Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Jesus and politics: Facebook musings

I made the following observations on a Facebook thread. It seems to me that this year being an election year here in the United States that people get out-of-sorts. Too many Christians, regardless of party affiliation or their particular brand of politics, look to government and politicians for salvation, to set the world right again. Thinking of this reminds me of Psalm 146: "Put no trust in princes, in children of Adam powerless to save. Who breathing his last, returns to the earth; that day all his planning comes to nothing."

While I appreciate that people are being sincere, I would argue with anyone who posts anything political that tries to say, "This is what Jesus would do if he were president, governor, senator, member of Congress, local dog-catcher..." because it is an impossible hypothetical. First, the time and place the Son of God became Incarnate was not accidental or arbitrary. Secondly, to even imply that Jesus would ever seek such a position is to miss the whole point and purpose of His Incarnation. He could've made Himself Emperor of the World if He'd chosen to, but He deliberately chose a different way, the opposite way. Jesus wouldn't give a Bernie Sanders' speech to the Senate or a Paul Ryan stump speech.

What Jesus will ultimately do, this is an objective and dogmatic belief of the Church, is to utterly destroy all nations and initiate the reign of God, which is what the Church is to do even now, whether any given gov't facilitates or seeks to prevent that from happening is irrelevant. The Church does not accomplish this through violence, power, or through state coercion. It is no accident that the Church is stronger, which means it makes the kingdom of God more palpably present, than when it faces opposition, or, moveover, where the Church is actively persecuted.

Christ the King

The only reasonable answer to the question What Would Jesus Do?, is surprise, confound, challenge, and provoke you. To insist otherwise is to try and reduce Him to your measure.

Even on the personal level the question is not, What would Jesus do?, but What Would Jesus Have Me Do?, or, In light of my understanding of Jesus' teaching, which is conveyed by the Church, what should I do? Stated simply, in this set of circumstances how do I love God with my whole heart, might, mind and strength and love my neighbor as I love myself, realizing these two things are mutually reinforcing, (there is no love without truth) and never mutually exclusive?

Jesus loves us too much to ever let us be smug

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