A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Kingdom Pushes Us to Church

Scot McKnight has written a post on Luke Timothy Johnson's new book, Prophetic Jesus, Prophetic Church. I have yet to read it but it sounds like it puts forth an argument which I will find agreeable. Scot writes of Johnson's argument:

I agree that Luke-Acts is misread if seen through the lens of anti-empire ideology. Instead, it is a politics "more possible to be realized by small intentional communities than by worldwide administrations" and has to do with "deep derangement of human dispositions … a liberation from dispositions that corrupt all social programs and a demand for dispositions and actions that work for the transformation of all social practices" (74).

In other words, kingdom pushes to church; he has somewhat of an ecclesial view of kingdom.

Kingdom of God today: we see an already and not yet view of kingdom, and it is a summons at two levels, both necessary: personal and political. The "political" is not reduced to partisan politics in society but to an ecclesially based new society, and the personal is not reduced to personal pietism.

This is spot on stuff. As I continue to say-- when Christians hear the word "politics" they should not think state; they should think church. For Christians, our politic is church. But that clearly is not what it has been and both the Christian right and the left are guilty of making the church somehow beside the point. Because we have reduced the "political" to partisan politics we have reduced the church to one more social agency and one more culturally acceptable option to choose from-- like the having season tickets for the local sports team and a membership in the zoological society-- though we are actually more excited about going to the ballgame than being an ecclesially based new society.

As Stanley Hauerwas has prophetically said, "in the name of being politically responsible, the church became politically invisible."
(NOTE: Scot mentions a book he is co-editing with Joe Modica that will be released this autumn, Jesus Is Lord Caesar Is Not, which will examine current anti-imperial readings of the New Testament. I am honored to be a contributor to that volume. Yes, shameless self-promotion, I know. What can I say?)

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