Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A-Political.


This time of year (maybe more than any other) we should be A-political.

Luther wrote, "The birth of Christ took place exactly when the Emperor Augustus sent out a decree that all the world should be taxed. This was no accident...At the very first moment of his life, Christ and his parents had to give evidence of obedience, not to God, but to the heathen emperor, the enemy of the Jews. This is the strongest proof that Christ's Kingdom is to be distinguished from that of the world. Christ did not erect a kingdom like an earthly king, but wished to be subject to a heathen government."

So here we are 2011-ish years later, once again subject to a heathen government. And what I propose this Christmas, is that we recognize the heathen government(s) we are subject to, and to remain A-political.

If you've read my blog for very long, you might read that I view politics as a big joke. Politics give us pizza as vegetables, allows abusive churches (Catholic) to lobby for shortened Statute of Limitations (New York), and can be "pro-life" while being pro-capital punishment and war.

It's politics.

It's a joke.

And I propose that this Christmas we remain separate from this heathen joke-of-a-government, and truly distinguish ourselves from the world.

Peace,
Ross

8 comments:

Andy said...

1) I don't appreciate your characterization of the Catholic Church as abusive. If anything, because of the scandals that have come forward, the Catholic Church is far better prepared to prevent and report child abuse than most Protestant organizations.

2) Do you know why they are opposed to this bill in NY? Hint, it isn't the extension of the statute of limitations. They're on the record as favoring that part of the bill.

Ross Christopher said...

I bring it up because large denominational organizations act out politically (to protect and grow in power - both Catholic & Protestant).

"A previous bill to reform New York's child abuse laws passed the Assembly three times, but was repeatedly stymied in the state Senate after heavy lobbying by Catholic bishops, who vigorously opposed a key provision to temporarily lift the civil statute of limitations for decades-old abuse. Dennis Poust, the communications director of the New York State Catholic Conference, said the vote represented an emerging consensus that time limits on legal liability were an important civil rights protection. The conference is the policy arm of the state’s Catholic bishops, the bill’s most formidable opponents.

“You cannot ask institutions to take responsibility for the failures of a few individuals whose actions took place 40 and 50 years ago,” Mr. Poust said." (Huffington Post)

It is appropriate however in my opinion to bring up this abuse in my list, because the Church should be on the front lines of reconciliation, renewal, and justice.

(example: the dad that coaches his kids sports teams, takes them to scouts, volunteers in the community, and serves at church...but also happens to abuse his wife, will be defined as an abuser - end of story.)

Sorry if it offends, but i'm just writing what I see...I don't think dems or reps will like this piece either. But I didn't write it for popularity, but because I believe it needs to be said.

Peace,
Ross

Andy Lee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andy said...

The main thrust of the bill is to extend the statute of limitations by five years. No problem.

A big part of the problem is the year window in which there will be no statute of limitations whatsoever. That gets to be a problem.

Moreover, this would only apply to private institutions. Government institutions, like schools or juvenile detention centers. In that respect it is a rather unfair bill.

So do you often refer to the ELCA as abusive? Do you call them out for similar lobbying efforts? I don't doubt that you would disagree with them doing it as well, but why call the Catholic Church out specifically?

Andy said...

Still didn't get that fixed:

What I meant to say was that government institutions play by a different set of rules, on in which you have to statute of limitations is several times more stringent.

Heather said...

I disagree that we should be a-political. Now I can't say that I'm the most involved in what is going on in government but I do pay attention because it affects my life. There are also godly people I respect who are in politics and seriously seeking to honor God in their career choice. That being said, Paul did not say we should distance ourselves from government. Rather, in Romans 13 he clearly states we are to be submissive to the government because authorities are placed there by God. If we rebel against what God has put in place, we rebel against God. I would submit that rebellion begins with ridicule.

I disagree, too, about the thought that if we distance ourselves from government, declaring them a joke, we are distinguishing ourselves from the world. Isn't ridiculing the government just like the world? Watching cable news for 10 minutes seems to show dismissing and ridiculing those in government is practically a national pastime. Wouldn't we be more distinguished, and show the character of Christ, if we were to pray for our government, asking blessings and wisdom for those who are doing jobs neither of us want? With respect, I disagree with your interpretation of the Luther quote. Being subject to a government doesn't take away our right to criticize, but being subject to our King dictates we should do it with humility and respect.

Unknown said...

the church, regardless of denomination, should stand up for the oppressed and for injustice- even if, and most likely especially if, they are the perpetrators of injustice.

it doesn't matter if the bill is unfair- the church should seek justice for victims. period.

Ross Christopher said...

Great conversation!

I'd like to add my thoughts to some of the responses...(again, these are my thoughts, not necessarily right or wrong, just where I am today - and in saying that, I also want to say that I'm a HUGE hypocrite and will certainly engage in political discussion over the holiday)

Andy,
I think anything short of complete compliance and undoing of any limitations is not enough...that goes for anyone, from any organization. Otherwise, it appears as a power struggle and move to hush things.

As for the ELCA, I am positive there are many things I disagree with, and YES it is a political group, because they too lobby politics as a machine/denomination (i'm really not a fan of denominations at all, but then again, I'm a hypocrite and work for one)
If the ELCA does something abusive and reprehensible, I would hope it would come to the public's attention and that the action from the ELCA would be swift and severe, so as to forgive, redeem, and renew.

In saying that, I think the ways both the Catholic and Lutheran church turned a blind eye to the atrocities of WWII is still a black eye for us, that should never go away. Not to mention the Crusades and any colonization done in the name of the "C"hurch - that includes us all...that stain will never disappear and we should continue to ask for forgiveness.

Heather,
I believe what you bring up is a commentary on God's economy. How I see it is paradoxical. God reigns supreme in power, but does it in weakness. The government couldn't stand Jesus' passive and grace filled nature and killed him. And rather than sending a multitude of fiery angels to consume Christ's killers, Jesus was killed. Of course God won, and did so through an act of weakness (as we perceive it). So it goes with politics. Many believed that Jesus would come in the form of a militant leader or King as the world defined it, but he instead came as a homeless child of a virgin under the tyrant reign of a worldly king.

We should most definately pray for our leaders as much as we should our enemies. How I read Luther was out of his context. He was addressing the peasant rebellion, and showing parallels between the nativity scene and their current state.

Can we ever be totally separate from government and politics? - probably not, we are here now and influenced by it. It is our western lens.

However, my main thrust (whether I communicated it or not) is that our hope must never be in politics. I lump religious politics in the same statement. Politics (as I see it) is power mongering at its core. What I saw Jesus advocating was jubilee - a reset, a starting over, rebirth.

Politics have never created a jubilee - there's no historical proof that it ever happened. But Jesus is our jubilee and hope for rebirth, renewal, and restoration.

Again, THANKS A MILLION for the conversation and I hope to continue it even more if you'd like!

Peace,
Ross