Saturday, January 17, 2009
In Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw's book Jesus For President, they present a difficult challenge to Christians: address politics as Jesus did. The reason this is so difficult is because it questions the very society that we have taken part in: Do we have allegiance to the flag of the United States (or some other nation) or is our allegiance in Christ? The first 100 pages or so focus on the historical aspects of the bible and politics, leading up to Jesus' time. Claiborne makes a point that many would miss unless they have looked at the Gospels in-depth: Jesus was very political. He was offering a completely different lifestyle and political thought that was in direct opposition to the Roman Empire.
Claiborne talks in-depth about Jesus' view of nonviolent resistance, and poses troubling questions such as "How can Christian's be in the military?" and whether or not wars can be just or not. As Americans see the Iraq war as liberation, Claiborne questions how 300,000 estimate civilian deaths, or 100 9/11 attacks, can be seen as liberation? Needless to say, this should make anyone uncomfortable as we rarely are exposed to views besides the mainstream concerning war.
What I found most revealing from this book personally is my less than a year-old view that we should close all our permanent military bases and bring all our troops home across the globe. As I read this book, I could see (as I have before) how redemptive wars will never end until someone in power takes a strong stance against it. For example, look at the past decade. 9/11 was fueled by a terrorist group who wanted redemption against U.S. interventionism and violence in the Middle East. Then of course we unleash a huge front and two wars in the middle east in response. As Ron Paul says, this makes no sense. Even if we were to practice redemptive war, you would target only those who knew about these attacks and brought them about. Instead we now have hundreds of thousands of civilians blood on our hands and many more who are motivated to attack America than ever before. Our military presence across the globe should motivate them even more.
So, in a way this book re-affirmed to myself that the position of wanting to be non-interventionist and pull-back all our troops is the best thing we can do right now. Besides that, I found it interesting how Claiborne believes (as I do) that so many across the nation put their faith in the government instead of God. This is absolutely the wrong position of a Christian. Instead of the government fixing the health insurance problem, how about Christian's rise up and find a solution themselves? (See Christian Healthcare Ministries) Look to the church (the body of believers) to solve problems, not the government. Limited government where those in 'power' have extremely constrained power combined with Christians living out what Jesus taught is the true solution to the never-ending problems of this world.