Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Provocative questions ...

Christianity, Religion, & Politics

Is Christianity relevant today?
         What are the viable remnants of that faith?

How much of today's Christianity is related to the original?
       The name is retained; what else?

Does Christianity require democracy?
Can a politician be a Christian? Or vice versa?
Does Christianity encourage capitalism?

Answers at the bottom of the page, but no fair jumping ahead.

Christianity has been formative for American culture, or so we're told by early writers of our nation's story. Interestingly, and perhaps more accurately, western Christian practices and western culture have shaped each other over the centuries.

Despite the rise of the religious right, there's a long-term estrangement between early Christian and modern American values that is visible and growing.  "The Republican and Democratic parties are not merely uncomfortable, imperfect, homes for people of faith; they are prisons that artificially divide us and prevent us from coming together as a community to advance the common good."  A Christian alternative to America's broken political duopoly - Michael Stafford

But God is on our side, right?

Joshua had the same question for the sword wielding fellow he saw outside Jericho.  He asked, "Are you on our side or theirs?"  "Neither," came the answer, "but as the captain of the Lords army have I come."  Read that as, "I didn't come to take sides, I came to take over."

No, God is not on our side.  
     The relevant question, are we on His?  
           How do we get there?

So then, the questions:

Is Christianity relevant?  
Of course it is, but perhaps the church has some catching up to do.

What remnant of the original remains?  
All of it.  Religious practices come and go, but the central elements of Christianity remain unchanged.

How much of American Christianity is related to the original?
The real thing is a small core surrounded by a whirlwind of life issues; how do I live in this culture or context, how can I serve His purposes in this time and place.  It's a stronghold of extraordinary peace surrounded by a blinding conflagration of violence and trouble, turmoil and fury; it's your refuge, your fortress.

Does Christianity require democracy?  
No.  Nor even personal freedom.  Nor denominations, nor massive organizations, nor hierarchies, nor authoritarian rule ...

Can a politician be a Christian, or vice versa?  
Sure; in Him, all things are possible.  These days though, even He might have some reservations.  :)

Does Christianity encourage capitalism?  
No.  Nor personal property nor the pursuit thereof.  
Are those things wrong?  No, they're just not necessary parts of a life of faith.  Sometimes, they might even be an encumbrance.

So, what are we going to do with what we know?