07 January 2012

Constantine Can't Rescue Britain- 7

In the end, the presence of the middle class brings its own problems. For the Church, at least in the United States it has been disastrous. Christianity becomes respectable and part of the establishment. Bourgeoisie self-interest and preservation is confused with Christian values. That's been our problem here in the United States.

Rather than the cross being something we bear, it's something we wear as jewelry. Instead of love not the world, we become very comfortable here, and Christian-ize the lust of the flesh, eyes, and the pride of life. We don't call these values worldly...we call it...the American Dream.

So a middle class might be a good thing for society but it isn't always the best segment of society for the Church to function in. The reality is, in every social situation, whether one lands in the aristocracy, bourgeoisie, or poverty, there are plenty of dangers. This is only compounded when we think the given social sphere (rich, poor, or otherwise) is somehow a reflection, a paragon of some kind of Christian social structure, which of course in unknown to the Bible.

Unpleasant as it is, if there is a Biblical expectation, which is quite different than a model, it is that of poverty. What's almost inconceivable is that the Christian Church would find itself in a position of power.

Every man-made system fails because men are sinners and nothing stays the same. Even if something works for a time, it doesn't mean it will in all situations. A sort of Christian Realpolitik toward the world allows us to deal with this. No ethical compromise on our part, but no conquest either. (1 Corinthians 5.9-10)

The Church will always remain in this no man's land, this realm of tension, where we're not completely withdrawn and separated, but we're not fully invested in the society either. I don't see how we can be. We will NEVER share the world's goals and aspirations. We can never truly sign on to their programme. If we do, then we've either compromised something, or we're being deceptive, masquerading as 'one of them' so that we can take over.

Christianity wedded to the Establishment, will entrench and instead of seeking first the Kingdom of God...will seek to preserve and protect its own power.

I'm old enough now that I'm seeing even mundane things like fashions begin to repeat themselves and I can see how when I'm an old man (D.V.,) I'll chuckle all the more as I watch the younger generation strut about thinking they've got the world figured out, thinking they're the first ones to come up with something. At times it's funny, other times it is very sad. And though the world seems insane and an endless battle of ideas, we don't need to flee in terror or frustration.

There are answers if we have the right questions. The answers won't please those trying to build empires or utopias, but we can be quite content. I'm afraid throughout all of Church history, there have been many wolves among the sheep, many shepherds who were really mercenaries for other causes. The people of God have generally been discouraged from thinking and the resulting blindness has not decreased today even with all the resources and 'worldview' ministries available to us. The leaders seem to want people to attain a certain level of knowledge...but not too much. Because then you might start questioning their plans. You might start comparing what they're saying with the Bible, with history, and with present day facts. You may end up deciding the truth they represent is a skewed version of the Truth.

Know Scripture and the God it reveals.
Read copious amounts of history.

Use the resources available to us. It's quite incredible if not overwhelming. We don't have to obsess, but we should redeem the time in these evil days.

Watch the tremendous number of documentaries now available via the internet. I understand many people just aren't interested in history. I must confess I really don't understand this mindset. History is fantastic because in the process you learn about so many different things. You have to learn some theology, philosophy, law, science...the world comes alive. The chronicle of Providence is hardly something boring...because in every context, in every era, we find God's people having to wrestle with the questions of their day. And as we grow we start to see how things connect and how questions that sometimes seem irrelevant because they pertain to events long ago...are still quite pertinent. My children are learning this as we work through Church History. They're beginning to see how events from over a thousand years ago are still quite relevant, fully pertinent to questions we still wrestle with.

You start to see the same things, the same themes, the same arguments and struggles happening over and over again. Just like the 70's fashion repeats of today are a little different, but the same...so it is with these larger questions. The context changes and tweaks the details, but the larger questions are the same. And each generation struggles to come up with answers, are convinced they have found them...and then within a generation or two, they fail miserably. So while I am concerned with things I see happening, especially in the Church, I'm not worried. This too shall pass. These folks attain a certain level of success or power, but in the end they will fail and it will all come apart. It won't be the first time and if Christ is not returning any time soon, it won't be the last. I'm not the first to notice it either. We've all been down this road before.

So while David Cameron's words may inspire some...we should know better. We won't get fooled again...someone said. While his sentiments and reasons for saying it are quite different than ours...could it be that he sees something that even David Cameron cannot? What a sad statement, that a proudly lost man singing a rock song possesses more truth in his perspective on power than the Constantinian politician praised by the warriors of Christendom.

Indeed the whole of creation groans. The last part of Romans 8 comes to mind:

18  For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

19  For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

20  For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,

21  Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

22  For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

23  And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

24  For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?

25  But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

26  ¶Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

27  And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

29  ¶For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

30  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

31  ¶What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

32  He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

33  Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.

34  Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

1 comment:

Cal said...

If only everyone read and loved history! Sadly, as the days roll on, a lot of people just don't care enough or can't hold attention enough to really try and dig in all over the place.

And I understand it! I'm apart of the same culture that finds it impossible to read and the need for 'specialization'. People think I'm weird or a real go-getter just because I'm not a math major I want to be capable of Calculus. I still struggle with it, I'm very aware for me that reading is a difficult task.

To my Christian friends I try all the more to teach what I've read in regards to History, with all its facets of politics, law, sociology, philosophy and theology every change I get to insert a nugget. That's the way it comes down to being and it's not that I'm proud over this (though I deal with pride in other avenues), I wish I'd be able to sit down with any person and have a real, in depth conversation over history, but it's tough!

Also, I see you said "bourgeoisie". Since you've failed to also use the word "proletariat", you've evaded unveiling yourself as a radical, leftist communist. You're safe for now. :)