Liz is a PhD student in Brown University’s Religion and Critical Thought program, and has an MPhil in Christian theology from the University of Cambridge. She reads Augustine and his inheritors, and spends her free time working in her garden. She blogs regularly at www.elizabethstokerbruenig.com
After spending weeks in mid-summer headlines, it appears the ramifications of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby have still not finished panning out. In midterm elections across the United States, Hobby Lobby has become something of a rallying cry for both parties – though in distinctly different ways.
David Brat’s upset of Eric Cantor in Virginia’s District Seven congressional race last week generated waves of buzz, with no small stir churning in the Christian blogosphere. Although political upstarts, especially those that identify as conservative Christians, always tend to create a storm of media buzz, the close attention to Brat is perhaps more justified than most. As I hope will become clear in this brief profile of Brat’s scholarship and political theology, Brat’s somewhat bewildering and seemingly idiosyncratic synthesis of theology and economics illustrates the tensions endemic to the increasingly-libertarian sectors of the Christian Right.
Christ’s actions on Maundy Thursday present a challenge to Enlightenment views of property. Through the Eucharistic vision of Christianity, we become more like Christ, and we do so together enveloped in an all-encompassing commandment of love: we grow together, not only in that we all simultaneously grow, but the barriers between us dissolve and our original love is mended.