Saturday, November 06, 2004

The Politics of Jesus

The more I read and pray, the more I realize that the gospel is intensely political. That probably will come as no surprise, but it is starting to have certain ramifications in my life--some of which *could* be viewed as undesirable.

I teach high school Sunday school at my church. We are currently going through a study on Reformed theology (which, of course, is always simplified down to only 'saved by grace'). I have been loosely basing my lectures/discussions on the book, but mainly trying to bring out things that the author left out/downplayed/completely ignored. This week the chapter was superb: So What? Exactly. What does sovereignty mean in our work-a-day lives? Too often Reformed theology is taken down unfruitful rabbit trails of: double predestination, miscarriages/stillborns, people in ungospeled countries, etc. (not that these questions are unimportant, but they are usually used to get the topic off of what everyday sovereignty means). So this week, I tried to bring it more alive.

I talked, as I am wont to do, about worldview formation, especially dominant worldviews (such as modernity and consumerism). Then I asked to hit the rubber to the road: sovereignty deals with empires, empires form worldviews (crowd control), so who is our sovereign? Is it 'Caesar Kurios' or 'Christos Kurios'? Can we serve two masters?

Since worldviews are community-grounded, I took the discussion (or should I say, will be taking) to talking about what imperial claims are being made by our surrounding communities. From there I am talking about the alternative community of the church (a different body politic) and how living under another sovereign will color how we act. The big question behind all this, though, is: why do people with radically different worldviews from the Christian one act the same as Christians (or more importantly, why do Christians act like everyone else?).

I have a feeling that I am being too political, too subversive, since I want these students to question their allegiances to the 'principalites and powers' of American/Western culture. But, at the same time, I wonder if that is my place (I don't have an official sanction to do such things in my teaching). I must, I believe, follow my sovereign who has called me to tell a different story and explain it to others.

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