Tag Archives: love

Responding to the Political Season


Cheerleading with pom-poms.
Credit: OpenClipart.org

7:50 AM Finally, the conventions are over. I am wearied and not a little irritated. We are not a two-party system!

How do I view this election? On the one hand, I reject totally any escape to spirituality that disdains the things of this earth. I am a very earthy man, for God has put me (and you) on this earth for a purpose and has given us a charge we can’t refuse. On the other hand, Christians can hardly become pom-pom waving politicos because this notion runs contrary to the command of the apostle Paul not to be conformed to the ideas of the present world system. In its history, the church has thrived under monarchists and dictators and republicans and imperialists. Hence the need for writers like Eller and Ellul whose writings form a very happy and much-needed counterbalance to conformism. Whether the state is republican or democrat makes no difference to the pilgrim and stranger, for whom no political party can ever be Christianized. Nor would I adopt a lesser of two evils philosophy to justify my vote. Jesus’ way bypasses conflict and provocation. He says that if anyone takes our coat we are to give him our cloak as well. I can’t condemn those who look to political power, but I think their revolt is ineffective as real revolution. The Way is the only Revolution that matters. During the age of Constantine, when the church became the official state religion, political power became a final court. But Phil. 3:20 remains in the Bible. I know how scandalous for non-Christians is a God who demands our ultimate and undivided allegiance. Our responsibility as Christians is to pray for the authorities including those in high public office. We pray for their conversion (obviously) but also that they may become truthful, renounce saber-rattling, etc. We realize that they have obtained their power only through God. Authorities are also people, deserving of the same understanding and sympathy that we would extend to any human being. But for the Christian, the starting point will always be non-conformism (Rom. 12:1-2), that is, we begin with the word of God and the will of God and the love of God. It might seem completely crazy, but Paul is calling the church to “unhypocritical love” (Rom. 12:9-21), which includes love among Christians, love for all people, and even love for enemies. We are to live peaceably with all. I have written a detailed exegesis of this “love passage” (Rom. 12:9-21) in case you’re interested. The curious thing is to see how Christian pastors have (to their embarrassment) fared when they have offered their services to candidates. The point of Revelation 18 is clear enough, I think: Political power always makes alliances with the power of money. And violence only begets further violence. Ultimately, the beast unites all the kings of the earth and wages war on God and is finally crushed when his representative is destroyed. In the meantime, the church is setting up a marginal society that is only tangentially interested in political matters and in which there is no power, authority, or hierarchy save that of King Jesus. As Ellul often reminds us, Jesus is not against earthly power, but He treats it with disdain or indifference. His kingdom is not of this world. And there is still plenty of room on the road that leads to this kingdom, but the gate is small and the road is narrow. Those who find it seem to be few indeed.

(From Dave Black Online. Used by permission.)

On Love – 1+1=1

From Dave Black Online (10/21/09):

I had never noticed before how Paul’s discussion in Ephesians 5 climaxes in his quote from Gen 2:24, where he says that a husband and his wife are glued together in a binding and permanent relationship. So, if I follow Paul’s train of thought correctly, he shows how a husband’s love is (1) a sacrificial love (never a selfish love), (2) a purifying love (he helps his wife to be consecrated to the Lord), (3) a caring love (he is not to seek his own physical comfort, pleasure, etc. but hers instead), and — perhaps most importantly — (4) an unbreakable love. A husband would no more think of leaving his wife than he would consider tearing his own body apart. As Tracy said, Paul’s arithmetic here is profound: 1 + 1 = 1. And the pattern, the exemplar for us, is the Godhead — “I and the Father are one,” said Jesus.

Becky and I are one. Jesus and His Body are one. Just as Jesus will never leave or forsake His Bride, so Becky should know — she should really KNOW beyond the shadow of any doubt — that I will never leave her or forsake her. Does your wife know this? Does mine? When you see the faults in your wife, you are to keep on loving and forgiving her. Even should she be as unfaithful as Gomer, you should still keep on loving her, realizing that she has not offended you a fraction of how much you have offended God.

Talk about “love”! Talk about raising the bar! All of this teaches us an important truth about the Christian life, and that is that the Christian life is first and foremost about relationships — my relationship with the Lord, and my relationship with others. Once we men learn how to enjoy that kind of fellowship with our wives, show them that kind of love, and bear each others burdens in such a sympathetic way, will we be fulfilling our vocation as husbands.

(Material from Dave Black Online is used by permission of Dr. David Alan Black, who is the author of The Jesus Paradigm and the forthcoming Christian Archy, amongst many others.)