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A Charism of Political Discernment? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Wednesday, 23 May 2007 22:42
Now this is interesting: a new development in the theology of charisms has just been brought to my attention.

At the end of a long essay by George Weigel in the January, 2003 issue of First Things arguing for US intervention in Iraq, the reader comes across two memorable sentences:

There is a charism of political discernment that is unique to the vocation of public service. That charism is not shared by bishops, stated clerks, rabbis, imams, or ecumenical and interreligious agencies.

William Cavanaugh, associated professor of theology at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, offered this pithy comment:

“Charism” is a theological term denoting a gift of the Holy Spirit. To apply such a term to whomever the electoral process of a secular nation-state happens to cough up does not strike me as theologically sound or practically wise.

Ya think?

Then there are the fundamental tests of a charism - that it cannot be used for evil, that it is an instrument of God's mercy, love, deliverance, healing, wisdom, beauty for others, that it flows directly from one's lived relationship with God, and of course, that it does what it is supposed to do.

For instance, if a charism of healing is present, people get well. If they are worse off after you are done - it's a clue.

Similarly, if a charism of political discernment is present, good, God-honoring, Kingdom building, political directions and decisions are made.

If the country is worse off after you are done - it's a clue.


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