip and encourage leaders in the Episcopal Church, Anglican Communion, and beyond. A ministry of the Living Church Institute.