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
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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)

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Christian Mistake of Trying to Turn the World into the Kingdom

"...[W]e believe that it is time for the church to recognize that it is in a missionary situation in the very culture it helped to create. Of course,... the church ought to be in a missionary situation at any time and in any culture. However, it happens that we have lived during a time when Christians thought that they had made themselves a home from which they could become missionaries to others. Because we Western, Northern-European Christians had succeeded in fashioning a 'Christian' culture, we could now speak to everyone else's culture. That was a tragic mistake."


"Christian recognition of their status as 'resident aliens' was muted when Christianity became a civilizational religion. That project, which in many ways is quite explicable, was the attempt to turn the world into the kingdom. It was the attempt to force God's kingdom into being by making the worship of God unavoidable. It was the attempt to make Christian convictions available without conversion and transformation."

"It is unclear who started looking like whom first, whether Southern Baptist pastors started looking like Texas politicians, or Texas politicians started looking like Southern Baptist pastors. Whatever genetic relations, Christians have been forever tempted to derive our status from those forms of power valued by the wider culture. The United Methodist Book of Discipline is no longer a handbook for church discipline but resembles a handbook for employees of IBM. Pastors are routinely relegated to the ranks of 'the health care professions.' In the process, the church loses its way. No one listens to a church which speaks the same truths that can be heard anywhere other than church."
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From Stanley Hauerwas, In Good Company: The Church as Polis (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1995), 53, 54, 55, 56.

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