Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A little more on politics and religion

I'm reading The Gospel According to America by David Dark. Mike Rowell lent it to me, as he is a most excellent fellow. My previous exposure to David Dark was his book Everyday Apocalypse, which discussed the beautiful and revelatory in pop culture. Two thumbs up from me. Anyways, Dark's definition of "apocalypse" is that of revelation. In this context, he asserts that the Church is to be revelatory, questioning the assumptions and power claims of the existing world systems. Profound thinking. In this newest book, Dark is wrestling with being a Christian in America. The problem that Dark points out is that America believes its press releases and has established itself as a de facto religion. What is worse is that the Church has reinforced these opinions, rather than debunking them through the application of the prophetic word. As Dark says, "When the church is the blind, uncritical endorser or 'spiritual' chaplain of whatever the nation decides to do, it has largely renounced its vocation as the body of Christ. It is neither the salt of the earth nor a light to the nations. And it has traded its worship of a crucified Jew for a devastatingly tribal idolatry." Peter Leithart points out that partaking of communion is proclaiming the death of one who died as a political dissident. Crucifixion was the punishment for political rebellion. As we are called to take up our crosses and go to Him outside the camp, we must be prepared to see the political ramifications of this call. In contrast, I just finished rereading the original Dune trilogy. Funny how books change when you get older, eh? Frank Herbert knew a thing or two about how the powerful wield their power, and one aspect that he constantly points up is the corruption of religion to support specific political ends. To the powerful, religion is just another tool to control the masses. And it makes me wonder if we as Christians are sufficiently discerning and suspicious of the religious claims of the powerful. Are we playing our prophetic role? Or are we just dupes of the powerful, bound to them by chains of superstition and religion? (A previous article on this topic can be found here.)


Blogger John D said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/06/2005 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger John D said...

Now you have me interested...

Dark puts to words (or at least you put to words a summary of his words, LOL,) something that has bugged me about Americanized christianity/churchianity for a long, long time.

My heart leapt (LEAPT, I tell you!) the day that we took the flag down from the spot next to the pulpit in our church.

I pray that American christians will demonstrate a new christian patriotism, which doesn't confuse the USA with the Church of Jesus Christ.

9/06/2005 08:48:00 AM  

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