Playing Revolutionary

Of course, we may “play” revolutionary and delude ourselves that we can do battle against the atomic bomb. Usually when the reality of the political situation dawns upon the oppressed, those who have no vision from another world tend to give up in despair. But those who have heard about the coming of the Lord Jesus and have a vision of crossing on the other side of Jordan are not terribly disturbed about what happens in Washington D.C., at least not to the extent that their true humanity is dependent on the political perspective of government officials. To be sure, they know that they must struggle to realize justice in this world. But their struggle for justice is directly related to the coming judgment of Jesus. His coming presence requires that we not make any historical struggle an end in itself. We struggle because it is a sign of Jesus’ presence with us and of his coming presence to redeem all humanity. His future coming therefore is the key to the power of our struggle.

-Dr. James Cone, God of the Oppressed, pg. 132

These words of Dr. Cone really showcase where my head is at recently politically and theologically. Things seem really, really bad, because they are. We are in a political moment unlike any other in our history, one that is dangerous and destabilizing. The future feels immensely less certain than it did two years ago.

But despair is not the attitude of the Church and those of us in it, those of us defined as Christians. The vagaries of politics and world affairs do not define our hope, nor do they determine the future we know is guaranteed. And, crucially, they do not set the terms of engagement. Christ does. As Dr. Cone says, we struggle because we know God, not because of anything less.

Things are bad. God is bigger than it anyways. Keep up the fight, but remember, the end is already written in our favor, in humanity’s favor, despite our best attempts to fuck it up (and we are certainly doing our best at that recently.)

And remember: we aren’t called to play revolutionary. We are called to be disciples. In all your work in the world, don’t forget that, and don’t forget the potential of the Church to craft disciples.


The Cradle of our Love to God

st-augustine-icon1But as a man may sin against another in two ways, either by injuring him or by not helping him when it is in his power, and as it is for these things which no loving man would do that men are called wicked, all that is required it, I think, proved by these words, “The love of our neighbor worketh no ill.” And if we cannot attain to good unless we first desist  from working evil, our love of our neighbor is a sort of cradle of our love to God, so that, as it is said, “the love of our neighbor worketh no ill,” we may rise from this to these other words, “We know that all things issue in good to them that love God.” The man point is this, that no one should think that while he despises his neighbor he will come to happiness and to the God whom he loves.”

-St. Augustine