Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What's Your Agenda?

Did Jesus have a political agenda? If He were alive today, would His ministry look more like that of Martin Luther King, Jr., or Billy Graham?

This issue has been rolling around in my head for a while and, at some point, I have to resolve it. Many on the "left" would have us believe that Jesus' ministry was one that was primarily focused on social and political concerns. Thus, they feel it their Christian duty to spend the vast majority of their time focusing on political and social issues, lobbying and marching endlessly for the poor and oppressed.

Many on the "right" feel it their Christian duty to simply share the spiritual truths of the Gospel, telling people of the salvific aspects of the "kingdom of God."

Could it be that, as usual, Jesus is somewhere in the middle?

Truth be told, I don't see a large emphasis in Jesus' ministry on taking up the political and social banner. Yes, He definitely turned some of the societal norms on their heads (does the Samaritan woman - both strikes against her - at the well ring a bell?). But His political and social actions were more subtle than overt.

Those who took up the cause of Jesus after His departure definitely seemed to emphasize the spiritual over the political as well - not that they neglected the latter altogether, of course. In Ephesians, for example, when Paul lists off the various roles that God has set apart, nowhere does he say that God has given some to be "politicians or social activitists." This is not to say that God is opposed to such roles - no more than He's opposed to someone being an engineer or physician - but it does tell me that we need not feel guilty if we don't run down to our local protest or political demonstration every day, angrily demanding an end to the war - though we should probably be opposed to it - or promoting a new bill that grants immunity to illegal immigrants.

These, of course, are simply my initial reflections.


Rondi said...

And thought-provoking reflections they are =)

Interfaith Power and Light said...

Interesting thoughts Shawn.

I wonder if an Adventist protesting the Iraq war would be fine, if he or she weren't "angry?" Maybe just concerned. . .

Probably better to even have a truthful lover of war than a factually-incorrect lover of peace.

And I wonder if someone might have a bad agenda in opposing Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Certainly nativism would be a poor means to a lawful end. . .