RADICAL CENTRIST





July 20, 2019



I have never aligned myself to either political party of the United States. I have always been in what I call, the EXTREME MIDDLE. Over the years I have begun calling myself a radical centrist.





WHAT IS A RADICAL CENTRIST

(Defined first politically then theologically)


Politically... The "radical" in the term refers to a willingness on the part of most radical centrists to call for fundamental reform of institutions.

The "centrism" refers to a belief that genuine solutions require realism and pragmatism, not just idealism and emotion.

Most radical centrists borrow what they see as good ideas from left, right, and wherever else they may be found, often melding them together.

Some observers see radical centrism as primarily a process of catalyzing dialogue and fresh thinking among polarized people and groups.

Radical Center...is not neutral, not middle-of-the-road, but a view of the whole road.


KEY POINTS


Ideology limits the capacity of reasoning. Reasoning is based on pragmatic reality and circumstance.

Centrism is not a belief. It is an open book to an unfolding situation.

This does not mean it is moderate, but that it is considerate of changing circumstances that may require reconsideration based on the intelligence (evidence) available.

Centrism is not about doing what is popular, it is about doing what is right.

Centrism supports strength, tradition, open-mindedness, and policy based on evidence not ideology.

Centrism is considerate of traditional values and new ideas in the context of evolving needs.

Centrists are independent thinkers that gauge situations based on context and reason, consideration and probability.


Theologically...

Being centrist must not be confused with taking the middle road between fundamentalism and liberalism. It embraces the truth in both camps and negates the untruth in these positions as well. Being a centrist evangelical means building upon the center or core of faith--the gospel of God's reconciling act in Jesus Christ attested in Holy Scripture and clarified by the fathers and teachers of the faith through the ages.


Theologically, the centrist is orthodox, typically labeled moderate to conservative somewhere on the spectrum between fundamentalism and liberalism holding a high view of Scripture, the work of Christ (incarnation, substitutionary death/atonement and resurrection), salvation through Christ alone and God’s redemptive mission.


With all this in consideration here is how I would define a Christian centrist:

an orthodox (as defined by the Nicene Creed) believer in Christ who develops his/her peripheral theology (any belief not explicitly defined by the Nicene Creed) by honestly considering all ideas equally without concern for ideological consistency or popularity. Instead, their concern is forming convictions grounded in their core faith and based on context and reason. They are willing to change positions or enact reforms when better evidence or new circumstances convince them that any previously held peripheral belief has become inadequate. Their investigative and open nature drives them to understand why someone with a differing opinion believes what they believe without believing the same or taking offense. In this way, they can peacefully debate others because the end goal is their own edification.


Pastor Nancy Creason,

Sinner and Saint in the

United Methodist Tradition