Saturday, January 05, 2008

Politics and the Kingdom



Yesterday I went with the honorable, Glenn Johnson, to see Charlie Wilson's war and it got me thinking. The film in and of itself is well done and did what I'm sure it set out to do. Tell the story of how we helped Afghanistan defeat the Soviet Union in the 1980's to help the U.S. win the Cold War while leaving it open to questions of how it may have created the kind of infrastructure vacuum that created the Taliban regime, Bin Laden as a folk hero and eventually 9/11. I think it did just that.

However, it got me thinking on another level. It graphically used the political motives and leverages of God, Religion and the Church. All was fair game in power and manipulation as long as it suited the humanist end, in this case helping helpless Afghans.

So here are my questions?
1) From a Kingdom worldview, are not the lives of the Russians as valuable as Afghans? They kept repeating the phrase "killing Russians" as their goal and each time it made me cringe. In a war, we de-humanize our enemies and legitimize any action we may take towards them. In the 80's, the U.S. had an ethic that it was okay to kill Russians. Now those ethics have shifted. Now it is okay to kill Afghans and label them terrorists to fit our new political agendas and war mongering. We no longer want to kill Russians, just terrorists, whoever they may be. The largest target is an Afghan named Osama Bin Laden. The ethics have shifted.

2) Is it really okay for the Church to want to get into bed with political powers of shifting ethics? The National spotlight on the 2008 elections has a clear view of the Evangelical vote as a leveraged power player. Is this the game the Church should be in? Is this the hope for the U.S.? Forget that question, is this our best idea to be the hope for the world? In this cynic's opinion, the compromises required to play in this kingdom's political power systems causes the Church to lose its identity as an agent of action following the Sermon on the Mount, not shifting ethics.
Politics are fundamentally about the acquisition of worldly power. The Kingdom of God is fundamentally about the disengagement with this world's agenda and the inner transformation to a Kingdom agenda. They are diametrically opposed. I will vote and participate in the elections, but I cannot abdicate an alliance between the Church and Political entities.

feel free to argue back. so much for avoiding religion and politics in public arenas. i've never been good at following rules ;)

peace,

4 comments:

Timothy said...

Chris,

I, too, saw the movie and thought it was well done. I am not as educated and bright as most, but I think the movie brought out a great contrast of government systems, both "secular" and "religious". Each one would use the vast resources at their disposal to accomplish their goals.

For instance, in the "secular" it wasn't so much what the money was used FOR, it was that the game was played properly with the appropriate players. The same was true with Ms. Robert's character, she played the game with her money and her physical attributes to achieve her supposed "holy" aims.

For me, the first election of George W. Bush opened my eyes as to the failure of the American church to grasp the Kingdom as Jesus preached it. I was an associate pastor of a church and the emphasis was praying that George W. would win, that the forces of evil wouldn't "win". Me, being rather willing to speak up, asked the question "If Al Gore wins, then God "lost"? Is that what you are saying? As for me, I will accept it as God's will that President Gore was elected and I will pray for him the same as I will for George W.

Then I left it with "Are we Americans FIRST? Or are we Christians living in America?" As Christians we have the responsibility to be good citizens, but we more have the COMMAND to follow what God said.

Chris, you are probably closer to doing that than I am at this point, who knows? But, I do know this, at the end of the movie there was a quote that went something like "We won the war but screwed up the end game". The funding for "killing Russians" was there but the funding for rebuilding and assisting the ravaged people wasn't. My question is "Why didn't the "christian" side step in at that point?

I am sure I haven't articulated very well in answer to your query. And, perhaps I didn't really answer it at all. But, I think you are spot on in what you are dialogueing about on your blog.

Goc is certainly "stirring the pot" in His Church. Those who have ears to hear, or even the desire to hear, are beginning to get the Message I believe.

Peace!

Timothy

Bronco Bob said...

1) From a Kingdom worldview, are not the lives of the Russians as valuable as Afghans? Yes...just as valuable as any life....

The ethics have not shifted, only the targets have. If Russia continues to go down the path they are right now politically, you might see similar talk to what you heard in the 80's.

2) Is it really okay for the Church to want to get into bed with political powers of shifting ethics?
Yes...I think we must be involved in the process, but you and I have talked about that in detail.


Politics are fundamentally about the acquisition of worldly power. The Kingdom of God is fundamentally about the disengagement with this world's agenda and the inner transformation to a Kingdom agenda. They are diametrically opposed. I will vote and participate in the elections, but I cannot abdicate an alliance between the Church and Political entities.

.....on this we can totally agree

Marsh said...

Timothy, I think you are spot on. My best class in Seminary was a basic course in Anthropology where I realized I was more American than Christian and so I went back to the drawing board to be a follower of Jesus and not an American Christian. I think I'm still processing that.

Bob, you know im with ya on being involved and I guess its all a matter of discernment to be in it but not of it.

Todd said...

Hey Chris...I'm so right there asking these questions. I find myself listening and reading about candidates, then turning around asking myself what I value in a candidate as a follower of Jesus? nothing any of them says resonates w/my heart, but then I feel a strong sense of responsiblity to be a part of the process. I continue to be muddied by God's grace and love which I can hang with, but don't feel at all comfortable making major decisions or voting!! :) I am off to pray.....Jamie