“Macro-change via the church rather than the state” — Chris Haw mentions this toward the end of this hour and 12 minutes of this video….which is a great session, I heard some stories I hadn’t heard yet…
We have indeed been indoctrinated in America with the myth of “America” and the promise of “America” as some sort of spiritual force that will enable us to achieve some sort of “life worth living”, if we will only work hard enough. That some kind of providential guidance steered the “founding forefathers” to craft for us this “ingenious” (read “miraculous” in patriotic “confessional” mode) way of being a country.
And so we have this “machine” of politics where the pendulum swings from “free market” and “individual choice” “strength” and “values” and “God fearing nation founded on God ordained freedom” to the “change” deemed necessary when unfettered capitalism, let loose by by an idolatry of “the free hand of the market”, has unleashed a whole new set of problems.
When hardship spreads, offers of change and hope appeal to the people, and yet we feed all this anticipation of change right back into the machinery that manipulates the outcomes no matter the rhetoric.
Over the past 4 years, since delving into the political questions from the theological and ecclesiology side, it becomes all the more apparent that we Christians in America have become convinced that this political process of ours is the truest way to advocate and work for change. And increasingly, I become more convinced that it is the vision of the church embodied in the kinds of things Shane and Chris are saying that it is being neglected in favor of a bankrupt, cyclical system of token moves left and right to appease just the right amount of people for just the right amount of time to keep the “system” running in the ways that protect the interests of those with the power to influence its workings.
A couple of years ago on a blog somewhere a pastor of a large church in New York replied to my posts admiring The Church of the Saviour with an observation that COS was more of a “monastic community” than a church. And I remember thinking , yeah, but how come that is seen as “rather than church”? Isn’t this what the church is in fact, called apart to be? Apparently, in America, church is for “everybody” so that we can have more members and we can “admire” the monastics and even live vicariously through their stories.
So, I have pretty much rejected the talk of “making a difference” outside of the activity of the Kingdom of God, embodied in God’s people called apart to be a light. I can feel some sense of agreement with those who wish , more than anything, for Bush to be out of office, but Obama is not going to be Robin Hood (or better, he is not going to be Jesus as President). It is only when the church proclaims and lives out an alternative politic that Jesus is President, in sharp contrast to WHOEVER is President of the United States.