After reading this piece from Shane Claiborne, I decided it was time to fire the blog back up again.
I guess what I want to do is be more disciplined about writing. Namely, I think its time for me to start expressing my ideas and creating dialogue, hopefully with some new people as well as some of the old readers.
I was thinking the other night, about what Jesus meant when he said, “Repent, and believe in me.” I recently read that Josephus, a Jewish historian who wrote during and after Jesus’s life, chronicled a story about a military officer with an unruly squad of men. They would not listen, they had their own agendas, and they were not coming together as a cohesive unit. What’s important about this story is that the squad leader, whom, if I remember correctly, was also named Jesus (coincidentally) used the same exact phrase that Jesus did when talking to his troops. But he didn’t mean it the way we’ve commonly come to understand it. I would argue that this is because the way we understand it is wrong.
When Jesus Christ, as well as Jesus the Army commander said “Repent and believe in me” they were telling their listeners to turn away from their own agendas, and follow the way of life of the speaker. This is telling because it gives us a whole new frame of reference for looking at Jesus’s message to his followers. He’s not telling them only to have this personal change of heart and try to stop sinning. He’s calling them to abandon their current worldviews, whether it be that of the Pharisees who believed that through strict adherence to the law, they would eventually be saved (from Rome, not to heaven) or that of the zealots, who believed that if they rose up and started a war, God would swoop in and save them (again, from Rome). Jesus, in telling people to repent and believe in his way of doing things was warning them of the destruction of following their own agendas, of trying to do things the same way everyone else does them. He warned of the hell that was to come if they didn’t repent, namely the destruction of Judiasm and their entire culture and religion that would come with the siege of Jerusalem in AD 70.
And this is where I am right now. I see the financial destruction that looms over our heads every day… I see how we’ve put our trust in our way of doing things, which in the grand scheme of things is better than things have been before, but it is still sinful, and I see Jesus saying “turn away from how you’ve been conditioned and follow me. America may not make it, but the goal isn’t America, the goal is to live the life God intended for you.”
And Jesus and the early church gave us a pretty clear example about what that life looks like. Its one that often times consists of poverty, it is willing to lay down ones life rather than kill to protect your life, its one that proclaims freedom for those who are captive, that shows that the power structures of this world are hell bent on not doing things God’s way, and that our job is to be a prophetic witness against them.
And that’s why, in conclusion, I will not be voting in this, or hopefully any other election. Our salvation does not come from a good government…. because a good government outside of the reign of God does not exist. When we participate in the process, it is essentially endorsing violence and injustice, something that we as Christians should be standing against. Shane says it better than I… so if you haven’t, check out that article.