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Front Page » Authors » Bio for Zack Exley » Archives for Zack Exley

By Zack Exley on August 8, 2008

As the ad begins, the words “It should be known that in 2008 the world shall be blessed. They will call him The One” flash across the screen. The Antichrist of the Left Behind books is a charismatic young political leader named Nicolae Carpathia who founds The One World religion (slogan: “We are God”) and promises to heal the world after a time of deep division. One of several Obama clips in the ad features the senator saying, “A nation healed, a world repaired. We are the ones that we’ve been waiting for.” (Amy Sullivan, Time Magazine)
Anyone want to weigh in on the new McCain ad that tries to equate Barack Obama with Nicolae Carpathia, the Antichrist from the Tim LaHaye’s Left Behind series? Here's the ad...

Read more of this post here ...

By Zack Exley on July 11, 2008

We went to a church house group Sunday night. A few people there said they read this blog! So they will laugh when they see see this story. Or maybe they were just humoring me and they don’t really read the blog. I will soon see…

So, here’s a typical and awesome story. I’ve met a whole bunch of people with a progression similar to this. There were at least a few other people with the same basic story there tonight; I also met a bunch of these guys on my visit to Ozark Christian College; and I’ve met scattered others.

“Ted” is about 23 (I think), really tall, blond, with a smile that never leaves his face. He grew up in a conservative evangelical family, going to a small country church in South Dakota.

Read more of this post here ...

By Zack Exley on May 20, 2008

[Continuing on here from my last post. Sorry about the meandering style, but it really helps to get feedback on these little unfinished fragments. I tried writing one giant argument on this topic, but it just got too long and crazy.]

Both mainstream and radical Christians seem equally as uncomfortable with the image of Jesus as the practical leader and organizer of a real, live, gritty movement. Movements always eventually make mistakes and turn ugly. And Jesus’ movement sure went on to make a lot of mistakes. Therefore we go back and try to cleanse Jesus of getting his hands dirty as a practical organizer. We like the image of him getting his hands dirty hanging out with sinners and serving the poor. But we don’t like the image of him ordering around a large insurgent organization, because we know from our own experience that that always has many unpleasant consequences for everyone in the end.

Read more of this post here ...

By Zack Exley on May 19, 2008

(Or: Is Bad Organizing Biblical? Or, What Would Jesus Do With Democracy? Or, Review of Jesus for President, Part 4)

I’ve been watching this rising movement of Christian radicals for a few years with nothing but complete awe and admiration. But I’ve finally worked up the nerve to ask a few questions — to pose a challenge even.

I think the movement is making an idol out of smallness and slowness. Small and slow can be beautiful, but making an idol of them is wrong because big and fast can be just as beautiful and just as central to living as a follower of Jesus. By ruling out big, unified, global political organizing, the movement is tragically limiting the Christian imagination at a time of great opportunity. Jesus didn’t limit himself to the small or slow, and I can’t find anything in the Bible to make me think he’s calling us to limit ourselves now.

But maybe I’m missing something...

Read more of this post here ...

By Zack Exley on May 16, 2008

I grew up an atheist, but recently I have fallen in love with a movement that seems to be the most dynamic element of Christianity in American today. It’s a movement based on radical idealism, a faith that “all of creation will be redeemed.” These people are working toward a world with no poverty, no violence, no hatred or racism. And they believe they can do it. Even some of the most conservative evangelical churches are beginning shift away from the narrow, exclusive theology of “personal salvation” to a holistic gospel that calls Christians to build the “Kingdom of Heaven” right here on Earth.

My whole life, I’ve been searching for a movement that has the guts to try to truly save the world. The progressive movement in which I grew up has been in a downward spiral of lowered expectations. Meanwhile, Christians are charging forward with revolutionary zeal — and are even calling themselves “revolutionaries”!

There is one big problem, though: These revolutionary Christians have adopted a theory of social change that is just as narrow and unimaginative as the old theology they just left behind...

Read more of this post here ...

By Zack Exley on May 15, 2008

As an activist and organizer, I used to have a vision of my role in social change that kept me protected in a certain way from people and their problems. When I was a union organizer and community organizer, I spent countless hours at workers’ kitchen tables listening to their problems. Often they cried. I consoled. By a few months into a campaign, I knew enough about so many interconnected lives in a workplace or neighborhood for 100 John Sayles screenplays.

But my purpose wasn’t to help people, it was to “help them help themselves.” I wasn’t a social worker. In fact, as hard-nosed organizers, we were taught disdain for social workers who ministered directly to people’s short term needs. We were even advised by many of our mentors not to socialize with the people we were organizing, “because it could complicate things.”

When I met her, my wife Elizabeth became a new mentor to me. As a Christian who had always led a “missional” life, there had never been a time in her life when she wasn’t personally intertwined with a whole bunch of troubled lives....

Read more of this post here ...

By Zack Exley on April 2, 2008

Yesterday, I introduced the co-author of Jesus for President, Shane Claiborne, who is a phenomenon with no equivalent outside of the born again Christian subculture. He openly and unambiguously opposes capitalism and “empire,” and because the source of his politics is the Bible he has an exploding audience in the American evangelical church — especially the white, upper-middle class church.

Shane’s first book, Irresistible Revolution is being read at this moment by probably thousands of little bible study groups around the country. Jesus for President, written with Chris Haw, is already a best seller. Both books are part of a greater mass audience theological trickle-down of 2,000-year-old themes that have been making a come back among Christian intellectuals for sometime...

Read more of this post here ...

By Zack Exley on April 1, 2008

Shane Claiborne has an exciting new book out called Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals, this one co-authored with co-conspirator Chris Haw. It’s a beautifully designed, reframing of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation — sort of an activist introduction to a thing called Narrative Theology, which is all the rage among Christian Revolutionaries.

Last year, Shane gave me my single best piece evidence for convincing skeptics that something absolutely incredible is going on inside the church.

First, I show them this picture (Shane, the speaker, is one of those specs down on stage). Some kind of right-wing Christian rally, right? It’s looks like they’re all on their feet reading something together off those screens. How fascist...

Read more of this post here ...

By Zack Exley on March 16, 2008

Suddenly, the DNC finds itself with the responsibility for saving the campaign of the eventual nominee, whomever that may be. But no one seems to notice.

If Super Tuesday had been decisive, then, by now, the presumptive nominee would already be two months into building the strongest national field campaign ever seen in U.S. politics. Both Hillary and Obama have brilliant field teams and, as the nominee, either one would have virtually unlimited financial and volunteer resources. It was going to be beautiful.

But now it's possible that decisive work on a national field campaign won't even begin until August. Essentially, that's what happened in 2004 (for very different reasons). I witnessed the consequences of that train wreck close up in a dozen swing states in September and October while working for the campaign. And I'm telling you, if that happens again, it doesn't matter how much more money the Democrat has than McCain: if its a close race where field organizing is important, then the Democrat will lose.

Read more of this post here ...

More blog posts by Zack Exley:

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