10.25.2006

Going Crazy

Life's been a bit crazy lately. New job, new apartment, new child... no new posts here. Thanks for understanding. I'll get back to this when my internet conection is up and running at my home.

10.11.2006

Church & State Excerpt Two

If we agree that Jesus Christ is Lord, and that he reigns over the powers of this world, we can agree that it is the Church’s responsibility to bear witness to this fact. One of the primary ways we bear witness is by living according to norms and standards set forth by Jesus Christ. Immediately we recognize that we do not consistently do this, which begs the question, do we have anything to say at all? I believe that we do, so long as we honestly recognize our mistakes, both our sins of omission and commission, and seek to make them right. We cannot hold the State to a higher standard than we are willing to be held to ourselves. Therefore, it is important to be clear about the standard we wish ourselves to be held to, and that which we wish for the State. Given the fact that our standard, the example of Jesus Christ, is in some sense very high, it is understandable if others and we fall short, so long as we do not use this as an excuse to not even try. Let me be clear, failure to exemplify the life of Christ is not acceptable, but it is inevitable. Therefore, we do well to witness to the State with the grace and mercy of Christ, as people who have been forgiven much.

10.03.2006

Church & State Excerpt One

“The first level of the Church’s faithfulness and in a sense, a test of the validity of everything else she will say later, will be her own obedience to the standards of discipleship.” (Yoder, The Christian Witness to the State, 16)

This first principle supersedes everything else. Though no person lives a perfect life, the ethics of the Church must be consistent with those things that she witnesses to and about. This overarching principle serves to ground the next three principles offered by Yoder.

1. The witness to the State must be representative of the Church’s clear conviction.

2. The witness of the Church must be consistent with her own behavior.

3. The Church should speak only when she has something to say. (Yoder, 21)

These three principles work hand in hand. On any given topic, unless a Church is exhibiting a certain type of behavior, it has no true conviction, and if it has neither behavior nor conviction, it has nothing to say.

10.01.2006

Church & State Intro

I mentioned my Church and State paper the other day. The outline is a couple posts down. Here is the introduction. I’ll post some excerpts in the coming days.

Intro
The Church’s relationship to the State has been, and currently is, a matter of deep contention. Standing apart from, being one with, and living in co-existence with, (to greater and lesser degrees) are three of the major ways Christians have chosen to interact with the State. In contrast, I will offer three ways in which the Church can witness to the State: Directly, Indirectly, and as a separatist alternative. In this paper, we will examine both contemporary and historical ways the Church has chosen to relate to the State. I would like to give us a path to follow, as we consider how we in this country might properly exercise our citizenship in this nation and the Kingdom to come.

The Church is at its best when it serves as a witness to the State, living and being a missional community that reflects the Kingdom of God. An integral part of this mandate is helping our neighbors, our community, and our culture, to reflect the Kingdom of God. Doing this requires both a personal commitment to moral excellence, and a commitment to systemic justice. The latter part in particular requires special attention from Evangelicals, as it has historically been the part of our call most likely to be neglected.

In the contemporary setting, we error when we go too far in one of two directions, relating too closely to the state, baptizing most or all that it does, or standing too far from it, in no way influencing it for the better.