Sunday, March 12, 2006
I know this remarkable fellow. Rob Asghar. He has lead a most interesting life. Perhaps one of the most interesting parts of this life is his convertion to a Christ-follower, after growing up Muslim. Rob has been a friend for about 10 years, and has never ceased to make me think, question my world view, and consider new ideas. Rob just doesn't fit into a neat Christian Box, darn it. But the older I get, the less it seems (I think) that even Jesus does not fit into that box I made for him, darn him.
I am thankful for Rob.
Recently Rob has been taking aim at a man I have met and admire; Hugh Hewitt. But the issues Rob raises are really less about Hugh, and are far more about the way some of us Christian folk think. Sometimes I wonder, is it American Christian, or Christian American?
Stuff That Bugs and Confuses Me
A couple of things that bother me. First, the "we have it all together" mentality of the Christian Right. While there is much on the left side of the political spectrum that I find inconsistent with the message of the Gospel, I do not in any way remain convinced that Conservatives have the corner on the sum total of all truth.
While I support the current military action in Iraq, Rob Asghar well points out that "national defense as an extension of Biblical theology" is something to be suspect of. For more on that concept, please see this. I do not have all the answers, but I do know a pacifist take to the events of WWII would have had disastrous consequences for world history. And I do think deposing Saddam was a good thing, but I am saddened by the ongoing brokenness of Iraq. However, if we, as a country are offended by the concept of brutal dictators, then why, please tell me, do we simply watch from the sidelines what is happening in Dahfur? And what of the band of loonies current semi-starving the people of North Korea? Do we simply invade at will? What would Jesus do....please tell me?
How about the social contracts we make in our own nation? While I bristle at an "entitled class", and the lock-step behavior of many unions, we Christian folk best keep in our mind the Biblical mandate of care for the poor and forgotten. Unsettling ideas that Jesus fellow had.
What about that City?
Christ described our role as followers to be that city on a hill. But how can we do that if we all look the same, act the same, and have the same politics. I am not sure. But I do know this, if I really, really want to follow Jesus, it means that I need to give Him all of myself, including, even maybe, my politics. The church universal has amazing things to offer, in all its colors and forms. I love Eugene Peterson's take on this:
We are......"here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill"
And so, what does our public form look like? Is it an army perfectly lined up behind James Dobson, Pat Robertson, and their type. On the other hand, do we blindly follow Jim Wallis, Hilary, and Al Franken? Do we all join the National Council of Churches, hold hands, sing inclusive songs, and equally recognize the wonderfulness of the Divinity of the Month?
I hope its neither. I also pray that whatever form we take, it is something mysteriously beautiful. That is my hope.
Posted by Steve at 7:17 PM