God and Culture

I listened to the most recent edition of Speaking of Faith yesterday (http://speakingoffaith.publicradio.org/programs/evangelical_politics/) and it is about Evangelicals in the world and how they intersect with politics/culture. The host moderated a discussion (she called it a time of discernment) with Chuck Colson, Greg Boyd and Shane Claiborne–three Evangelicals from three different generations and who each see things a bit differently than the other. Great discussion (I recommend listening to the full discussion, if you have the time) and, of course, timely.

I heartily agree with the younger generations that church doesn\’t belong in politics, as government pollutes and God is on the side of no country. Older generations, bless them, seem to have no problem intertwining God and country/nationalism. I think WWII imprinted a \’the USA is God\’s agent in the world\’ mentality. I realize great good can be manifest through political decisions and Christian political leaders, but as the church, our energies should be focused not on culture and politics, but on higher, Kingdom living.

The discussion never fully got here, but the way I see it, we\’re called to be so different (like Jesus) that it rattles the group consciousness of Americans. The Amish response to the murder of their children rattled the status quo understanding of how to \’be\’ in times that typically trigger revenge or, at the very least, a desire for justice. Claiborne says that in one of his books, there is a chapter entitled something like this: Amish for Homeland Security. I love it and I look at what Carter is doing right now (going to Hamas, hoping to created bridges to peace) and see Kindgom living in action. Funny, no one \’gets\’ or affirms what he is doing…I think God sent him there–go God! Go Jimmy, and thank you for answering the higher call!

So, do I sound like I\’m talking out of both sides of my mouth? Amish for Homeland Security, Jimmy and Hamas on the one hand, and Christians distancing themselves from politics on the other? Yes, it sounds like that, but my take is that if you are on your face before God He will call you into action where He wants you. Some will be called to political service (to hopefully help bring His will into government policy, or at least to help bring other government officials to Him personally, but not as a confirmation that God is American or even the American god…ain\’t so folks, look around, I\’d say the god of Babylon/mammon is the primary god of America–wanna know who your god is? Look at where you spend your money, your time and your energy–that is your god). Oh, back to the first part of this paragraph…sorry, I digressed…like I mentioned, God will call some to political service (essentially to help bring about justice), and He will call others to bring His mercy and grace (like the Amish and ministry). The latter is what rattles group consciousness and makes those outside of Christianity scratch their heads and wonder who we are and why we\’re so different. Like Greg Boyd mentioned, we should be so \’other\’ that people should be attracted to who we are and Who we represent. Our alligiance isn\’t to the president of the USA, but to the Creator of the Universe, our Savior, Lord and King (\”king\”…is that equivalent to \”president\”?) and who draws us into intimate relationship with Himself. Claiborne says we shouldn\’t be relevant, but peculiar…for Jesus is/was peculiar and we walk with Him.

If we blend in with our surroundings, folks, then we\’re in need of healing and transformation. Who is your god/God? Are you so surrendered that the Light of God visibly shines through you? Do others look at you and wonder? Is God using you to rattle the consciousness of America and/or the world? Are you a mini earthquake?

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