Christian politics

William Willimon takes a cautionary, high-Hauerwasian look at politics, and its temptations.

I have met the political enemy, and he is… me and my fellow Christians, who find it so hard to embody our convictions, and who, even in our left-wing protests, unintentionally give credence to political scoundrels. If we are going to worship a Savior who is determined to tabernacle among us, to show up and thereby disrupt our settled arrangements with Caesar, then we can’t avoid the mundane, corporeal work of having meetings, forming a congregation that becomes in its life together and its way in the world a visible, breathing, undeniable bodily presence of Christ.

Useful, but preaching the Gospel, understanding that it is in fundamental conflict with the powers of the age really only goes so far. Such a gathered community can avoid the sweep of sheer political madness, but then what?

What goes missing is that those gathered will in fact have to act politically in the world. The Church by her preaching opens a space for politics, it frames our thinking. Yet on Monday, one will need to go out into the  world, take part in the world as a citizen, influence and also be subject to the powers as a citizen. The church exists to free from this binding, the false teaching that we are what we are in society.

Missing too, is the element of the Supper. The Table stands between us and the world; we eat and drink as a gathered people; we return as a bruised people; we receive the promise that there is more in our lives, more in God’s live with this world, than we can see.

 

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