5. Discussion points about Part VII - Envisioning
Absolutely nothing about it in the words of Jesus or the rest of the NT. Even the Revelation to John is not about a vision we should strive to make true, but one that will be true regardless – indeed, already exists in some way. The emphasis on Kingdom living, of Christians behaving in certain ways for the good of others (and ultimately, themselves) contains no hint that this will change this world – no hint of a vision we are supposed to be striving to bring about. Even in the Acts of The Apostles, when many thousands of people lived or attempted to live this way by grace for a short time, there is not a whisper from Peter, from Paul, from John or James, that this is going to or even intended to be a model that will eventually include nonbelievers. Those dreams are added on later, much later. Until the Renaissance/Reformation/printing press/discovery of the New World, the dreams of Christians were heavenly, not earthly dreams. (See The Dream of the Rood, Hildegard of Bingen, The City of God.)
It is interesting how even the religious communities we regard as conservative now – Mormons, hard-working Shakers, and Amish – started as liberal groups in their time.
In researching this Vision Thing (as we called it in 1992), I ran across a number of references to Star Trek being a liberal vision of a future world. There might be something to that, but the evidence given was always remarkably the same: it was a world in which people didn’t care about races! And didn’t want war! And wanted a clean environment! As if no one but liberals cares about those things. We are again up against the same wall – if you aren’t as focused on this vision as we are, then you must not care.
Folks were less convinced that Star Wars was a liberal vision. Yet that led me to consider the whole fantasy/sci-fi genre in terms of its political thought. Tolkien and Lewis certainly did a lot of “envisioning,” yet we would hardly put them in the progressive category. Heinlein had a strong libertarian leaning, Asimov was more classical liberal than modern progressive (which would make him rather conservative now). There’s a lot to play with here. When we go into the next discussion section I will want to treat this at length.
Bring us home, John
John Lennon - Imagine