Spiritual Libertarianism = My Mind Blown

As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty; a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others.
— Preamble of the Libertarian Platform

It may be more common these days to not register with a particular political party, Libertarianism is officially the third largest political party in the US. (Which itself is a bit ironic that those who elevate individual rights over the groups rights would even desire to bend their values to that of an official party platform, but that is not the point.) Regardless of the official numbers, anecdotal evidence suggests that the USA has a very strong populist leaning toward Libertarianism (at least here in the South and West).

As taken from the wikipedia entry, Libertarian thought this is the philosophy that "upholds liberty as its principal objective. Libertarians seek to maximize autonomy and freedom of choice, emphasizing political freedom, voluntary association and the primacy of individual judgement." 

These values are not "bad" but the values of Libertarian thought seem very much in direct conflict of Christian life. 

The Christian life is one that we bend our will to that of Christ. We die to self so that Christ may live in us. It is a life that does put personal values to the side for the benefit of others. It is a life that upholds service to others. It is a life that seeks to maximize the submission to authority of Christ. It is a life that replaces the individual as sole authority of their life for one that places Scripture, Tradition, Experience and Reason as the authorities of our life.

And yet we seem to live in a time when the interpretation of Christianity is one that is less and less interested in the group or whole and more and more interested in the will of the individual. It is a Christianity that when someone does not like a few teachings of the Church that person leaves. The UMC is now seeing local churches withhold global giving as a way to make a point about an internal church issue. We have communities of faith set up to meet the needs of the individual to the detriment of creating communities of faith that demand service of the members. We live in a time where we choose the course of action we are going to take rather than do what an outside authority might ask us to do.

While there are many who might argue that Moralistic Therapeutic Deism is the major threat to the Christian Life, I might suggest that the issues facing the Church are less about what we believe and more about where we place authority.

What is authoritative in your life? Are you your own authority or is your authority outside yourself.

Spiritual Libertarianism can slowly kill communities of faith because if we do not bend our values to those of Christ's then we are just creating a community that is a reflection of our own current selves rather than a community that challenges us to greater than ourselves.