It is good timing that has me reading NT Wright’s Surprised by Scripture the same week the news is exploding from a new Indiana law regarding discrimination and religious rights.
Wright’s chapter, “Our Politics Are Too Small” is powerful. Some thoughts:
“…martyrdom (which is what happens when the church bears witness to God’s call to the rulers and the rulers shoot the messenger) is an inalienable part of political theology. You can have as high a theology of the God-given calling of rulers you like, as long as your theology of the church’s witness and martyrdom matches it stride for stride.”
It is realizing that no matter who is in control politicallly at any given time, the final say will ultimately rest with King Jesus. “Thus the church, in its biblical commitment to ‘doing God in public,’ is called to learn how to collaborate without compromise… and to criticize without dualism.”
The church needs to criticize even current forms if democracy. In Wright’s view our current glorification of democracy arises out of the Enlightenment dualism that banished God from the public square Andes elevated “the voice of the people.” We need to hold powerful (democratic) governments to account. We, as the church, also need to be held to a high standard.
“Our culture is moving in all kinds of ways toward a post-post-modernism that has yet to be shaped but for which our public world longs as it lurches from boredom and trivia to dangerous and dehumanizing behavior.”
We need a serious biblical witness to God in public. We need a sound grounding in the Word to display a full wisdom in the world again. We have the shrill voices of fundamentalism, the shrill denials of secularism, and the nihilism of the world. We need a solid representation of Christ in the public square for holistic good.
“Doing business with God in public is always complicated, but it is never dull.”