Sunday, December 6, 2009

Second Epistle to Tim (here after, II Tim.)

Dear Tim, and all others of you listening in,

In response to David's excellent defence of himself in the comments of the original post, "Is It Incompetence of Sabotage?", you rejoined with this:

"The religious right has fooled many people into believing that its views are reflective of Christ's views. They are not! In fact, they are often in direct opposition to the teachings of Jesus. Please stop soiling the name of Jesus with your politics."

You then go on to unload a criticism of your own under a rubric you call a "secular point of view", as if to show us how separating one's politics and one's faith is done.

First I must address the outrage of right-leaning Christians expressing political views. Perhaps another cartoon is in order. Peruse the following, if you will. (Go here for the cartoon.)

Unless I miss my guess, this must capture your view of conservative Christians in general and this blog in particular. (I especially enjoy the "tax cuts" tatoo). While I do admit that one of my favorite bumper stickers ever announces Jesus is Coming...and is He ever pissed! and that the image of Jesus that I mostly dwell on is the one given in Revelation showing him returning on a white charger and wielding a great sword, I do consider myself--and David--capable of humor, irony, nuance and a certain philosophical precision. You apparently missed that part.

One can construct a Jesus and an evangel to fit any age or culture, as indeed has been done and continues to be done. Most of these are heretical of course; it is the ubiquitous and iniquitous sin nature that turns Jesu the joy of man's desiring to Jesu, the joy of man's designing.

Take the mega-church Jesus above; He wants you to be rich, comfortable with yourself, and pleased to call second rate entertainment adequate worship. (By the way--when do you think we will see pastor Rick Warren at an official Obama function again--or any religious figure for that matter?) Or, perhaps closer to your home, what of St John the Divine in Manhattan, where the actual gospel last made its appearance sometime in the 19th century, and all manner of New Age and eastern mysticism are mixed with the anodyne strains of trendy left-socialist social dogma? What of Jeremiah Wright and the Chicago Church of Hate America, where Jesus is surely black and a radical? Did you feel just the least bit queasy at the numerous magazine cover references to candidate Obama as a messiah, redeemer, light worker--and his allowing of it? Why did this "Christian" man allow anyone to style him as the One Who Would Come? Should Christians criticize that, or is that unbecoming and un-Christ like?

I will speak for myself here. I hold to historic Protestantism, as a conservative Reformed Presbyterian. I claim that the orthodox among the parts of Christendom are most truly connected to the earth and the world, and thus most free to enjoy Christian liberty without heretical rules made to foment guilt, aid righteous living, or distinguish the church. They are also best able to delineate the proper mode of engagement with the world, which always included a political element, but now when the philosophical and political understanding is that the people are judge of their own rights and liberties, and that these are over against the power of the government that serves at their pleasure, believing Christians ought more than ever to engage in political discussion. Does it surprise you that there are sharp elbows involved? How do you think the Pharisees took Jesus' shots at them? Not that I am equating my opinions with Jesus--that is your claim about me and this blog. I deny that I ever have spoken in the name of Jesus--wouldn't that be prophetic speech, and thus required to be added to Scripture?--or in the name of Christianity--who could possibly claim to speak for a globe girdling, centuries enduring abstraction such as Christianity?

Your claim is that criticism of this president, as provided on this blog (and at a very reasonable price too) is unchristian. I can't offer you a refund--David is resolutely against it--, but I can offer you this. Political liberty is a precious thing, mostly unknown to the denizens of this world, even now. I consider it a gift in the providential order of things that America found itself at an historical juncture propitious of a new beginning in liberty. Our revolutionary era ancestors fought and died delivering it to us; our civil war era ancestors fought and died keeping America together; my father and his generation fought and died preventing worldwide domination of first National Socialism and then International Socialism. Since the war with international socialism was a "cold war", we did not really stamp it out as was done with Nazism. International socialism is alive and creeping in the form of so called trans-national organizations, beginning with the unspeakable UN and its continuous calls for world governing authority. I see liberal democrats, and the Obama administration in particular, congenial to ever larger units of governmental authority, ever further out of reach of popular control. Pity the poor Europeans--they couldn't even stop the formation of the EU and its utter destruction of national sovereignty--the elites just went ahead and signed it into law. Why not--they cannot be voted out of office because there is no popular mechanism for doing so.

