Monday, November 06, 2006

Faith and Politics

Thanks to this new blog, a recent copy of "Relevant" magazine given to us and some the discussion I mentioned above, faith and politics have been on my mind a lot the last few days. I thought this particular article, a debate between Jim Wallace and Greg Boyd was fascinating. This quote was my favorite:

"Jim's bull's-eye is to motivate Christians to participate in politics. Jesus never said a word about political issues. Jesus took care to separate his kingdom from this world, and we should, too. We are to serve, bleed and sacrifice like Jesus did. If a fraction of the church acted like he did, it would be the most beautiful and powerful force on Earth. I worry about calling some stands 'God's politics.' It invites polarizing politics into the church. Republican Christians care as much about the poor as Democratic Christians do; they just have different ways of approaching it. Good Christians can agree or disagree on war, abortion, taxes and immigrants. Hey, I have my own political views, and they're all brilliant! But in order to underline my point, I'll keep my trap shut about what they are."

- Greg Boyd


Vale said...

Being a totally naive person about politics and relatively uninformed on world issues, I've always found it hard to find my place as a Christian in the midst of these issues. I don't know if there is an easy answer. I don't know if I have a real stance on the issue either. It is as hard to grasp as any other social issue that faces us as Christians. I have no real insight, just thought you brought up some good points and I still don't know what to do about it!

misha said...

I think you can be ideologically polarized - b/c I think some things are, and should be, polorazing b/c there is a right and wrong - but relationally you shouldn't be.

jc said...

I don't really have an opinion on this debate because i really don't agreee with either one of these doods. but a friend of mine on a another blog posted this.

"Interesting debate... it's encouraging to see evangelicals debating issues like this (as opposed to some of the more traditional evangelical hobby-horses.

Wallis seems more persuasive in my view. Maybe it's because a course I'm taking has me up to my ears in Wright's "Jesus and the Victory of God," and Yoder's "The Politics of Jesus," but for the life of me I can't figure out how Boyd can claim that "Jesus never said a word about political issues."

So many of Jesus' actions and parables announcing "the Kingdom of God" would have been perceived as EXPLICITLY political. "The Kingdom of God" may connote an ethereal kind of spiritual place for Christians to go when they die to modern ears, but it's difficult to see how it would have meant anything but a political entity to its first hearers.

Indeed, it would have been virtually unthinkable for a firs-century Jew to even divide religion and politics into separate spheres. That separation is the product of modern liberal democracies, not the culture of Jesus' day. To say that he didn't say "a word about politics" (in our sense of the word 'politics') seems a bit anachronistic. It's hard to imagine how he would have managed to get himself executed if what he was up to wasn't political."

Kari said...

Thanks Jon! I agree, I found it interesting that the debate even existed. As for Jesus being political or not, that is really interesting because I never thought of him as political at all because he wasn't there to challenge the roman government & I certainly don't interpret his actions that way, at least not off the top of my head. That's what everyone thought he was going to do, but he was beyond the government of the here and now. His challenges seemed to be for individuals and societies, not government. Interesting, I'll have to think about it some more.