Thursday, September 08, 2005
The Politics of the People of God
"...the New Testament also teaches that the kingdom of God is a thing unto itself. It is a community in the midst of the world and as such stands alongside the nations. It operates not so much in states as between them. Primary loyalty for the Christian is not to any nation, but to the kingdom of God. The New Testament spends a great deal of time preaching the virtues of a God-honoring life and being a good citizen. Yet it clearly distinguishes love for the world from love for God and his kingdom. It is amazing how little is said directly about or against Rome, even though the church's values clearly opposed Roman values..."
- from The Politics of the People of God at www.christianitytoday.org, by Darrell Bock
What is the role of church to state or church to world? Read the rest of this article by Darrell Bock here
In the book Resident Aliens, Bishop Will Willimon and theologian Stanley Hauerwas makes a similar statment about the relationship between the Church and the state and world. The Church in many respects is to be a people who are representatives of the Kingdom of God that have formed colonies in the world. These peculiar colonies of "resident aliens" have their own peculiar practices- such as radical hospitality, eating the body and blood of their founder, imitating their founder's way of living, prayer, and baptizing new members into the community.
Yes this peculiar colony of strange aliens often times don't seem so strange- living side by side their neighbors- caring for them, working alongside them, always trying to be the face, hands and feet of the One who came before them in hopes that the neighbors might want to become a part of the colony.
As we transition further and further away from modernity into the next steps of an era I'm afraid (and excited) that the Church will continue to shed it's imperialistic relationship with the empires of the world and continue to look more and more like the early church. We'll have to wait and see how it pans out because for now- here in the Southeast US, we're still looking like empire and not colony.