Document: H. Evan Runner, The Radical Christian Facing Today’s Political Malaise (Grand Rapids, MI.: SPECTRA, 1972).
Excerpt: Though it is true that I am a professor‐‐even a professor of philosophy, it is not as a professor of philosophy or as a professor at all, that I wish to speak to you this evening. Of course, I realize that it would be hard to conceal the fact that I have had the great privilege of being a professor of philosophy and of teaching students philosophy, particularly how to engage in the enterprise of philosophizing in a Christian manner, for a number of years, just as it would be hard for an electrician or plumber or a real-estate broker to conceal what he does with his life in a more specialized way. But tonight I want to talk to you as a simple Christian believer, simply as one who professes to be one of Christ’s “little ones”. In that sense, I hope you will receive me as a professor. In my daily work I attempt to carry out that central profession or calling in a specialized way, as everyone, else here also does, as a professor of philosophy. So tonight, though what I have to say may at times betray the fact that I spend my days reading, talking and teaching philosophy, it is as a professor of that one Name that is above every other name, that I wish to be listened to as I discuss our common responsibilities as a people of God in the world of American politics. I am no specialist in political science. I speak tonight as an aroused and concerned believer.
As you have heard, the organization which has arranged for this series of discussions to be held throughout the winter is a student organization. I do not wish to minimize that fact for one second. On the contrary, I wish to bring it in a lively way to your attention: for I am proud of these students. The fact that Spectra is an organization of students does not make this an academic occasion any more than the fact that I am a professor does. These students are young people and they are concerned as young Christian believers about what the stance of Christians ought to be in today’s political arena. Things are happening in this world of ours‐‐fundamental things, I believe. We have just been passing through years of great upset. We have been made aware of a counter‐culture and subjected to many analyses and interpretations of it. Young people are closest to these significant reversals‐‐from the individual to the communal, from the Gross National Product to a more comprehensive conception, or at least one less economically qualified, of human existence, from manipulation and conditioning to doing one’s thing in personal freedom.
It is not surprising that Christian young people experience under these conditions of upheaval a heightened awareness of the root question: What is human life and how is it to be lived? They are questioning, in a more fundamental way than their parents were able to bring themselves to do, how Christians are to live witnessing lives in the midst of the world and of human history.
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Radical Christian Facing Today’s Political Malaise – H.E. Runner.pdf