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Friday, October 15, 2004

Render unto Ceasar...

Prelude: This is probably the fifth title, and re-write for this post. I am a little disturbed by what I have been reading on several blogs the past two or three evenings. I am disturbed and troubled, and I am still trying to make sense of what to say. In fact, I was not only disturbed and troubled, but I was also discouraged, and nearly deleted my entire blog last night because I found it just too uneasy to be "here". It reinforced my sense of not belonging here somehow and I was tempted to give up! In any case, I will try to put some sense to what I have been thinking about in this post/rant/incoherent babbling...

I would like to pose a question to all you bloggers out there who think that the fate of the nation's morality hung on the balance with this election. Do you think that if one side won the election, the morality of the nation will be saved from those who have been dragging the moral fabric of society down the gutters, and if the other side won, this will be the beginning of the end for the nation, and we are heading towards a Sodom-Gomorrah type destiny?

Which do you think would be an easier society for the church to flourish? Does the accomplishment of the misson of the church depends on who won the election? Sure there will be effects, but does it really, truly matter who won the election? Wouldn't American society remain, well American? Wouldn't the ministry of the church remain by and large the same? Aren't there more important things for us to concentrate on?

Whoever wins this election, the Church will still find a dominant society that is pre-disposed to find offense in the Cross. We will still find a society who thinks the supernatural is mythical and who misunderstands what it means to be a God-follower. Our efforts to reach the rest of society with the message of God's love will not change. It will be no easier to preach the gospel whether or not the next nomination for Chief Justice is more likely to support certain legal positions.

Please don't mind me. Recently it seems I have more questions than answers. For instance, a couple days ago, I was contemplating admission to a particular group of bloggers. I asked to join the alliance, and was sent an email which asked whether or not I accepted certain tenets of the Christian faith. I was a little disturbed that I couldn't really answer the question in a clear cut fashion. I was wondering what kind of a Christian I was. Frankly I was a little upset that I didn't seem to belong. Then I realized that perhaps I belong to a group of Christians who just don't belong. I am one of those questioning Christians, or perhaps Questionable Christians. In any case, I would like to question the assumptions of those who think that Christianity is about a simple set of behavioral rules, moral standards, and political platforms.

Perhaps, the best way to tackle the set of questions I have introduced is to consider what would be Jesus' priorities as a citizen of a country. As a group of Christians, or as a Church, and as individual Christians, what should be our priorities?

Along similar lines, I recently came across a blog that seemed to ask the right questions in terms of the seeming preoccupation with
in this society and in the blogosphere. According to Richard Hall, our priorities when it comes to sex are misplaced because we have simply imitated the mores of the rest of society. Too often, this imitation and reflection of society's values and concerns, drive the church's mission, rather than taking the lead from the Lord and letting Him direct our set of concerns, priorities and our mission.

Perhaps the question we need to ask is: "What does rendering to Ceasar that which is Ceasar's, and rendering to God's what belongs to God's"? I believe at a minimum rendering to Ceasar means being a good citizen. So our question would be what are our duties as good citizens? Rendering to God means being a good follower of Christ, and obviously our question here is what are our priorities as followers of Christ? And the ultimate question is "Ought the two priorities always be aligned with each other?" I think the Biblical account, hints at least, that this need not always be the case. And, if we were to take the principles of the Sermon on the Mount to heart, we must always seek first the Kingdom of Heaven. So our final question is, what does it mean to seek first the Kingdom of Heaven for the church's role in this nation and for this age?