Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Radically Communal Christian Ethics

The following post is copied from The AG Think Tank. They are posting a series on the elections: Who Should I Vote For? Wow! The quote from Hauerwas and Willimon is meaty food for chewing on. I might have to buy their book. Read on for a message to the evangelicals and the mainliners and all of us who call ourselves the Church!

“I am in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” — John 17:23

In my lifetime, the evangelical church has often attempted to assert its influence in America through political means; endorsing candidates, vying for platforms within the Republican party, boycotting Disney, etc. When we feel our country start to lean in the wrong moral direction we simply apply political or economic pressure in order to right the ship and “reclaim our nation for God.”

But is legislating morality the best way to influence our nation and our world?

“Whenever Christians think that we can support our ethic by simply pressuring Congress to pass laws or to spend tax money, we fail to do justice to the radically communal quality of Christian ethics. In fact, much of what passes for Christian social concern today, of the left or of the right, is the social concern of a church that seems to have despaired of being the church. Unable through our preaching, baptism, and witness to form a visible community of faith, we content ourselves with ersatz Christian ethical activity - lobbying Congress to support progressive strategies, asking the culture at large to be a little less racist, a little less promiscuous, a little less violent.”“[The church’s] most credible form of witness is the actual creation of a living, breathing, visible community of faith”… “a place, clearly visible to the world, in which people are faithful to their promises, love their enemies, tell the truth, honor the poor, suffer for righteousness, and thereby testify to the amazing community-creating power of God.” — Stanley Hauerwas and William H. Willimon from
Resident Aliens

3 comments:

Rich said...

I think your question "But is legislating morality the best way to influence our nation and our world?" is intended to be rhetorical, but I will respond anyway.

It is not our best way, but it is one way of influencing our nation. People with many crazy agendas work the political system to impose their values upon us. Why shouldn't we?

That being said, I too am tired of electioneering. I don't watch debates and turn off all political ads or discussions on tv or radio.

I hope all the people praying for God's will to be done in the election will continue to pray for the person whom God chooses to lead this nation, whomever it shall be.

I sadly doubt they will.

This is my political rant. Hopefully I got it out of my system in this safe place!

Singing Owl said...

"People with many crazy agendas work the political system to impose their values upon us. Why shouldn't we?" Interesting point! I do think we need to do both--but what struck me about the quote was that we often, IMO anyway, do get frustrated that the rest of our society does not have "Christian values" and may put the cart before the horse. Eek, bad old cliche. Well we need both the cart AND the horse.

truth said...

I have a lot of catching up to do. My dinner timer is about to go off, so I haven't read this yet, but I will be back to catch up.