Tuesday, November 29, 2005

God's Politics?

Before I get carried away here, let me be clear, I am a capitalist. I am. As are 99.9% (totally made up statistic) of the people in the West who “hate capitalism”. Hemp clothes and necklaces be damned! You guys are capitalists too! “Not having a good job” doesn’t mean you’re not a capitalist because mooching off your capitalist parents and friends is capitalism too. So please don’t add this post to the ever increasing “thoughts on capitalism” editorials floating around out there by people who are dependant on capitalism. I’m a capitalist whether I think it’s a Christian value or not.

All I’m simply trying to point out is that the church in the West, and especially in the States, have found people “to tell them what their itching ears want to hear” (2 Timothy 4:3). And in this case, we (the church) have embraced capitalism as, not only an American value, but also a Christian one. But it’s not. And those of you who come with the “God helps those who help themselves” quote need to know that you’re quoting John Smith, not the Bible.

Some will accuse me of becoming anti-American or liberal as a result of moving to Europe. Nothing could be further from the truth. I still absolutely adore America and still think liberals are as closed-minded as conservatives are. Just as moving from one denomination to another gave me the opportunity to give some honest thought to my former church’s doctrine, so moving outside of America has given me opportunity to consider just how Christian my politics are. And so, two years later, I find myself questioning much about the American church’s politics. Over the next few months I’ll be posting some of those questions in posts I’ll title “God’s Politics?” Here’s my first question.

Has the abortion issue been the easy way out for the church? I mean, standing against abortion is important, but it involves very little, if any, responsibility on the part of the church or Christian. At most we vote Republican and maybe even write our Congressman, but once a woman actually decides not to have an abortion, the responsibility is on them. In fact, we’ll even be happy to condemn that same woman for having too many babies and sucking the welfare system dry. Children die by the millions of malnutrition and easily curable things like diarrhea every year yet I don’t see the church standing up to do something about that. Could that be because those things would take our money, time and work rather than just our vote?

Comments on "God's Politics?"

 

Blogger Jim Knaggs said ... (2:44 AM) : 

Hey Tim...trust you're well. I find I can never talk about abortion without referencing the absolute grace of God in loving the mother no matter which choice she makes. He's amazing.

 

Blogger Michelle Lorraine said ... (3:48 AM) : 

You hit the nail on the head, Tim. We (Christians) debate and debate over abortion to save precious lives, but when it comes to touching our "precious" dollars and time - those often off-limits. It's much easier to go cast a comfortable vote- but much more sacrificial and difficult to stand up for things that require something of ours. That's a challenge if I've ever heard one.

ps- hello blog. goodbye xanga.

 

Blogger BrownEyedGirl said ... (1:15 PM) : 

good question! good thoughts...I agree with the comments. I think you are right. Going outside my country or comfort zones has always streched my mind and my faith. Thanks for a good blog.

 

Blogger Larry said ... (5:03 PM) : 

Tim,

It is interesting you post this. Get the new book by Jim Wallis. Interestingly, it is entitled "God's Politics: Why the right gets it wrong and the left doesn't get it."

It puts some things into perspective for all of us.

I just saw a presentation on abortion today. It is a horrific thing. The presentation was both shocking and graceful. It balanced our need for Christians to stand for the sanctity of life not only in the case of abortion, but in the quality of life from beginning to end.

I wish we would be as concerned about perishing kids in the Sudan and other places as we are about Planned Parenthood.

I have also found that many who oppose abortion...favor the death penalty. Conversly, pro-abortion people often are against the death penalty. I find that interesting

Aren't you glad that Christ makes all life sacred and special. Grace is amazing.

 

Blogger shaun said ... (4:07 PM) : 

Although I understand the rhetorical value of talking about what "the church" is or isn't doing, and although I am by no means advocating the present attitude (at least in America) of baptizing one's politics with "jesus" in order to feel like you are doing the Christian thing in voting republican...rubbish), I wonder if it would be helpful to at least consider a theological distinction about "the church". Theologians helpfully distinguish between the "visible church", which is what we see and includes all those who make some sort of Christian claim, and the "invisible church" which is all those who truly embrace the rule of Jesus from their heart. I know that here in St. Louis there are numerous ministries who are taking in women who decide not to abort their children. There are people in my own church who are on waiting lists to adopt children from those mothers, and there are families who regularly take in babies that were slated for abortions until adoptive families can be matched. All this to say, "the church...invisible" is genuinely living out the gospel, even if "the church...visible" has a soiled reputation. Polarizations work rhetorically and have their place in illiciting thoughtfulness but may easily miss what is a more nuanced reality.

 

Blogger Taminee said ... (5:01 AM) : 

We, Christians, are the church. Please don't classify as a whole. I have many Christian friends who work in organizations designed to help mothers who have chosen to keep their babies. My very good friend from high school has her own organization which is funded by her church. She helps teenage mothers find affordable living and they assist with the star up costs. She is a counselor to these young moms and helps them find jobs that will provide income while allowing them to finish high school. Just because there isn't commercial advertisement for the contributions of people like this does not mean it isn't happening.

 

Blogger surrendered said ... (4:01 AM) : 

well said, shaun... thanks for that helpful clarification.

 

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