Tuesday, March 22, 2005


I'd like to start working through this statement step by step and see how it flesh's out.

Thesis 1.
  1. When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ said, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand," he called us to become citizens of His Kingdom.
There's a lot to unpack in just this first statement. Christ commanded repentance of those who were listening to Him, whether in His day or us now.
Repentance means changing one's mind, so that one's views, values, goals, and ways are changed, and one's whole life is lived differently. Mind and judgement, will and affections, behavior and lifestyle, motives and plans: all are involved. Repenting means starting a new life. (New Geneva Study Bible, p.1756)
He then says that "the kingdom of heaven is at hand." In saying this, Christ is declaring that the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of God, is breaking into this world, and that it is breaking in through Him, Christ Jesus. The kingdom was not to be thought of as some far distant entity that would only come to fruition in a far away future. This kingdom that Christ spoke of was beginning with His advent. His miracles were a sign that this kingdom was beginning right there, right then. The question we're left with is this: What is the 'kingdom' that Christ is speaking of? What is the nature of this kingdom? What does it mean to become a citizen of Christ's kingdom? In what ways is His use of political language similar yet different than the way it's used by the powers of the world. What is the shape of citizenship in Christ's kingdom? What is its characteristic?

In the following theses, we will further unpack what this citizenship entails.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Some Questions

Some questions that popped into my head tonight while I was sitting in Barnes & Nobles drinking some Sumatra (mmmm) and reading Lou Dobbs' new book "Exporting America: Why Corporate Greed Is Shipping American Jobs Overseas":

Is nationalism just fiefdoms (European tribalism) writ large? If so, is economic nationalism just an extension of local/parochial/ethnic allegiances? What is the appropriate Christian response to this? If our primary allegiance is to Christ and to those who are called by His name (the church universal), to what degree can we be allied to a particular national interest? If (by historical standards very wealthy) American workers are being hurt, but foreign workers are being helped by "outsourcing", should we not support this as a means to "lift up" the poor around the world? But what if neither are being helped by this process, but instead these multi-national corporations are only pursuing short-term goals of personal enrichment at the expense of the "host" nations and workers? In this case are these corporations acting simply as parasites, feeding off the host until its energy is exhausted, and then it moves on to its next victim? As a people, should we see these various corporations as a confederation of similarly motivated interests (a sort of United States of Capital) working together (not in some dark conspiratorial way, but in an open and completely understandable fraternity of common interests) to advance their own material interests? If their interests are for their own enrichment and their own self-perpetuation, over and above any national/local/community loyalties, should we then not be concerned to see to a policy being enacted that would limit those impulses? While I don't agree with Dobbs' strong Americanism/nationalism, since my primary allegiance is to Christ (unconditionally) and His church (conditionally), and then further down the line to my country (very conditionally, no matter what country), I nonetheless agree with his concern over the rapacious appetite of the corporate empires that have effectively supplanted (and co-opted) our other governing structures. We stand at the crossroads, being asked to choose. Every moment we buy a product, we stand at the crossroads. Every moment we watch a television program, we stand at the crossroads. Every moment we accept and then propound a political view, we stand at the crossroads. We are always making choices. We are always being political. It's not a question of if, but which political and ethical position we are going to take and are taking. Just some questions on a friday night.