12 January 2014

Perchik's Hermeneutic and the Politicization of Everything (1 of 3)

I was attempting to explain the anti-abortion movement to my kids and trying to help them understand why on the one hand I am completely against abortion but on the other hand I'm not overly keen on what the anti-abortion movement is trying to accomplish.

While that may seem nonsensical and contradictory, the reason I say this is because I believe the anti-abortion movement isn't just about stopping abortion. It's a political movement.

What's the difference? Perhaps I can explain.

One of the most amusing characters in 'Fiddler on the Roof' is Perchik the young Marxist from Kiev. Not because I sympathize with him, but he's got some great lines. Actually the whole movie is great and there are layers of commentary to be found there... and it's not limited to Eastern European Jewry either. It's a rich tale worthy of reflection.

In my house we've laughed at his Biblical hermeneutics concerning Jacob and Laban:

After Jacob had worked for Laban for seven years,
              do you know what happened?
              Laban fooled him and gave him his ugly daughter Leah.
              So to marry Rachel, Jacob was forced to work another seven years.
              So, you see, children,
              the Bible clearly teaches us
              you can never trust an employer.
              And that is what the Bible teaches us? (Hodel asks)
              That is the lesson of the story of Jacob...  if you interpret it correctly.


And equally as funny is his bumbling Marxist marriage proposal to Hodel:

Hodel, there's a question...

                A question I... I wish to discuss with you.

               (Hodel) Yes?

                It's a political question.

               (Hodel) What is it?

                The question of


               (Hodel) Is this a political question?

                Well, yes.

                Yes, everything's political.

                Like everything else,
        the relationship between a man and a woman has a socioeconomic base.

                 Marriage must be founded on mutual beliefs.

                A common attitude and philosophy towards society.

               (Hodel) And affection?

                Well, yes, of course.

               That is also necessary.

                 Such a relationship can have positive social values.

                When two people face the world with unity and solidarity...

               (Hodel) And affection?

                Yes, that is an important element!

                At any rate, I

                I personally am in favour of such a socioeconomic relationship.

                (Hodel) I think

                you are asking me to marry you.


               in a theoretical sense,... yes.

                I am.

               (Hodel)  I was hoping you were.

Of course what's funny is that he politicizes absolutely everything. No matter the issue it receives a Marxist spin. He has a holistic worldview wherein everything is subjugated to Marxist philosophy and its categories.

As Christians we too embrace holistic thinking but with a key difference. We're strangers and pilgrims on the earth, laying up treasures in heaven. We count riches in terms of Biblical blessings and wisdom. Silver and gold means nothing to us. The Kingdom we serve is not of this world. We don't take vengeance, we place others above ourselves, and we don't even bother thinking about our financial futures or things like career and advancement. These are the things the Lost chase after. Money is wed to power and in seeking to acquire it we pollute our hearts with covetous aspirations and hurt others along the way. Doing so we put ourselves first instead of last and so though it baffles the world we don't seek after the things they glorify. The American Dream? The security and respectability of Middle Class status? These things are nothing to us and they think it strange that we don't chase after them.

We understand that the things this world esteems are repugnant vanities, even abominations to the Lord of Heaven. This earth is cursed and the power, the dominion, granted to us in the Garden is forever gone. Our work no longer tends an earthly Garden. Instead we show the way to the New and far more glorious Eden that awaits us. Despite the curse of sin, the glories of the Creator shine through, but these wonders are pale shadows that leave men only guilty. Thankfully God has given us His Word that we might know the Truth and be both Redeemed and set free from the terror and bondage of the curse.

We can enjoy the beauties of this world, but they make us sigh and groan as we know these are nothing compared to the glory that is to follow. This world even with all its natural and manmade wonders is fit only for the fire. We can enjoy a mountain sunrise, a salty breeze on the seashore. We can stare in wonder at works of art and be moved to tears by an orchestral suite. But these things are cheap trinkets, children's toys compared to the treasures of heaven. We're here not to conquer, not to kill, not to rule, but to make disciples. We're here to win others to Christ and help them to also see the heavenly vision of the Risen Christ.

The Holy Spirit guides us unto all wisdom and there's nothing we do in the life that is not shaped by his sanctifying wisdom. The dead are burying their dead and there are many foolish and worthless things they pursue that don't really interest us. We don't get entangled in their struggles and the violence it always generates. We seek peace and joy in the fellowship of the body and we seek to build the Kingdom by proclaiming the Word of Life.

The Word is the only sword we bear. The sword the world bears sheds blood. Sin is so devious that in order for us to go about our tasks God restrains the world and uses certain tools to keep it from falling into chaos. This is culture. This is civilization. This is the law enforced by the state. It's necessary but we will rejoice when it too is destroyed in the fires that await this age...this world. These things have not been redeemed by the blood of Christ. They don't belong to our age...the age to come. They cannot be made holy and thus to speak of them in Christian terms is not only a misapplication of the term but it's changing the definition of concepts like 'Christian,' and words like 'Redemption' and 'The Gospel'.

Continue Reading Part 2

No comments: