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[The Creation of the Chicken]

An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Political Teachings of Jesus?

...casting all caution and possibly reason aside, I blog while entranced by pain-lessening narcotics.

...and He said unto them, a time will come wherein you will be able to vote for your government rulers and policies. At such time you will manifest the Kingdom of God with your vote...

2nd Opinions 2:10

The Roman Catholic Church rightly condemned "liberation theology" quite awhile ago and I can still to this day recall being shocked to learn that it was the case. I was telling a devout RC friend of mine (who'd been "witnessing to me") how much I admired the liberation theology movement. I could see he hated to burst my bubble.

I was ignorant, having bought into all the lies of the social gospel as was spoon fed to me by the Episcopal Church. Today, having a slightly richer understanding of orthodox Christian beliefs, thanks to Orthodoxy, I can see just how wrong and dangerous it can be to politicize the gospel. And when I say dangerous, I do not mean that some fascist Christian regime may arise...but something far worse: one may arise to eternal death.

Here is an interview with the author of a book entitled The Political Teachings of Jesus

Where do I begin? How about this: how do you know when Jesus was teaching about something political and when he wasn't? For instance: if we should politically enforce feeding the hungry, should we also have adultery made illegal? Should we make all forms of self-defense illegal (turn the other cheek, after all)? Should we ban the police force because we are not supposed to resist an evil person? Ought we not to ban all strip clubs and pornography because we know that we are not allowed to lust in our hearts? And really, how does one legislate to ensure that people love their enemies? When exactly are we to take our Lord's teachings as applying to us, the Church, society as a whole, or all of the above? And who says? The majority?

What Jesus had to say about how to live in the world...describes how to build a society...

It absolutely does not. The only thing Jesus said He came to build was His CHURCH! And the "Kingdom" that He is actually describing is NOT OF THIS WORLD. This world will hate it and seek to destroy it and it will not understand it. And indeed confusing it with a "just" society is an example of the latter.

Look at the world in which Jesus lived: the Roman occupation, the court of Herod, the Temple elite, the fantastic wealth of some amid the abject poverty of others, the tribal and ethnic conflict, slavery as routine practice, women as the property of husbands, the sick banished, unwanted infants exposed. Now, along comes Jesus to say: This is not acceptable.This is not acceptable. The world doesn’t have to be like this, nor should it.

He said no such thing, ironically. Our Lord never condemned any of these things nor even suggested that the world could be different...however, He did say His Kingdom would be different - yes - but as we have established His Kingdom is not of this world. In fact, one major facet of the beatitudes is NOT to show people the way toward social justice, but rather to show how the Kingdom turns worldly values up on end, and so also do our Lord's parables. These are not given to us to show us how the world SHOULD be or COULD be...again: we are talking about the Kingdom, not our society.

I think it is rather interesting that Mr. Lindberg see both liberals and conservatives as being right about somethings as they try and line themselves up within the context of Jesus' "political" teachings, whereas I would say none of them are even shooting at the right target if they think they can manifest God's Kingdom - in fact I would argue that the generally accomplish very little of eternal worth in even the most noble of endeavors. Which isn't to say they should not do them...we just need some perspective here.

Anyway, in having understood this truth (i.e. Christ came to establish His Church and not a "just society"), there's really little more to be said. The Kingdom of God is not manifested anymore by voting to feed than poor than by voting to prevent homosexuals from marrying one another. The Kingdom of God is arguably most clearly and concisely manifested as see the Royal Doors opened and you hear the words chanted: "Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit."

Our job isn't to vote our way into God's Kingdom, rather it is " Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind..." Note we don't change of transform this world; we are ourselves transformed. God really doesn't need democracy to usher in His Kingdom.

Here is a good article on God's Kingdom.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 3:00 PM [+]
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3 comments


3 Comments:

Also - do a google search on "black liberation theology" they had this guy on Fresh Air - http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=89236116

scary - & foreign to the gospel as most people read it. If this is what Obama believes then we're in big trouble.

SF

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:21 PM  

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What's ironic is that I thought Jesus pretty well cleared the air for those confused and expecting a political messiah, didn't He?

I mean, here's the Jewish people subjugated to the largest and arguable most brutal empire on the planet and Jesus says "render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar's."

I heard one black liberation "theologian" argue that you cannot understand Jesus unless you are a member of an oppressed class. He's right...except that the oppressor is SIN and death

And THAT is an oppressor that Christ came to liberate us from.

By Blogger JamesoftheNorthwest, at 3:18 PM  

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Yes. I would only add to the oppressors, Satan himself. Christ came to deliver mankind from sin, death, and the devil.

Why do we have to keep telling ourselves that politics, whether foreign or domestic, has NOTHING to do with the Kingdom of God, except this: The people of God (who are, presumably, the occupants and advocates of the Kingdom of God) speak/vote into the secular political situation as best they can, under whatever circumstances be currently given. We do this, NOT because we think that the Gospel is about social betterment, nationalism, or other pagan CRAP, but because the conscience is inseparable from the total human being.

The Gospel is about what the Church Fathers say it is, not what some black dude (oppressed or not) or some flag-waving right-winger says that it is. If that makes me politically incorrect, insensitive, or whatever, then THANK GOD, because I am NOT their "brother" in the first place, and therefore DO NOT CARE WHAT THEY THINK.

There is a prayer "Before Sleep" in the Orthodox Prayer Book that asks FORGIVENESS (yes, Divine mercy on personal moral failure) if I have been shaken by the evil of the world. Think about that request for absolution. Hard.

I mean, we like to flap our lips about what OTHER PEOPLE should abstain from, when we can't even give up meat, dairy, booze, and sex for a crummy month and a half without whining our butts off. But oh yeah, other people should await our political opinions with bated breath, as our bellies protrude into the next freakin' county.

Gary Patrick

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:06 AM  

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