In the next few posts I am going to do some personal reflections. Will they be objective; of course not, after all they are personal to me and where I am in my life right now. If I am nothing else I am compassionate about things I truly believe in! I don’t pretend to have answers to the questions I have but I am constantly seeking wisdom from God’s word, particularly the red letters.
Here is my first observation:
There seems to be two basic types of worldviews around today.
- I am the master of my fate: I am in control of my life. I am accountable for everything that happens to me. If I run into an obstacle it is up to me and me alone to overcome it. Therefore everything that I accomplish and any wealth I accumulate is mine and mine alone. Do not tax it or take it away from me to give to others who do not deserve it. I alone deserve it and I don’t need to share it with those who were not as strong as I am. They are failures; I am a success. They need to pull themselves up like I did.
- There but for the grace of God go I (I paraphrase this as “Shit Happens”) – Many things that happen in my life are really out of my control. Prosperity primarily depends on where you were born. How you grew up and the opportunities that were given to you. It is up to those who had better opportunities and therefore prospered to have compassion on those less fortunate than themselves. We must share the prosperity that we have gained. It is not ours alone.
I’m sure that there are people who call themselves Christians in both of these camps. But, I personally am in the second group. For at least the last several years I seem to be constantly thinking about those on the margins of society in the US and around the world. If I had not been born to a lower middle class family in the Midwestern United States I could be spending all my current time just trying to survive from day to day. After all, this is typical with almost half the present world’s population. Instead I have plenty to eat, a nice place to live and not many worries (except for the self made and often self centered kind). We people in the western societies need to be reminded more often just how easy we have it.
I would not even attempt to guess what the percentage of Christians are in each of these groups. But, what does the Bible say about these two worldviews? I think I need to study on this some but I have a general idea that group 2 is closer to the way the Lord intends us to live and I will continue to strive to be in that group.
Last time I pointed out a couple of reasons why I believe that the phrase Taking America back for God to be erroneous statement. This time I will expand my thoughts on this topic and talk about allegiances.
Does God recognize governments and give some more blessings than others? — Except for Israel of course there is little evidence of that in Jesus’ words. And even for Israel, in my mind, refers to the people who have a relationship with God and not the political nation either then or now. God infinitely loves all his children no matter what their nationality or politics is. He loves that child who died of starvation within the last 30 seconds in an African country just as much as he loves you or your children. I don’t think Jesus is much on national identities. After all he even associated with Samaritans! That was a definite political no-no in his days.
Christian Theocracies – We have had Christian Theocracies at various times in world history but we never see them end up acting Christ like. In fact they usually ended up looking pretty much like all the other pagan nations around them. We waste a lot of our energy as Christians today in the United States trying to establish a political kingdom that is Christ like. Jesus rejected that idea when he was walking this earth so I don’t think he would condone it now. Not even for the United States of America.
Where should our allegiances be?
Next time I will talk more about Jesus and politics and summarize this discussion. As usual I welcome any comments you wish to post as long as they remain civil.
I wanted to spend today’s post giving you some quotes from Greg Boyd. I use Dr. Boyd’s words quite often in this blog but will give some first timers a little info about him. He is a theologian and the founder and senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul MN. He is also the founder and president of Christus Victor Ministries and an author of 15 books on theology and what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. He also has doctorates from both Princeton and Yale Divinity Schools.
Here are his words (the bold letters are my emphasis, not his):
Now through his death and resurrection, Jesus accomplished the task for which he came. He defeated the kingdom of darkness and set humanity free. In principle, therefore the world has already be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:14-21; Col 1:15-20). In principle, the wall of sin that separates humanity along ethnic, cultural, socioeconomic, and tribal lines has been destroyed. In principle, all have already died in Adam and been made alive in Christ (1 Cor 15:22; 2 Cor 5:14). In principle, we are already one new humanity in Christ (Eph 2:14-15). In principle. Yet Scripture as well as our own experience makes it painfully clear that what is true in principle has not yet been manifested as accomplished fact. The interval between what is true in principle and what is manifested as fact… The interval from our perspective has already lasted two thousand years and for all we know may go on for another ten thousand…. Now, we need to understand that this interval is not to be a time in which we passively wait for the end. Rather, it is a time in which the kingdom of God that was planted at Calvary is supposed to grow in us and through us to encompass the entire world.
These so eloquently put words are at the very soul of my beliefs of Jesus’ teachings. Let all us followers of the Way spend our time on this earth making what Jesus accomplished in principle actually occur in fact.
Here is a list of books by Pastor Boyd that is well worth reading and may just shake you out of some of your commonly held myths of what being a Christian is all about:
Letters from a Skeptic
Myth of the Christian Nation
Seeing is Believing
Is God to Blame
Myth of a Christian Religion
I will be reviewing each of them in the coming weeks.