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Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Sinless?

December 4, 2009 1 comment

I’ll try to keep this post short and concise and if there needs to be a bit of clarification, I’ll do what I can.

As my wife and I were discussing some fascinating assertions in a book (The Last Week – John Dominic Crosson, Marcus Borg) this morning, some very interesting notions began to bubble to the surface.  One of those was essentially this:

We (Christians) traditionally understand sin in terms of things we ARE NOT supposed to do.  For example, the 10 Commandments found in the Old Testament.  There are also several other passages contained in the New Testament that outline several activities and lifestyle choices we should steer clear of, or avoid, based upon traditional interpretations.  (By traditional, I mean, “that’s-the-way-we’ve-always-done-it,” not necessarily as the original writings were intended to be understood.)  So essentially, just as in the time of Jesus, the religious systems, or the religious laws of today, define sin.

Here’s what I understand about the person and purpose of Jesus.  In as short a description as I can muster, Jesus came to challenge his followers, his disciples, to transcend the current religious system as well as live subversively in regards to the ruling empire of the day, all for the sake of others (in direct contrast to the idea that everything we do is for covering my own hind end).

What I find absolutely fascinating is the fact that 1. Jesus was not bound by the religious system of his day, which in turn and by default, caused him to violate the Jewish laws and 2. he, repeatedly, spoke, lived and stood against the ruling empire and it’s oppressive, militant way of “establishing peace,” among other oppressive and unjust societal norms.

Thus, sin in Jesus’ day was defined by the marriage of religious and state (empirical) laws.  I would argue, the same is true today.  The obvious next question is then, can we assert that Jesus lived a sinless life?  And if we maintain that assumption, by what terms did he live a sinless life?

I would further suggest, since we cannot answer those two questions as we’ve traditionally done, what then, are the implications for the terms by which we define the notion of “being a reflection of Jesus?

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Delusion

September 16, 2009 2 comments

I posted a thought on facebook this morning that in all honesty, seems to be haunting my wife and I.  The thought I posted is in response to the attitude of our nation.  Now, until lately, I really wasn’t much for getting too involved in politics and I’m not saying I will ever be heavily involved, at least in the law-making, picketing, boycotting, whatever we want to call it, of this nation.  However, I will say that my awareness has at least been heightened a bit as of late.

And when it comes down to it, I’m concerned not about the direction of our nation.  It is what it is, though I wholly disagree with the idea that Obama=Hitler, no matter how you swing it.  That seems almost as silly as comparing a piece of glass to a cut of sheet metal.  Anyway, I’m not interested in arguing over this issue.  What I will mention is the response of the so-called Christian population of our nation.

For some reason, it seems we are living in a delusion.  I really can’t remember where hostility was ever part of the equation.  I guess I also missed the memo where we draw the line of following a peaceful, wastefully loving (everyone) revolutionary when my rights and securities are infringed upon.  It seems we can be as Christ-like as possible when we are confined in our buildings but the minute we enter again into the world where we spend the majority of our lives we turn into salivating, blood-thirsty animals bent on mauling anyone who tries to tear down our walls of security and luxury.  “I’m not paying taxes for someone else to have insurance.  They should suck it up and get a job.  That’s my money that I worked hard for” seems to be the battle call.  We want the government totally out of our lives, but we’ve forgotten to use our brains in the process.  So, I guess we like the idea of paying a premium for fire fighters to put out the fire in my house.  I’m also tired of free public schooling, so I think we should start paying premiums for that too.  That way, at least my child won’t be exposed to people who are different than he is, because not everyone can afford to pay for school…

Does anyone else think there is something radically wrong happening?  And I’m not suggesting that America needs to “return” to it’s alleged Christian heritage, but I am saying that those people who claim to be followers of the peaceful, non-violent Jesus need to realize the lifestyle we are called to live.  If there is any chance in hell for us to infect people with the love of Christ, we’d better take some time to reassess the impact of our behavior on our church communities, the communities we live in and finally the greater community of creation.  It’s time to make a better place here and now.  I would argue it starts with how we engage in relationships and how we behave when we aren’t comfortable.

The kingdom is near…

Categories: Life Tags: , , , ,

Boycott…

July 8, 2009 Leave a comment

There is a tradition, ancient or recent, I couldn’t say, that says: if you don’t like some-one or some-thing, you simply cut off all support.  If you disagree with something a certain person or group or corporation supports, you publicly and often times non-violently “take your business elsewhere.”

I must say, that as a follower of Jesus Christ, I strongly and passionately believe that non-violent acts of service and sometimes defiance is the only means by which real and lasting change will occur.  That said, those of us in the Christian tradition have often called for a boycott of certain groups and/or companies who either did or supported certain things that do not fit within the Christian law of life.  We have been known to boycott the purchase of certain stamps because they celebrated a Muslim holiday.  And since we’ve bought into the lie that ALL Muslim people are radical extremists who inflict terrorist acts on the US, we boycott without batting an eye… We have even singled out certain people, or groups of people and claimed that because we do not agree about some of the “hinge” issues of Christianity, we will prove our point by gathering our friends against those we disagree in a very public and humiliating way…

Now, please hear me say again, I think non-violence is the only way we will see real change.  With that being said, especially when it comes to a boycott, of sorts; as Christ followers, we’ve got to be extremely, EXTREMELY careful of our actions.  The first reason for our caution, I would argue, is because we are living in a post-Christian world.  The old argument, “the Bible says…” just doesn’t fly anymore.  The second reason we need to be careful is because too often we are not educated about what it is we are protesting and we make the cause of Christ out to even more ridiculous than it has already become.

He’s what I’m saying.  Let’s say a group of people calls for a boycott of a certain corporation because the executive officers of that company function outside of the “Christian thought.”  On the surface, that seems like a just cause since the underdog is standing up against the powers-that-be.  However, what this group of people who called for the protest didn’t do was educate themselves about some of the more inner workings of the company.  Though a difference in specific religious views may seem like a critical point of protest, there is something much larger happening under the surface.  This corporation, though they do not share the same religious ideals, is however participating in some much more important acts against injustice.  This corporation spends much of it’s excess resources fighting against the real suffering of real people in a real and tangible world.  Let’s use fair trade as an example.  The company buys many fair trade products which means that the people producing those products is getting paid a fair wage, enough to support his/her family.  Another definition of fair trade: we refuse to continue the cycle of slavery for my own comfort…

Do you see where I’m going here?  There are just things to boycott: Those companies who employ slave or child labor to produce products.  There are also ridiculous things to protest: People who think differently than we do.  When we choose to be ignorant, people spend their energy working to prove a point and convince people to “think” like they do.  When we take the time to educate ourselves we spend our energies working to alleviate suffering in the world.  Do you see the difference?

Let’s try fighting against injustice rather than fighting against people.  That may seem a bit vague, but continue to let the thoughts simmer and stew for a while because in the end, I feel it will bring a lasting and powerful change.

Think Gandhi…

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