It seems like all my posts are just links to other blogs lately. My own thoughts have been consumed lately with pastoring, ministry, studying for an MA, and investing in my family as much as possible.
But in the midst of all that, I do come across some interesting and provocative stuff, like an article I recently read by Douglas Harink critiquing Jim Wallis’ book God’s Politics. Actually it’s a two-part article that ends up being a critique of both the Religious Right (ala James Dobson) and the Religious Left (ala Jim Wallis) as inherently idolatrous, in that they both require and expect the church to serve American values and goals. Wallis basically has an instrumental understanding of God and the church: the church exists to make America better, on America’s terms, according to America’s definition of "better."
So while Dobson and Wallis come to different conclusions as to how God-talk ought to influence national policy, they are both agreed that the nation of America is what we’re "really" all part of, and what Christians ought to seek to preserve and make prosperous. The basic assumptions of American democracy are never questioned – they are taken to be "gospel truth," and the church is to believe this "gospel" as well and fall in line to make it happen. This is the fundamental idolatry of their thinking; they take the humanly constructed world (nation-states, like America) way too seriously,
while the reality that God himself has created (the Church) gets almost no attention, except when it can serve the needs of the nation-state.
Well, enough ranting for now. Some choice quotes from the article, then the links to the article:
… whether America … stands or falls should not be a matter of primary interest to the churches in America.
The American nation, or the Canadian nation, or any other nation for that matter, is a humanly constructed world; it is a power that enslaves human beings
and makes us serve its ends. Every nation is in the first place an
idolatrous regime to which God comes in the Gospel to set his people
How then do people get truly political? They believe the Gospel, they
are baptized into the body of Christ, they worship the triune God, and
they participate in the eucharistic life of the congregation.
The links (for those who want to read the whole article by Douglas Harink– it’s worth it):
God’s Politics? A Response to Jim Wallis (Part One)
God’s Politics? A Response to Jim Wallis (Part Two)
Cheers till next time I can get my head above water a bit! Back to an essay on liberation and feminist theology.
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