That is what we see being pushed at America. Obama's foreign policy is to take America out of its leading position-we are to be only one of the 190 nations on the globe, not especially significant; hence all the bowing and scraping he's been seen doing. Did that please you Tim, to see the president of the United States, the elected representative of the people of a constitutional republic, bowing to a Saudi king and the Japanese emperor? Do you think that was a just junior league error, or was it a signal to the world that Obama is serious about reducing the power and prestige of the US? I'll wait while you think it over. Those are the only alternatives, neither of which should go unnoticed or uncriticized.

And here on this blog, those actions and almost all of Obama's others actions and speeches have been criticized, since David and I and most conscious people on the right see in the machinations of this administration what our forbears saw, to wit: a long train of abuses and usurpations pursuing invariably the same object, evinc[ing] a design to reduce [us to] absolute despotism. (OK, maybe the committee writing the Declaration were a bit overwrought). And if we do not (yet) see absolute despotism on the horizon, we do not believe this is the usual back and forth of our two party system, where both parties basically agree on the principles but differ on the policies. We see an attempt to fulfill the now chilling proclamation of Obama the candidate: Change is coming America! We did not envision becoming citizens of a Euro-socialist democratic member-state of the threatened world government. Obama and the left Democrats would have no problem fitting the US into a world order where we have both major and minor policies dictated to us--like the Europeans. We will resist such a transformation, by holding forth on this blog site, doing so under Christian liberty of conscience to believe as we do, and under the freedom of speech that is inherent in political liberty, and oh, by the way, guaranteed in the Constitution.

It is not evil to call evil by its name. Political oppression is a large, if perhaps pedestrian, form of evil that we are free to oppose. What will you do when confronted with political oppression--that is, if you could recognize it?

15 comments:

Tim said...

As I have stated before on this blog, I believe that those who name themselves after Christ Jesus have an obligation to strive to make His words and life foremost in the formation of their moral and spiritual foundation. I do not expect any Christian to be perfect and expect that we will all sin. Those who use Christ’s name for public teaching and those who would claim some form of Christian leadership have a sacred duty to reflect the teachings and life of Jesus accurately, however. The extent to which they do not is the extent to which they mislead Christ’s faithful.

“The Word became Flesh and dwelt among us.” To me, this means that Jesus Christ is the fullest revelation of God and, therefore, means that His life and teachings have the highest place in any Christian hermeneutic.

It is important also to understand the context of the coming of the Christ. I will not provide quotations to support the supposition I am about to make unless you, Prof. Innes and Mr. Kidlow, find it disagreeable. The supposition is that many of those who were awaiting the coming of a Christ were awaiting a political/cultural leader. I believe it would not be a stretch to assert that many of Christ’s own followers were Zealots and expected Him to be a political/cultural leader. There are those who argue that the primary motive in Judas’ betrayal of Jesus was to force the expression of such power.

The context of this expectation makes it even more significant that Jesus rejected cultural/political and military power. He considered it a temptation from Satan.
During His ministry on earth, Jesus did not condemn the government of His time (a government that was unjust and deserved criticism much more than the current US government). During His ministry on earth, Jesus did, however, repeatedly condemn a certain kind of power – religious authority. Please read the Gospels. The only condemnations Jesus ever made were against those who either claim religious authority or attempt to profit from the religious/spiritual beliefs of the people.
...continued...

Tim said...

Mr. Kidlow is correct, however, that Jesus did once refer to Herod as a “fox.” Jesus had just been informed by a group of Pharisees that He should leave because the man who had imprisoned and be-headed his beloved cousin and Prophet John the Baptist had threatened to kill him also. Jesus spent no time critiquing Herod’s or Caesar’s foreign policies, social policies or economic policies. As He was about to be crucified, He made no comment to Pilate or Herod regarding the Roman system of justice. What He did do repeatedly was to criticize those who claimed religious authority, who used that authority to judge others and who used religion for financial gain. A quick and cursory count reveals 15 gospel passages in which Jesus condemns chief priests, scribes, Pharisees and Temple money changers. It was those who pursued religious power who organized an angry mob and pressured an unwilling government to murder Our Lord. And yet, for the past 2,000 years Christianity has been claimed by those who judge, pursue profit and pursue prestige and social standing in the name of this very same Christ Jesus.

