Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Jesus, the Church, and Jupiter Today

In the past, we the Church wrongly served Jupiter, false god of politics, rather than Jesus in two major ways. One, we made unholy alliances with either rulers or the revolutionaries attempting to overthrow them. Two, we allowed our churches to become powerful organizations themselves. We may learn from both these mistakes and thereby improve our witness to Jesus today.

Most importantly, we may live as devoted friends of Jesus, rather than as unwitting slaves of Jupiter, in the way that we structure our churches. We live as clearer witnesses to Jesus when as churches we understand leadership in terms of guidance, coordination, and inspiration. Consistent with this is an understanding of membership in terms of bold voluntary cooperation. So leadership is not bossy or exploitative and membership is neither blindly obedient nor chronically resentful.

Today, Jupiter busily encourages the concentration of state power at the national level and the concentration of national power in the hands of the executive. He is also fomenting increasingly bitter partisanship.

One mistake we made as Church in the past was providing theological justification for state power. We may live as more radiant witnesses to Jesus today by questioning the growing concentration of power at the national level and in the hands of the executive. Implications of this witness might include a steadfast refusal to justify executions by the state (the death penalty), any use of torture, the use of cages (prisons) as a creative response to crime, the creeping loss of privacy through surveillance, and the callous disregard for civil liberties.

We might also witness more clearly to Jesus by being able to discuss political questions without delirium (emotional intensity and stubborn irrationality). Refusing to identify the reign of Jesus with the success of any political party or country would be helpful. And Jesus invites us today to show greater solidarity with other Christians rather than with people who share our (painfully relative) political sympathies.

Copyright © 2012 by Steven Farsaci.
All rights reserved. Fair use encouraged.