So, when I first started blogging, I told myself that I wouldn't get into politics with my posts. This mirrored my life as a pastor for the past 8 years. I kept clear of mentioning anything that might be understood as a political stance when in the presence of parishoners.
The more I grow in relationship with God through Jesus of Nazareth, and the more I grow in the knowledge of the Bible, the more I am convinced that we should not be dualistic in our lives. There are those that hold to the idea, if not with their mouths, definitely with their lives, that your "spiritual" life should be separate from your "secular" life. As if, these are two separate compartments holding the quantities acquired of each, never to influence the other. I don't believe this is true, or is even possible. What we believe influences all of who we are. We are not compartmentalized people. With that said, my faith drives me to speak about many things including political issues.
Also, it is my understanding in reading the New Testament that the Gospel (or good news) of Jesus is counter to the rise of empericism in our world. Empiricism is the call of the empire to all of its citizens to give allegiance to it as the presiding kingdom. I live in a modern day empire, the United States of America. I know that this will be construed by many as unpatriotic, but this empire calls for my allegiance over against all else. As Christians, we know that we give allegiance not to any human built empire, but to the Kingdom of Heavan that was ushered in by the life death and resurrection of Jesus.
When the apostle Paul would spread the "good news" of Jesus and the Kingdom, he would use the Koine Greek word"euangelion", which is the same word used to make announcements about the Roman Emperors. "Euangelion, the Emperor of Rome is Tiberius", or "Come celebrate the Emperor's birthday". So, when Paul or someone like him would use this word to tell the story of Jesus, those listening would have most definitely heard him saying, "Jesus is Lord and Caesar is not." Of course you don't have to know but a little about the Roman Empire and its leaders to know that this was not just a slightly prickly political statement. Rather, this was a stance that got Chrisitans thrown to the lions, beheaded, and burned. Paul didn't stay away from Political issues because he thought they shouldn't mix with his spiritual life.
It is obvious that one can't perfectly compare the Roman Empire with the empire of today, but the point is that there will always be empirical pressure for allegiance which will always be countered and upstaged by the euangelion of Jesus, driving his followers to stand at times in opposition.
So, back to me. I have come to see that this blog might one of many places to take a stand. As you can see, I have posted a banner pointing to one of the first things I will talk about, Christian non-violence and war. I think I am becoming a "pacifist".
Labels: Christianity, Empire, gospel, non-violence, pacifism, Paul, politics, Roman Empire, USA