Posts Tagged ‘Christians’

A Tough Season for Believers

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Good op-ed piece in the New York Times, “A Tough Season for Believers.” Here is the closing thought.

[B]elieving Christians are no longer what they once were — an overwhelming majority in a self-consciously Christian nation. The question is whether they can become a creative and attractive minority in a different sort of culture, where they’re competing not only with rival faiths but with a host of pseudo-Christian spiritualities, and where the idea of a single religious truth seems increasingly passé.

Or to put it another way, Christians need to find a way to thrive in a society that looks less and less like any sort of Christendom — and more and more like the diverse and complicated Roman Empire where their religion had its beginning, 2,000 years ago this week.

And Christianity did thrive under an intolerant Roman Empire. God doesn’t need a “Christian nation” or tolerant environment for his people to flourish. But we do need to be the people he calls and empowers us to be in the context we find ourselves.

Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives. (1 Peter 1:11-12, The Message)

On Politics and Political Positions

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

As a result of the U.S. healthcare debate and vote, there has been a lot of Jesus follower jumping in on one side or the other of the issue. Although I disagree with Greg Boyd on a number of topics, I believe he captures the heart of what our view towards politics and political positions should be.

The political system will always try to lure us into believing that our particular way of doing politics is the ‘Christian’ way and tempt us into placing our trust in (what we think is) the wisdom and righteousness of our political positions rather than in the power of self-sacrificial love.

When Christians begin to think this way, it inevitably divides the church, since the ambiguity of politics is such that on most issues, good and decent people can and do disagree. If I naively pronounce that my views are the ‘Christian’ views, then your views must be judged to be ‘un-Christian’ if they disagree with me. This is arrogant and naive. It’s also unbiblical. Jesus called both Matthew, a tax collector, and Simon, a Zealot, to be his disciples. Tax collectors and zealots were at opposite sides of the political spectrum in the first century. Yet we don’t read a word in the Gospels about whose views Jesus thought were most correct, for the Kingdom he came to establish is “not of this world” (Jn. 18:36).

Even more importantly, when followers of Jesus get co-opted by the political system it distracts us from the Kingdom work we’re called to do. To the extent that we place our trust in exercising power over others, we stop trusting our mandate to exercise power under others through sacrificial service. Paul warns us not to get too involved in the affairs of the world, including its politics, but to always focus on pleasing our commander (2 Tim. 2:4)…. We who follow Jesus must always remember we belong to a radically different country with a radically different King who offers radically different solutions to the problems of life. We are missionaries in whatever earthly kingdom we happen to find ourselves in. We are citizens of heaven before we’re citizens of any earthly kingdom (Phil. 3:20).

My prayer is that as followers of Jesus our discussion around the healthcare issue or any political dialogue will be tempered by what Mr. Boyd shares.

A. W. Tozer Quote

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Much of our difficulty as seeking Christians stems from our unwillingness to take God as He is and adjust our lives accordingly. We insist upon trying to modify Him and bring Him nearer to our own image. —A. W. Tozer