Q & R: Religious Right theology … from a missionary

A fascinating question after the jump …

Q: I read your blog/article about the Seattle Times article on the Religious Right on the Sojourners blog site and had a question for you. To give you a little background about myself: I am a [missionary with an Evangelical organization]; my husband and I, along with our family work in [an African country]. I am a Gen-Xer and a post-modern (though my husband is not as he grew up overseas and so is a “third-culture kid”). We have read some of your stuff, including A Generous Orthodoxy and A New Kind of Christian, which we both enjoyed. I have started a doctoral program at [a Pentecostal] Seminary and have enjoyed it tremendously so far (though I come from a non-Pentecostal background, and though come from the RR, consider myself to be center (or even a bit left) at this point). However, some of the “turn or burn” and just “get souls saved” ideas still prevail and this bothers me at some level I can not quite pinpoint. (more than just seeing people as “souls” to be won instead of whole human beings, though I know that is rather a caricature, and not always true of AoG/ Pentecostals.) So….
My question is this:
In your blog/article (seen in Sojourners) where you are discussing the Seattle Times article on the Religious Right, you mentioned four things that need to be done, one of these was the re-thinking of the theology underlying the Religious Right. You understandably did not go into detail at that point, but could you elaborate on the aspects of RR theology that you see to be amiss.
Thank you very much–

R: This is a huge question … and deserves a couple of books from smart people, in addition to the good ones already available, including books by Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo, Randall Balmer, LIsa Sharon Harper, Becky Garrison, Bruce Benson.
My next book will deal with some of the underlying theological misunderstandings that I think the Religious Right exemplifies, although I don’t recall ever mentioning the Religious Right directly.
I also wanted to add that in my experience many missionaries are like you and your husband: your experience outside the bubble of American Christianity makes you fit less and less well within it. The culture gap between missionaries and their sending churches back home often grows pretty wide, but this gap is seldom spoken of because it might hurt funding for good causes. It’s the church’s “don’t ask, don’t tell.” I hope that the sending churches in the West will listen to the changing/broadening perspectives of their missionaries and learn from them … because mission is supposed to be a mutual learning experience and exchange, not a one-way colonial export!