There is one thing and one thing alone that sets Christianity apart from all other religions, one thing that has the ability to save Christianity from the falseness of all religions and that one thing is the centrality of Christ Jesus. It pains me to see and hear so little of Jesus in those who claim to speak on His behalf. If one were to never read the Gospels and listened only to those on the “Christian Right” one may come to the conclusion that Jesus spent most of His time on earth condemning those to engaged in homosexual behavior. The fact is that there is no record of Christ ever addressing that behavior. Would it be reasonable for a Christian to believe that such sexual behavior is sinful? Yes. Is it consistent with the life and teachings of Jesus to concern one’s self with the sexual sins of others? No. Jesus taught us not to judge others and that lesson is repeated at least 5 times it the Gospels. Jesus never actively sought to judge those behaviors and when they were brought to His attention by religious leaders of His time in order to entrap Him, he simply instructed that those without sin cast the first stone. Yes, He did acknowledge that it was sin but he did not elevate it over any other sins and even equated it with such universal feelings as anger and lust. Be it noted that He was the only one present who was without sin and He cast no stones. Be it noted also that it was His enemies who worked people up into a frenzied mob about the sins of others and it was He who dissolved that whipped up frenzy. Who does the “Christian Right” in this country most resemble, Jesus or His enemies?

Tim said...

Within the context of expectations of the Messiah being a great political/cultural/military leader, this is what Jesus said about His Kingdom:
• And when he was demanded of the Pharisees when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! Or, lo there! For behold the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17: 20-21)
• “My Kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of his world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.” (John 18:36)

“When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.” (John 6:15)

All of these things make clear that Jesus was teaching a new way, a way that was not expected by those who awaited the Messiah. That he was pointing people toward the spiritual battle within rather than a political, cultural or military battle outside themselves. The power He proclaimed was an inner power, the kind that cannot be manipulated by religious leaders or even by the power of the state. It is a sad statement on Christianity that most Christians today await from the Second Coming of their Messiah the same kind of power as was expected of Jesus. Those who wait for that same kind of power from their Messiah reject Jesus each day as He was rejected when He came to us.

When asked by His own disciples to make a display of His power, He answered this way, “ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.” (Luke 9:55).

So, if influence and participation in political, religious, cultural and military power structures was rejected by Jesus, by what authority do those who claim His name pursue those objectives?

In defense of their political antics and their judgments of other’s sexual sins, these Christian Right bloggers refer to Olanski, Lockean liberal theory of politics, Paul of Tarsus, the Protestant "sphere of influence" argument and the Catholic doctrine of "subsidiary institutions". They write eloquently and demonstrate a depth of erudition that I cannot claim but it is all nothing but justification for the pursuit of their own passions. They remind me of this Gospel quote from Jesus regarding the scribes and Pharisees: Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.” (Matthew 23: 24)

...continued...

Tim said...

Does any of this mean that Christians ought not to exercise their rights as Americans in a democracy? Of course not. Does it mean that I would be opposed to the American Revolution? Of course not. I will point out, however, that while I agree with the founders of this nation that taxation without representation is grounds for a revolt, it is not a particularly Christian aversion. I ought not need to point out that Jesus advised us to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” at a time when taxation was levied without representation.

Does it mean that Christians ought not rise up against oppression or slavery? Of course not. But please be intellectually honest. The vast majority of criticisms on this “Christian” blog do not rise to the level of a defense of freedom or liberty. They simply reflect a political point of view. Criticizing Obama’s diplomacy does not equate to a righteous defense of freedom. Railing against civil rights for gays does not rise to the level of rebelling against slavery.

As the world becomes more complex, government becomes more complex and governing has become, on many levels, a profession. This is a statement of how things seem to be rather than one of how our founders meant it to be so please don’t waste time taking me to task for it. Military service is a profession and the practice of law on the nation’s courts can be considered a profession. Jesus did not prohibit the pursuit of any profession except religion (Again, all of His condemnations were aimed at those who made a living or a profession of religion). Jesus was a carpenter and one can assume that He would be in favor of practicing that profession in an honest fashion. There is no record of Him holding forth, however, on the godliest ways to join a beam to a stud. When He was asked what to do by those who practiced the most reviled of professions (the publicans/tax collectors), He simply advised them to do their work honestly and to “exact not more than that which is appointed you”. Jesus did not wax eloquent about whether the publican should use an accrual or cash accounting method to determine the amount of taxes owed.

My point is that it is fine for Christians to pursue whatever profession is in line with their talents. Opinions about how best to practice these professions – military, law, government, cannot be assigned as Christian or unchristian.

