Wednesday, April 12, 2006

christians and the political

here is something that I ran across earlier this week and thought I should comment on.

The article is from NYT : Christ Among the Partisans

here are my thoughts on it.

This debate within the EC and among evangelicals, and even those for/against the Hauerwasian mafia (or so called sectarians) is still raging, but necessary: does the Church have a politic of its own?

It seems that Wills has it exactly right, but has not gone far enough. He says, “There is no such thing as a "Christian politics." If it is a politics, it cannot be Christian. Jesus told Pilate: "My reign is not of this present order. If my reign were of this present order, my supporters would have fought against my being turned over to the Jews. But my reign is not here" (John 18:36). Jesus brought no political message or program.”

This is exactly right from the perspective of the State, or the Institution/Government, or more properly, those with the Power. Jesus doesn’t have a Statist politics, a politics oriented principle toward the Powerful. But this doesn’t means that he is oriented solely toward heaven, or the other-worldly, but rather to the poor, powerless, disenfranchised. From the perspective of the State/Powerful, there is NO politics unless it is oriented toward the State. But Jesus claims that the State is not the only gig in town, and this infuriates those in power.

He calls the very notion of ‘political’ into question, so that he can institute a true politics beyond the State/Powerful. But of course this get called all sorts of nasty names by the powerful (Sectarian, Fideistic, Abdication of Responsibility) by those holding State Power or those wishing to hold or influence State Power.

Of course Jesus’ politics need not be antithetical to State oriented politics, just as long as it doesn’t forget that State politics is not solely, or primarily the concern of the Church.

It seems Will is right in saying that the ability of the State to secure justice will always fall short of the Christ’s injunction to display love. But if the State cannot unity justice and love, surely the Church can, and should, according to any means available.

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