Whence and Whither #2

1. Brad East, “The Church and the Common Good: Can we equate the church’s eternal mission with temporary politics?”

I enjoy reading Brad’s articles partly because he represents a more moderate voice among many of the alarmists and culture warrior-type rhetoric within Christian circles. This article is no exception. It’s hard not to quote the whole thing, but here’s a taste:

How, you may ask, is this not secession from politics, a status quo–baptizing desertion of the common good? Answer: Because Christians remain as engaged as ever, even to the point of laying down their lives, only without the vices that attend a realized eschatology (activism absent resurrection): the desperate need to win, the entitled expectation of success, the assumption of God’s approval, the forgetfulness of sin, the recourse to evil means for good ends. Domine, quo vadis? Christian political witness is figured by St. Peter—the rock on which the church is built, surely an ecclesial sine qua non—following the Lord back into Rome, certain that his end is near, but equally certain that all his noble plans and good deeds are not worth resisting the call. For the End is not in his or any human hands, and depends not one iota on our efforts.

Christians in the West have been so bewitched by centuries of being in charge that we think the only alternatives are choosing to exercise influence or choosing not to, the former a function of “engagement,” the latter a function of “disengagement.” But consider Christians in Egypt or Iraq, for millennia a small but resilient minority in their homelands. Should we judge them faithful or unfaithful, missional or monastic? Doubtless the church should seek to bless the societies in which it finds itself, including politically; but are such opportunities always ready to hand? Must we force others to listen to us? Relevance requires more than effort; irrelevance is not a sin.

2. Monty Python’s Flying Circus is now (back?) on Netflix. So much for cutting back on binge watching television shows.

3. Tunes: I can’t listen to this song enough: “Hopopono” by GoGo Penguin

4. I just wrote a post that catalogues Dante’s various reactions to the sinners he meets throughout his journey in hell.

5. Rene Descartes’ reputation was not improved when I found out that he made a robot version of his deceased daughter.