There is nothing revolutionary about assigning religious significance to one’s political beliefs or to a particular principality. It has been done for centuries. It usually benefits the principality more than it benefits the people or God. It has been the cause of countless atrocities and endless warfare. If it were the way that Jesus thought we should act it would have been easy and natural for Him to say so and He easily could have acted in that way. He was expected to act in that way. It is fine for the two of you to pursue your passions on this blog. Please, however, do not present your passions as if they were Christ’s passions. Take a moment to sit and reflect. Are these passions really Christ’s passions or are they your own? If they are yours, that is fine. Pursue them. Just refrain from misrepresenting them as Jesus’ passions.

If one really wants to pursue Christ’s passions, do these things:
• Sell all that you have and give it to the poor.
• Feed the hungry
• Give drink to the thirsty
• Take in the stranger
• Clothe the naked
• Visit the sick and imprisoned
• Pray to your heavenly Father in secret
• Judge not lest ye be judged
• Forgive others 7 X7
• Remember that the kingdom of God is within you (and me too).

PS – there is nothing above that indicates my political perspective. I am not a leftist. I simply point out that the president had some huge problems to contend with and that the stimulus package was neither Christian nor non-Christian. It is easy for you to set me up as a straw man leftist, but I am not. I am simply Tim.

Sincerely,
Tim

Chris J. said...

I don't completely disagree with what you say, Tim. I think many Christians in America have forgotten that we are in the world but not of the world. There are some things that I do disagree with in your interpretation of Scripture.
In regards to the importance you put on Jesus' words, I agree that they are important, but not to the exclusion of all other Scripture. Jesus himself said that while he was establishing a new covenant, he was not abolishing the Old Testament (to paraphrase things a bit). Jesus' words are part of the whole of scripture, and fit into it as part of that whole.

"Jesus taught us not to judge others and that lesson is repeated at least 5 times it the Gospels."
It is interesting to note that one of the verses you are probably referring to actually doesn't say that you cannot judge, if you take it in context. Matthew 7:1 says "Do not judge so that you will not be judged.", which sounds like an injunction unless you read the rest, ending in verse 5. "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." Before confronting someone with their sin, make sure your own sin is dealt with.

I would also say that more caution is needed in expanding Jesus's words. "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." It is important to remember that Jesus was talking about literal stones, not figurative ones. Like you said, Jesus told the woman "From now on sin no more", so He still confronted the sin itself. Keep in mind Ezekial 3:18 "When I say to the wicked, 'You will surely die,' and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand." This is a clear command to warn others about the consequences of sin.



"It is a sad statement on Christianity that most Christians today await from the Second Coming of their Messiah the same kind of power as was expected of Jesus."
Mat 26:64 Jesus *said to him, "You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN." Sounds pretty powerful to me. Have you read Revelations lately?


"Railing against civil rights for gays does not rise to the level of rebelling against slavery."
How do you come to the conclusion that homosexual marriage is a "civil right"? You might claim that a homosexual has unequal rights, but in another sense they have the exact same rights as myself (i.e. I can't marry a man either, protection from hate crimes, ect.). If gay marriage is a right simply because of the desire to marry a person of the same sex, how does one distinguish between that and a 40-year-old man who wants to marry a 14-year-old girl, or an animal? These are serious questions that I don't see being answered in any kind of absolute manner. If rights are based on desires, where does it stop?

Tim said...

Thank you, Chris, for responding. There are many scriptures and many can be interpreted in multiple ways to support multiple points of view. That is why I assert that the words and life of Jesus be given primacy and that other scriptures be interpreted in the light of the Gospel rather than in contradiction to it.

Regarding your notes about judging others your quote is accurate. While your interpretation of that quote may be accurate, I think it safe to at least conclude that judging the actions of others is at the very least, not central to the teachings of Jesus. While, yes, Jesus acknowledged sexual sin it is not accurate that he confronted it. In this case it was brought to Him. His chosen confrontations were with those religious leaders who felt it was their business to judge and involve themselves in the sexual deeds of others.

Chris, if you are saying that Christ was only speakig literally about actual physical stones, that is fine. At the very least, I think, one can still say that Jesus did not make it a point to involved Himself or to teach others to involve themselves in the personal sins of others. While you may argue that it may not be specifically prohibited, it certainly can not be argued that Jesus encouraged it.

