Thursday, July 20, 2006

Radical?


So after reading Byron's post and the subsequent comments I was inspired to think about a couple of things...

Mainly I was inspired to think about jobs/work etc in light of whether it is futile in the scheme of everything. So I have a middle-class degree or two and a middle-class job- am I simply a product of modern day middle class theology whereby I get to keep the job and the God too? More pressing a question regards my role as an activist. Is this futile? Should I just stop protesting and hand out bibles at rallies instead?

No, I believe that taking a stand about matters regarding the environment and social justice hold more intrinsic value than simply as a means of stewardship.

I approached a church minister once about a church assisting some refugee friends of mine in a detention centre, his response was "Aren't they mostly Muslim? I don't hear much of the Muslim church helping them out? Maybe we could just help the Christian refugees?"

What I dislike most about Christianity is 'christian' culture. A push towards middle-class jobs and middle class values. Basically equating to mediocrity. Reminding me of a quote I heard by one of my indigenous lecturers " John Howard does not inspire in us the extraordinary but rather encourages us to be comfortable in our ordinariness." But Jesus was radical. Said radical things, did radical things - he was both outside and inside politics often positing views that could be aligned with communism and anarchy... What we often have today is a far cry from the Christianity Jesus spoke of. The Hillsongs that appeal to modern youth culture, the Anglicans that appeal to conservative educated culture, the Catholics that appeal to traditional culture, the cafe/home churches that appeal to alternative culture... Is it possible to sit outside these cultures? I wonder if we could, if we would find the radical Christianity that Jesus lived?

Check these out as these two radical chriatian organisations.
(www.hopestreet.org.au)
(www.tear.org.au)

2 comments:

meredith said...

great post rachel

hope street and tear do really good work, hey. i find them both inspirational.

i wonder if there is something in the idea of 'incarnation' that can help with all this thinking about how to be radical as jesus was and is. one of the most radical things about him is his servanthood - his willingness to give up the glories of heaven and become a man - and then to give his very self and die on a cross. that kind of self-emptying, that radical kind of identification with the needy, i think shows a way forward for us too.

byron said...

Thanks for the thoughts Rachel. The discussion on my original post continues to get lengthier.

I totally agree that we are called to do good to all as we have opportunity, and especially to the household of faith (Gal 6.10). To love our enemies (Luke 6.27). To bless those who persecute and hate us (Rom 12.14). There is no possibility of limiting our responsibility to those who are like us, or who like us. This even the pagans do...

But is it possible to sit outside of culture? Yes and no. Abraham was called to leave his homeland and family and journey trusting in a promise. It was a call to identify in very concrete ways with God's purposes beyond any cultural security. Our own calling is also out from our safe locations. But it is also to then be thrown back in: to become a Jew to the Jews to win the Jews and a Greek to the Greeks to win the Greeks. The relationship between Christ and culture has more layers than simply antagonism (though it will include that). For there is also 'radical' culture, out of which we are called - and into which we are then sent.

Meredith: perhaps a key text for this discussion (which is certainly there in the background for you) is Philippians 2.5-11. Jesus, though equal with God did not consider this something to be exploited but emptied himself into service and death. So God exalted and vindicated him. We are to follow. Not sure I'd call it 'incarnation' (perhaps simply 'service' will serve?), but he is certainly the model for our action in this manner.