Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.

4/11/2006

Jesus, red state or blue?

Where would Jesus live? In a red state or a blue state? According to an editorial from Sunday, the answer is neither, or both, depending on how you look at it.

In a New York Times opinion piece called Christ Among the Partisans, Gary Wills quotes Jesus in John 18:36 in order to underscore his point that Jesus was not political. In that passage, Jesus says,
My reign is not of this present order. If my reign were of this present order, my supporters would have fought against my being turned over to the Jews. But my reign is not here.
Wills writes in part,
The Gospels are scary, dark and demanding. It is not surprising that people want to tame them, dilute them, make them into generic encouragements to be loving and peaceful and fair. If that is all they are, then we may as well make Socrates our redeemer....

He was never that thing that all politicians wish to be esteemed—respectable. At various times in the Gospels, Jesus is called a devil, the devil's agent, irreligious, unclean, a mocker of Jewish law, a drunkard, a glutton, a promoter of immorality.

The institutional Jesus of the Republicans has no similarity to the Gospel figure. Neither will any institutional Jesus of the Democrats.
The full text of the op-ed is online here.

Jesus was killed as a threat to the status quo. Does that make him politcal or apolitical? Or is this the wrong question? What do you think?

Note:
Our worship this evening is a communion service at 7 p.m. using the readings for Tuesday in Holy Week.

2 Comments:

  • At 4/11/2006 4:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Jesus refused to be a poster boy for any political group of his time and cannot be pigeonholed by our current systems as well. He offended the zealots of his time who were looking for a freedom fighter. He offended the religious authoritiarians of his time who were looking for a rubber stamp to retain their power. God's kingdom does not fit either paradigm. It leaves us completely without a common point of reference to those who see only the secular kingdoms. No one who takes any firm moral stand can avoid being tagged by one political group or another. While the Kingdom of Heaven is not an earthly principality, those of us who are its citizens do live within earthly political zones. If we truly believe what we say we believe enough that it affects how we live our lives, we, like Jesus, will be neither able nor willing to take sides. After all, we're not on Man's side. Like the text of the old hymn, "Who is on the Lord's side? Who will serve the King?" True Christianity, living with the mind of Christ within you, transcends political divisions, and thus, in its truest sense offends everyone. We offend some by our compassion, and we offend others by our unwillingness to excuse behavior contrary to scripture - sometimes simultaneously. Because we ultimately answer to the one Righteous Judge - because we believe that Christ is THE absolutely perfect example, we are at odds with our own society. It is our best reminder that we, like our Saviour, are not truly of this world, but we are only in it for a short while.

     
  • At 12/10/2006 1:42 PM, Anonymous Noel Lysen said…

    Just because Jesus was not a partisan (his kingdom rules all, and he is not subject to the leaders of men) in his lifetime doesn't mean we have to be nonpartisan. We ARE ruled by men after all, and the laws do apply to us.

    I believe a democrat or republican can be a Christian. However, there are certain specific issues that are MANDATED by God through the Bible that we should be mindful of when casting votes for our leaders.

    The death penalty, abortion, and gay marriage are some of those issues. No matter what your own personal inclination is (for instance, I would have no problem with gay marriage if not for my belief in the Bible, and subsequently, my belief in marriage), if you truly believe in the word then, on certain issues, you should be COMPELLED to take the side that follows God's will.

     

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