>Screw Politics! It’s about Love


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By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.[Jesus, John 13:35]

I`ve spent a lot of time lately talking about Jesus and how following Him fits within the political spectrum, or more to the point, how it doesn`t. It`s a difficult question and the answers are difficult to articulate. Many people feel that the all encompassing message of Jesus necessarily incorporates politics but I maintain that all forms of politics and government are human inventions that serve to separate us from God, not bring us closer. God`s Kingdom is not of this world and any attempt to manipulate it through earthly means is quite simply sin.

The children of Israel where warned of this when they rejected Samuel’s sons as judges and demanded a king over them. God’s warning was clear, a king would not provide the security they were looking for, or be a just judge; rather, he would oppress the people and ultimately create a barrier between them and God.

Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.”[1 Samuel 8:10-18]

And that’s what a political system does. It creates walls, both physical and metaphorical, between people and God and most obviously amongst the people themselves.

Politics is divisive. It has created hierarchy through concentration and manipulation of power and perpetuated the myth that some people are worth more than others. It has created an elite class to rule over the lesser citizens and has drawn lines between peoples. Politics is more concerned with keeping certain groups out than allowing anyone who looks different or thinks differently in. God’s design, evident in the Garden of Eden was for man to commune directly with Him, each other and with nature but we continually reject God and have created a political system that is indicative of our fallen world.

In order to commune directly with the almighty there cannot be any division among us. Over and over again we find in scripture plain instructions on what to do to get closer to God. These instructions have one fundamental thing in common. Screw the Politics, get together and do something meaningful.

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them. [Jesus, Matthew 18:20]

And what are we told is meaningful? Follow the Abrahamic law? Draw borders on a map? Live in communities of exclusion, elitism and hierarchy?

No – We are plainly told that a meaningful life is a life of love and service to others. A life with no political division or hierarchy where Christ is the centre and our only mission is to love and serve one another.

Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. [The Apostle Paul, Colossians 3:11-14]

I sincerely believe that God is grieved by our many divisions. The first step to unity is to recognize that this is not the way it’s supposed to be. All people are made in the image and likeness of God. All people deserve love and compassion. All means all.

This has nothing to do with politics. The sooner we recognize that the sooner we can get on with it and really start loving our neighbours as ourselves.

One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”[Matthew 22:35-40]

All We Need is Love – John Lennon, Paul McCartney

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7 thoughts on “>Screw Politics! It’s about Love

  1. >Well, you spent a great deal of time and effort. Thank you, the issue is worth it. And about the utter centrality of love in the gospel there can be no doubt. I fully agree. Beyond that there are differences. If you contend that politics is nothing but human invention, then what are we to think about the divine institution of government as Romans 13 teaches? And if mere human institutions are unworthy of our redemptive efforts, what about business?I wonder if you'd give some thought to the idea that your approach tends to make an abstraction of who we are. We are who we are, aren't we, in all our roles and functions. We are parents, citizens, consumers, neighbors, lovers, thinkers, etc., etc., etc. Strip all of this way and what is left is not anything like our real existence. If this is valid, then why strip away our world of citizenship and say our redemption is not relevant here?One of the authors in your reading list is N. T. Wright. I must assume you have at least some appreciation for his views. But he becomes incomprehensible if you do not honor that in his view of the Bible and of Jesus, there is no such thing as an apolitical reality there. I give you a quote about Wright from Sojourners:"Here is a great article from The Christian Century that expresses much of N.T. Wright’s challenge. Believing that social justice is an integral part of Christ’s message does not belittle his message of salvation. It is in fact an integral part of it.'But the whole point of the Gospels is that the coming of God’s kingdom on earth as in heaven is precisely not the imposition of an alien and dehumanizing tyranny, but rather the confrontation of alien and dehumanizing tyrannies with the news of a God — the God recognized in Jesus — who is radically different from them all, and whose inbreaking justice aims at rescuing and restoring genuine humanness…'Yes, Jesus did, as Paul says, die for our sins, but his whole agenda of dealing with sin and all its effects and consequences was never about rescuing individual souls from the world but about saving humans so that they could become part of his project of saving the world. “My kingdom is not from this world,” he said to Pilate; had it been, he would have led an armed resistance movement like other worldly kingdom-prophets. But the kingdom he brought was emphatically for this world, which meant and means that God has arrived on the public stage and is not about to leave it again; he has thus defeated the forces both of tyranny and of chaos — both of shrill modernism and of fluffy postmodernism, if you like — and established in their place a rule of restorative, healing justice…'"Or consider his contribution to a book about Paul and Politics:Wright, N., T., ‘Paul’s gospel and Caesar’s empire’, in Horsley, R., A., (Ed.), (2000) Paul and Politics: Ekklesia, Israel, Imperium & Interpretation, (Pennsylvania: Trinity Press International).That's vintage N. T. Wright.I'd much appreciate reading your observations about this.

  2. >Two thoughts, Lauren.1. The scriptures leave a lot of room for interpretation. Are they about love, or are they about revenge/retaliation? Depends upon where you look. 2. The implication of that, of course, is enormous: It may mean that there is actually room for disagreement WITHIN the scriptures. Opposing views among the apostles and prohets! That tension seems to be part and parcel of them. The WORD of GO is buried somewhere within that central conflict. It almost seems that we are SUPPOSED to do what you are doing, to think and to learn and to grow and to experience in order to decide what to believe about God.3. I lied, I guess. Three points not two, the third being that, a lot of people don't like that. You are probably (figuratively speaking I hope) about to be boiled in hot water by your more conservative friends. Ouch!Change of topic:Have you seem my latest web page? I am developing one for my church: http://www.eltopiaucc.com. I must add that the above comments do not necesssarily represent those of UCC.Frank

  3. >I posted a nice, long comment, only to have a glitch in the actual posting of it wipe it out. Arrgh. Lucky for you, and other readers, that means I'll give you the short version now. ;-)It doesn't matter if Jesus Himself was political or not. Democratic republics like ours call for our participation. We will participate based on our own morality and influencing factors, factors such as Jesus. Ergo, perhaps kicking and screaming, Jesus will be dragged into politics whether or not He wants to be or should be.Fortunately, all of Jesus' teachings are simple enough that all believers have the same interpretation of what Jesus would want them to do, so there are never any conflicts among believers. *cough* 😉

  4. >I think it is all about love. If we all loved one another and respected the rights of other individuals, there would be no need for politics and we'd have world peace and we'd all go to heaven. It's all about love.

  5. >wise fool…If only you knew how right you are. As sarcastic as your comment is, the teaching is plain. It's our sin and human creativity that makes it complicated. With a few exceptions most Christian churches can get together and agree on enough to work together and continue dialoguing about our differences. In the world of Christian Humanitarian NGO's for instance, the number of ecumenical organizations far out number those dominated by one or two denominations. But the church is not immune to sin and there is no greater sin than when we forget to love one another. That is hpyocracy and it is the single biggest excuse that non-believers give for wanting nothing to do with the church. Who can blame them?Disputes between believers and within the churches should always remain shrouded in love and mutual respect. When we cease to love one another, we cease to be followers of Christ.

  6. >I am coming into this discussion a little late but if I was to make a worthwhile comment on the current topic what Epiphyllum said would have been the jist. But he said it way better than I so nothing more needs to be said from this quarter. -Joe

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