Friday, June 18, 2010

First of many I hope...

Well it seems like more and more people I know are blogging now-a-days. I think that's great. I love being able to delve into the minds of people around me, particularly those I don't see as often as I might like.

I used to post on here pretty regularly, but got away from that sometime during my Freshman year at JMU. Being a senior now, I think I'm going to get back into this. I want this to be a place where I can sort of "talk aloud" about the things I'm struggling with or thinking about. I'll probably write about experiences, conversations, music, books, anything really...

I guess to kick things off, I'm reading a book called Jesus For President by Shane Claiborne. It's a sort of collection of ideas that this guy Shane and his friend Chris Haw had about the interactions between politics and Christianity. Being one who has become so disillusioned with politics over the past few years, I was sort of reluctant to start reading it fearing it would be an analysis of the influence of Christianity in politics and how we need more solid, well-versed Christian leaders.

As I began reading this book though, I quickly found that my loosely-grounded assumptions were quite wrong. Shane and Chris delved into the language that Jesus used during his time of teaching. He exposed (to me at least) the heavy political language that Christ used and the purpose he had behind this language. All the words used to describe Christ--King of Kings, Lord, Messiah, Son of God, King of the Jews--were LOADED with political meaning and usually reserved for the heads of state at the time. As Christ began referring to himself as these names and people around him did too, it put a lot of pressure on the people in power and really bothered them.

Not only this, but Claiborne and Haw have spent a good deal of time discussing the Christian's role in politics. He's brought up some really good points that I've been wrestling with. For example, many people believe (and I once did) that America was MY country. That I was a CITIZEN of this nation. My views about that are quickly changing... It says in Philippians 3:20 that "Our citizenship is in heaven" and the question he brings up is: how can we be citizens of two places?

I'm still wrapping my head around all this and I highly suggest you read the book and don't listen to my poor explanations of things, but it seems to me he's suggesting that Christianity has no role in politics. They are two, separate, and VERY different things. "So the last will be first, and the first last" (Matthew 20:16). Explain to me how rising to the top of the political food chain puts you "last" in this case? That's what I'm struggling with. I am loving this book.

If you want a happy-go-lucky read, don't read this book. If you want to be challenged, stretched, probably irked a little bit too, read this book. I can't guarantee you will like it. I can't guarantee that you will agree with everything (or anything) that Shane and Chris write about, but I can guarantee you will re-assess your beliefs about the world and you will see things a little bit differently.

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