My latest guest post on Political Theology Today has just gone online. This week I discuss the implicit political theology of Jeremiah 31:31-34 and its promise of a new covenant:
In a stimulating article on anarcho-monarchism, David Bentley Hart describes the difference between two sorts of political visions that we encounter as we traverse the ‘burning desert floor of history.’ The first ‘hover tantalizingly near on the horizon, like inviting mirages’ and in the futile pursuit of them we can all be led to our deaths. The second, however, are like ‘cooling clouds, easing the journey with the meager shade of a gently ironic critique, but always hanging high up in the air, forever out of reach.’ It seems to me that Jeremiah’s vision of the new covenant requires the addition of a further category to this taxonomy, that of the espied promised land. As in pursuing Hart’s mirages, our premature attempts to enter into the reality of such a vision in our political life are doomed to perish deep within the wilderness of human weakness and wickedness. Handled carefully, such a vision can provide benefits akin to Hart’s ‘cooling clouds,’ exposing the limitations of our political realities, protecting us from misrecognition of the relative goods within our polities with more absolute ones, while inspiring us to aim higher. However, unlike both of Hart’s visions, the espied promised land declares the temporariness of the desert of history and, to those with faith to receive, a rich burden of clustered grapes affords a foretaste of that future hope.
Read the whole piece here.