Adventus

"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"It is impossible for me to say in my book one word about all that music has meant in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?--Ludwig Wittgenstein

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Continuing Problem of the Unjust Steward

I sort of jumped into Pastor Dan's post on this issue (politics and Christianity), and now I have an object lesson in support of my point:

Six weeks after urging voters to elect only "tried and true" Christians, Senate candidate Katherine Harris is questioning her opponent's faith by saying he "votes completely contrary" to Christian principles.

In an interview published by a Christian news service, Harris said incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson "claims to be a Christian" but supports policies "completely contrary to what we say we believe."
As I said at Street Prophets, albeit belatedly (i.e., only today):

I'm a stickler on this point: power only and ever and always serves the ends of power. If God is not about the power of powerlessness, then Paul and I are agreed that the crucifixion was pointless, and all we're really waiting for is for God to get around to making us all believers, whether we like it or not.

But if God is about the power of powerlessness, then even taking up power in God's name is contrary to God's purpose. And a basiliea tou theou where the first are always last, and the last first, is a place with no political power at all.
Now, the irony is, what Harris is doing is exactly what much of left blogistan wants to see "liberal" or "progressive" (those are political, not theological, labels) Christians do, especially to distance themselves from, and to criticize, fundamentalist Christians. But there's more than one problem with that, and it begins with having the authority to establish "what we way we believe."

Who speaks for Christians? Jerry Falwell, or the Pope? The Orthodox churches? Or the largest Protestant denomination? (Certainly neither me nor Street Prophets.) And once we settle that issue (if you ever do, let me know, will you?), what do we do with Jesus' admonition: "Do not judge, and you won't be judged", which is clearly a directive to stay out of all systems involving authority over someone else, so there won't be any authority over you except God.

Which is what the Amish are getting praised for right now; and deservedly so. They recognize God as their authority, and that gives them the spiritual strength to not condemn even the murderer of their children, and to invite his family to share the grief of the event with them. At what point do we throw all that away in order to imitate the world where people are judged superior to others, which is the position of judgment? It is no coincidence, after all, that the judge sits on a raised platform in the courtroom.

Now, "It's not the first time [Harris has] made remarks of a religious nature that some might find offensive," and certainly this is not to compare Pastor Dan to Katherine Harris, or to besmirch Street Prophets by saying it's mission is misguided. But I have a sincere and abiding problem with Christianity getting involved in politics. And there is no better example of that than this story, and the story of the Amish today. There's always that issue of making friends in this world who will welcome you into the eternal homes.

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