A Theologian’s Vision of ‘Peasant’ Politics Is Surprisingly Lordly in Scope - Living Strong Television Network
A Theologian’s Vision of ‘Peasant’ Politics Is Surprisingly Lordly in Scope

Ephraim Radner’s “narrow” concern for protecting the mundane goods of earthly life isn’t so narrow after all.

Around 15 years ago, as part of my first or second job out of college, I was sent to serve as the token young person at a lunch hosted by some boutique Washington think tank. The topic of conversation was the “good life” and how best to secure it in a rapidly changing world. Most attendees were in their twilight years, temperamentally and politically conservative, and, to my recollection, mildly appalled when I volunteered that many of my peers might not be convinced of the very premise: that there exists a single good life—oriented around God and virtue—to be sketched and secured.

Ephraim Radner’s Mortal Goods: Reimagining Christian Political Duty has no such doubts about the existence of the good life. But he too breaks from the classical notion my lunch companions had in mind, rejecting the modern Christian West’s association of the good and the life that pursues it with the immaterial, especially the “development of virtue and knowledge of God.”

Radner’s vision is more mundane. The good life of the Christian, he says, consists of receiving from God the mortal goods that are “our bodies, families, work, friendships, sorrows, and delights” and the church, and then surrendering them back to God in life and death. “Tending these goods is our vocation, our ‘service’ or ‘offering’ to God,” Radner contends, and it is also the proper aim of Christian politics, “no more and no less.” The ability to send these basic components of existence back to God in worship and forward to our children in peace should be the “benchmark for Christian political engagement,” Radner advises.

This argument is framed with a …

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