Evangelical Left admits it doesn’t really exist

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Brian McLaren

(The Power of One)

Brian McLaren. Photo courtesy of Brian McLaren

(RNS)  President-elect Donald J. Trump won with the largest share of evangelicals since evangelicals became a thing in the 1980s. So what should we make of the much heralded media darlings of the evangelical left?

Several leaders in the memberless movement spoke to The Literalist about the future of lefty evangelicalism.

“I’m ready to admit we’re a group of leaders without followers,” said Ron Sider, Distinguished Professor of Theology, Holistic Ministry and Public Policy at Palmer Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. “But we will always have our seminary and college courses to make it feel like we’re preaching to a congregation of believers.”

How many Americans today see themselves as peace, Earth and neighbor-loving, and Jesus-following Christians, and as evangelicals?

“Beyond us?” Sider asked, motioning around the focus group of the lefty evangelicals convened by The Literalist. “Pretty sure it’s just us.”

“We’ve written more books about the Evangelical Left than there are actual progressive voters who self-identified as evangelical,” added Clinton spiritual advisor Tony Campolo. “We thought if we got covered in Religion News Service enough, people would follow. Turns out that didn’t work.”

Campolo said his publisher came to him after the election asking him to write a book on Trump with Brian McLaren. “We even had a working title, ‘Evangelical Resistance: Hope in the Era of Trump.’ But if we’re honest with our ourselves, there is no hope for evangelicalism.”

The undisputed leader of progressive evangelicalism, measured by media coverage, is Sojourners founder Jim Wallis. He’s even proposing a four-year moratorium on media coverage of the white evangelical left.

“We will turn our focus away from promoting a nonexistent political force and instead try to actually build one,” Wallis said. “That’s why I’m also cancelling all speaking engagements and trips to Davos for the World Economic Forum. So that way, perhaps during Trump’s second term, there will actually be something to promote.”