Tuesday, May 02, 2006

We Are Not Of This World

While skimming the pages of Greg Boyd's latest book "The Myth of a Christian Nation", my mind began wandering down one of its own paths (my mind is like a maze-- you should see it in here), wondering if this particular thought applied to me or not. Boyd was noting how often we Christians tend to tie our politics to our spirituality, and sometimes confuse the kingdom of this world with the Kingdom of God. Conservatives are pretty sure that liberals are devil-worshippers, and liberals are convinced that the devil worships conservatives. But liberals and conservatives can come together and agree that God is on "our" side when our opponent's lair is overseas. Boyd gives several examples, one of which is the first Gulf War, where it was "obvious" that God was on "our" side because of the ease with which our forces swept away the Iraqi forces. Patriotism and religion mingled, and we all knew that America and her allies were blessed by God, and working His will in Iraq. Well, weren't we?

I'll admit that I began to get a bit nervous at this point, because I was wondering if Dr. Boyd was about to go into a rant about how America sucks, the war was wrong, Bush sucks (W and HW!), we should be more politically correct, gay is okay, and......

But no. For one thing, I know him better than that. For another thing, as soon as I started wondering why I was getting nervous, it occurred to me that he was right. He was starting to irk the patriot in me. Some of his examples would touch the same nerve in a liberal as this one was touching in conservative old me.

The point Boyd was making was that God gave His all to save liberals, too. And the (certainly) thousands of Iraqis that died. Maybe the war was just. Maybe it wasn't. Maybe the current situation in Iraq is wrong, or maybe not. Whatever our feelings on this or any other issue, we need to remember that although I believe fanatically that abortion is wrong and you, a Christian, may believe it's a neccessary right, we are ambassadors for Christ. God's agenda isn't a political one. Although there are many critical issues we can affect, and many that we should, our highest priority is to honor our Father by bringing His truth and His Kingdom to a world who is lost without Him. Everything, whether it's fighting a "just war" or protesting an "unjust invasion", must be done with an eternal perspective.

This is getting longer than I had intended so I'm gunna wrap it up, but first I want to tell you something that I dragged up from my not-too-distant past, while pondering the big picture Boyd was presenting. We were planning for a camping trip, when a gay family member asked if it would be okay to invite their partner to join us. After some thought and some discussion I said that no, it would be better if they didn't, because there would be younger family members present and we really didn't want them exposed to that sort of thing. The idea was to protect the family. That was our little "family government" way of laying down the law. But in light of Boyd's argument, I think I made the wrong decision. It could have been an excellent opportunity to demonstrate, and invite everyone involved into, the love of God. That is, after all, our highest calling in this world. WWJD? I don't think He would shut out the sinners. I think that in that moment I forgot I was an ambassador from another Kingdom. Remember that although we live here, we're not from around here.


Blogger JLF said...

Jesus ministered to prostitutes and sinners, that's for sure. But do you think they were actively involved in prostitution when they were with Jesus? I'm not sure what that means for having homosexuals on your camping trip... I'm just thinking out loud.

And what are you doing reading Boyd anyway? :)

May 02, 2006 11:16 AM  
Blogger DErifter said...

The camping trip I envisioned had that couple joined us, didn't involve "active homosexuality", if that's what you're getting at. (Eww!) But I originally thought that just their being there together would imply our blessing on their relationship, and I didn't want that to be implied.

I disagree with Greg Boyd in some significant areas to be sure (there's that pesky Open Theism business don't cha know) but I've read and heard quite a bit from him and on the whole, I think he rocks!

May 02, 2006 8:14 PM  

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