A theme throughout the comments on my last post centered around the concept of action being of greater importance than dialogue. I think that most of us could say that Shane Claiborne of the Simple Way (link in right column) is quite socially active and intent on being the person of Jesus for those who are otherwise overlooked by many supposed of followers of Jesus. I was sitting with Shane at the Envision Conference at Princeton just before he gave a portion of his presentation on Jesus and the Church. Here is a clip:
While at the conference I met one of Shane’s friends, Jamie Moffett . Jaime was in the process of producing a documentary called "The Ordinary Radicals. " The documentary was finalized earlier in September. Shane contributed to the video along with Jim Wallis , Brian McLaren , Tony Campolo, Rob Bell , and John Perkins (I also hung out a little with Jim, Brian, and John at the conference). Here is a portion of what Shane said for "The Ordinary Radicals "which pertains the the previous topics of engagement with the empire.
The Ordinary Radicals – Trailer from Jamie Moffett on Vimeo.
I found the amount of comments on my previous "Bantering and Battering" post much more intriguing than the content of the posts. I am not demeaning the value of anyone’s thoughts and contribution to the dialogue (they were quite insightful) but rather am expressing my observation that there are many and various opinions and stances that have generated much attention and use of time. Such popularity indicates that a post with political, governmental, and empire-ical themes unveils the value of Christian (or unChristian) involvement and engagment in the public square. Thank you for your thoughts and comments. I hope the virtual discussion will continue.
One question that I posed in the original post was, "Does my vote even really matter?" A comment indicated that the issues and implications contained within the decision of whether or not to vote "carry with them enormous weight and responsibility." Am I held responsible for the decisions of another person if I voted for that person? Since I (regretably) voted for George W. Bush am I guilty of killing thousands of people in a vengeance-initiated war? Am I responsible for irresponsibly spending billions of dollars that could have otherwise been used to feed and clothe people and provide education and clean water for our national enemies and/or neighbors? Did my vote provoke terrorism? If my vote really mattered then am I really an enactor of love representing the kingdom of God?
I have been perusing some random blogs and reading all the different viewpoints on the U.S. presidential candidates and their running mates (when I say "their running mates" it seems as if they are possessions). There are people from all types of religious and socioeconomic backgrounds that adamantly support either Barack Obama or John McCain . I have several problems not necessarily with either candidate but rather with the election process itself. The first problem is that the candidates, those in the campaigning process, and supporters spend so much of their time bashing the "opposition." What is especially troubling is that a self-proclaimed follower of Jesus will point out everything that is suppossedly wrong and unchristian about Barack Obama and then another self-proclaimed follower of Jesus will point out everything that is suppossedly wrong and unchristian about John McCain. Is such language really reflective of the love of Jesus? Should so much time be spent degraging a human and attempting to unveil the wrongdoing of another? And for what? Power? Political gain? Kicks and giggles? Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy the fun that comes with a new political season. I laughed out loud for quite some time after watching Saturday Night Live’s skit featuring "A Nonpartisan Message from Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton. " We would go crazy if there was not some humor to distract us and interupt the bantering and battering that defines a U.S. election. But what does a follower of Jesus do when real hatred and degradation characterizes the core of each candidates’ campaign?
Should I vote?
Should I choose the lesser of the two evils, thereby still choosing evil?
Should I fill in John Ballenger as a write-in candidate ?
Does my vote even really matter?
What decision best reflects a life that exists for the kingdom of God?
As a part of my Master of Arts program through NNU I am leading a study using the curriculum by Dan Kimball, "They Like Jesus but Not the Church." There are about 15 college students from MVNU who are contributing their thoughts as we seek to uncover culture’s objections to Christianity. I also showed a clip from the DVD to my ITD1101 classes on Wednesday. The clip from Session One was an interview of college students who were asked, "What do you think of Jesus?" and "What do you think of Christians?" The responses were varying and intriguing. So…
What do you think of Jesus?
What do you think of Christians?
What do you think of the label "Christian" and why would you ascribe to it or not?