Whereas Jesus states that the Kingdom of God is within you and all of his life on earth was a rejection of what the world perceieved as His power, why would it not be safe to interpret this "seeing" as something that one does within one's self? The dreams conveyed in Revelations are fine to read, but why not interpret them in the context of Jesus' actual life and teachings?

Call it what you will, but there has been an historic discrimination against homosexuals. Again, Jesus said nothing about it. He did, however, speak directly to the issue of marriage and divorce and seemed to come down on the side of of not approving of divorce. Personally, I think that is a moral teaching to those who follow Him rather than an advocation of government prohibition, but why don't these Christian advocates fight to make it illegal to remarry after a divorce when Christ specifically mentioned that and never mentions homosexuality?

You can argue about whether gay marriage is or is not a civil right. Let's just say this. You win. Now, find anything in the Gospel that would indicate that Jesus would waste His time condemning homosexuals or want it done in His holy name.

Chris J. said...

Context works both ways. Jesus was also working from the context of a people who knew the law and the old testament.

You refer back to Jesus' confrontations with the religious order of the day, and those were certainly the most dramatic confrontations, but Jesus still addressed and confronted other sins

In an earlier post you mention a list of what Christians should do, and among them was "• Sell all that you have and give it to the poor." You neglected the prior verses in which Jesus says what one must do to inherit eternal life. "Then he said to Him, "Which ones?" And Jesus said, "YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER; YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY; YOU SHALL NOT STEAL; YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS; HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER; and YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." Mat 19:18-19

The question of judging sin is something I can accept as disputable, I do think that questioning the second coming puts you on very shaky ground theologically. I really don't see how Matthew 24 can be taken as anything but a description of the second coming. (Other references: Mat 19:28; Mat 25:31-34)

"Now, find anything in the Gospel that would indicate that Jesus would waste His time condemning homosexuals or want it done in His holy name."
The absence of evidence is not evidence. I could just as easily ask you to find scripture to indicate that Jesus would consider marriage between to men (or women) a valid arrangement. If the absence of something in Jesus' teaching was a teaching itself, anything goes. I see no valid reason for ignoring other scripture simply because Jesus did not explicitly speak on a subject. In fact, there is no valid reason for ignoring other scripture, period.
First, I don't think Jesus would want us condemning homosexuals. I believe He would however condemn the practice of homosexuality. Jesus condemned the sin, not the sinner.

"He did, however, speak directly to the issue of marriage and divorce and seemed to come down on the side of of not approving of divorce."
He didn't just "seem to", he was plainly against it (except in certain cases). Jesus did give clear exceptions to his teachings about divorce (adultery or immorality). When I last checked, there was at least one movement underway to make divorce more difficult.

Since you grant that gay marriage may not be a civil right, that would mean that there is no compelling reason to redefine marriage.

I intend this to be my last lengthy post. If necessary, I may do a short pst to correct mistakes or unclear ideas (that's been known to happen), but I feel that I have said all I need to on the matter. God bless, Tim, and keep in the Word. Prov 27:17

Tim said...

Thank you, Chris for your comments. I, too, will be brief and only address areas I may have failed to make clear in earlier ones.

I agree that Jesus taught in a context that included a general knowledge of the law. I do think, however, that there was some difference betweeen Jesus' interpretation of that law and the interpretation of the Pharisess in that they accused Him on more than one occasion of breaaking that law.

I agree also that Jesus taught us to obey the commandments. My point is that there is no commandment or teaching from Jesus that either requires us or even gives license to us to become busiebodies and concern ourselves with the extent to which others keep the commandmnets.

I apologize if I soudned as if I was questioning the seoond coming. I do not. I have only two points to make about it.
a) The same person will come the second time as came the first.
b) Those who would claim to know details about the nature of that second coming are more likely than not incorrect.

I do not suggest that Jesus is/would be in favor of the state granting a right to gay marriage. I only assert that He would most likely not feel it important to address the issue. If He were forced to address it in an entrappment scheme orchestrated by the pharisees of our day (the Religious Right or the Tabloid, Hollywood Left) He would evade the trap with a wisdom that I cannot imagine but that would probably be similiar to His responses regarding taxes and the stoning of the adulteress.
God Bless you also Chris.

Harold Kildow said...

