The title of this post is from another of Dan’s posts this week, which ties right in to the first (longing for the ‘God With Us’), which is tied to the hope that we have in the entering of God into our story, which is the crux of the Christmas observance. It’s not TOTALLY celebration, since this involves some amount of “disassociation” from what we have formerly known, which is a painful separation in many ways (and something of which I have only begun to see and to confront….often unsuccessfully).
In this post from Dan, I am reminded how part of this separation involves a letting go of old ways of “getting things done”. So much of our expectations about “getting things done” are tied to “systems” of “how it works”, much of what gets handed down to us from traditional human efforts at providing for some form of “justice”; but so much of this effort is tied up with ways of exerting power which are fraught with doomed “ways”, because they are tied up with methods used in power politics. This is my take on the way Dan speaks about these things, and I am inclined to agree, and also with many of my friends in circles related to Radical Orthodoxy, Stanley Hauerwas, and also the kind of lifestyle politic as expressed in The Church of the Saviour communities over the years.
rather than romanticizing past Christian involvement in power-politics, Christians must begin to look for a new way forward, embodied in an embrace of an exilic existence in the present. Of course, even in Israel’s exile there were those who longed for a restoration of power. This is the position that is prominently displayed in 1 Maccabees, and in the various Jewish nationalistic revolutionary movements found in Palestine at the time of Jesus. 1 Maccabees, and many of the Jewish rebel movements refused exile as a state of existence, and sought a return to sociopolitical power. However, although this option was open to Jesus (let us not forget the presence of revolutionaries in his inner circle), he ends up rejecting it, and the Church, and contemporary Christians, must do the same.
I heard Campolo recently talking about “speaking as one with authority”, which lies in the life of servanthood. Jesus spoke “as one with authority” because he lived a life which WAS its own authority. The Church of the Saviour is not often seen represented as the church in political protests and such (although they may well have individual members who see fit to be present, if they wish to be present alongside others speaking out and calling on powers to listen), but they simply nurture call within their body (the church) and proceed forthwith to so various ministries themselves, rather than demanding that the government do what many progressive churches would not demand from their own.
Besides, the church’s witness is not to say “you ought to be doing such and such”, but rather than to be a society altogether different of itself; and as such, a light upon a hill. Governments might get some hints at how things work when interdependence is held up as a model, dependent upon a vision of the world from God’s story given to us.