Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Power politics

Here's a suggestion about how we should engage in politics.....

So often, Christian engagement with politics is considered only from the perspective of issues (i.e. is this policy right or wrong, with or against the Scriptures?). Now, of course, these are proper and important concerns, but is that all there is to our engagement with politics?

I was looking at Luke 22 yesterday and was struck by Jesus's very familiar and famous words to his disciples, "The Kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves." This is a comparison of two very different kinds of politics. And the difference is not found in the policies (though of course there would be many!) but in the way one approaches power itself. The distinctives of the disciples are not just their opinions, but how they approach power itself. In other words, this is more than having a different kind of a policy - this is a completely different way of approaching politics itself. The disciple is uninterested in power games, rather his power is found in and through servanthood. These words come, of course, in the context of the Passover before Jesus's death. We have a Lord who became like "the youngest...as one who serves", and a Lord who thereby accomplished the most powerful thing the world has ever seen.

The church is a powerfully political institution, not because we have our own party and MPS, but because we model a different way of thinking about power itself. We challenge not just the policies but the very order and basis of the world's way of handling power. We're not one more lobby group among many, rather we're an alternative to worldly politics itself. Our politics is Jesus and His kingdom.

Let me know what you think!!!!