Tim,
You are a good man, and I appreciate your thoughtful comments. I still don't quite get your sticking on Christians having political opinions. I operate, and I'm sure David does as well, with a hermeneutic that includes the principle of sufficient inference, since the Bible does not instruct us on every possible matter that may come up. We are left to exercise good judgment and accurate interpretation of the meaning of scripture in areas that are not specifically dealt with. I consider the present dispute you bring to be in this category--i.e., to what extent should Chrtistians in a radically different political order work to change or influence that order? In the ancient world, political activity was pretty much limited to outright revolution-the Zealots you mention. With constitutional, democratic self-rule, citizen involvement, including public criticism, seems not only a civic duty, but a moral, and therefore a Christian duty as well for those who feel called to do so. We obviously have political disagreements, but that does not make my opinions ungodly and your's holy. THe fact that mine are published for tens of people to see does not make it a proclamation in the voice of Jesus, despite the bible quotations prominently diplayed. We try not to dishonor the Name, and I believe we achieve that minimal requirement, even if not much else.

Tim said...

Dear Mr. Kidlow and Prof. Innes,
The two of you have been kind and generous to me in both allowing and responding to my expressions on your blog. As I reflect upon these interactions I realize that I have been guilty of something I accused you of (setting me up as a straw man leftist). I have addressed both of you as straw men representatives of the "Christian Right" and unloaded years worth of my own outrage and frustration on you. What makes you different from those with whom I have grouped you is that you actually listen and respond.

You obviously put a great deal of work and intellect into this blog and it represents years more of study and devotion to learning.

While I have a great deal more to say, I think the way I can best express my gratitude to the two of you for allowimg me this forum to express myself is to "shut up already."

Just to be clear, though, I do not want to give the impression that I find your opinions "un-christian" or "un-godly." I simply argue that they are non-christian. I think that this notion of Christ as a political/cultural/military leader is itself responsible for the pop culture idea that Obama may be a Messianic figure. Personally, I perceive him to be a little more honest than most political leaders, but I do not see any relationship between him and my Lord Jesus. Then again, I could be wrong about Obama -- I did vote for Bush in 2000.

Sorry, I meant to shut myself up already.

Thank you both for the kindness of your indulgence. May God bless and keep you.

Sincerely,
Tim

David C. Innes said...

Tim, Chris J, and Harold,

I apologize for not being more engaged through this. I am up to my eyes in final exams and senior theses to grade, This comes at an awkward time. In fact I threw that cartoon up that sparked this exchange just as a quick filler. Ya never know what's gonna spark a response, I suppose.

Tim, I appreciate the feedback on our conduct. That is encouraging. You make some good points. It is a widely held concern among Evangelicals that for the past 30 years we have been political to the point of obscuring or forgetting the gospel, or of blending it into a civil religion. Consider the book of a few years back by Cal Thomas and Ed Dobson, Blinded By Might. I also had a post some time ago in which I reflect on this. (Sadly, the search feature doesn't go back too far.) I think it is one of the "tensions" of the Christian life. It is godly in a democratic society to publicize, criticize, and attempt to end injustice. Yet when we do this our hearts engage and can forget our first love. But this is true of any legitimate passion in life (e.g. love for one's wife and children). There's something else I wanted to contribute in a post, but I forget what it is. Perhaps I will come across it in a student's exam.

Thank you also Chris J for you sober and charitable contributions.

My, but this has ended well.

David C. Innes said...

Oh, the good point I wanted to mention (I wandered off into the Cal Thomas train of thought) was the connection you made between the politicization of Christ and the Christian faith and the Messianization of Barack Obama by his supporters. Hmmm. It is at least arguable. That is, it is a point deserving of serious consideration.

Tim said...

I'll try to get my hands on "Blinded by Might." I promised to shut up so I won't follow up unless you grant me a special dispensation. If granted, I would use it to comment on the "politicization of Christ and and the Christian Faith and Messianization of Barack Obama..."

David C. Innes said...

By all means, but you might first want to look at my post on The Attributes of Christian Political Involvements (2007 - http://principalitiesandpowers.blogspot.com/2007/11/attributes-of-christian-political.html) and what we have written on Bamolatry (I just coined that phrase, for what it's worth) under the tag "political idolatry."

Chris J. said...

I decided to chime in one last time to make sure that I let Tim know that I do appreciate his comments. I don't know if he noticed the verse reference of Proverbs 27:17, but just to clarify for him and anyone else, the verse says that "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." While debating with Tim, he pushed me to examine my beliefs and dig into God's Word to see if the Bible truly supports my stance. I grew just a little sharper, and I hope that Tim did as well. Regardless of our disagreement, we can bless each other and come away the better for it.