Finding A Voice

This week's NPR religion podcast is causing me to revisit the Pat Robertson remarks about Israeli PM Ariel Sharon.

The evangelical Christian community was quick to separate themselves from Uncle Pat's ramblings. This leaves the media with a new dilemma. No self-respecting Christian wants to be identified with Robertson's opinions; he's just a lone-lunatic who represents only himself. So now, they need to find a new spokesman, someone to quote when something crazy happens in the world. Amy Sullivan at the Washington Monthly blog offered up her suggestions to replace Pat and also defunct blowhard Jerry Falwell. Her list frightens me more than a hairspray shortage at the TBN studios. Here's the men she offers up [notice no females. Interesting?] and my immediate vote on their representation of the evangelical nation.

Ted Haggard- Not my President.
Rick Warren- The guy I [purposely] like best on this list.
Brian McLaren- Does he even know what he believes?
Joel Osteen- Um, no.
Rod Parsley- Um, seriously, no.
Franklin Graham- I'd rather have his dad.
Jim Wallis- Well intentioned, but a too liberal for even me.
Ron Sider- Call me ignorant but I really don't know who he is
Tony Campolo- I just can't see it.
Herb Lusk- See Ron Sider.
TD Jakes- Sorry, but thou art loosed.

So with my almost unanimous rejection of this list I'm left to wonder a few things.
- Are my standards too high?
- Am I expecting these guys to be/do more than humanly possible?
- Is the problem with me, feeling caught in the middle of the conservative/liberal theological spectrum?
- I am just stuck up?

I'm still sorting through those questions but, in the meantime, who's my choice to speak for American evangelicals?

No one.

That's right, I'd prefer silence.

It's an impossible task, so why even bother? No one would think of selecting one person to be the official spokesperson for all American Caucasians. And it's the same thing with evangelicals. If you gathered that group above in a room, how many issues do you think they'd agree on? I'd be embarrassed to hold the theology of at least half the guys on that list so why would I want them answering spiritual/theological/cultural questions on my behalf? True, I share some of the same foundational beliefs as these guys- Jesus, Bible, etc. But when some of them open their mouths, it makes me want to hide . . . or hurl . . . or do both.

Obviously this whole debate hinges on whether or not I continue to identify myself as an evangelical. Of that I'm not too sure. I find myself drifting back to my Restoration Movement roots where just being a Christian was enough. This way no one has to do the talking and I can just let Jesus speak for me.

If only it were that simple.