Friday, January 20, 2017

An Updated Posting

I left the United States for Australia before the absentee ballots were available and returned after the election.  For the first time in my eligibility, I was unable to vote.  I confess I really didn't mind, as I was wholly uninspired by either of the viable candidates and found the tertiary candidates obtuse.

Since I am a creature of both the academy and the church, I cannot help but be exposed to people who have had their expectations disrupted.  They have reacted in a variety of ways, but mostly through initial anger and blaming, then a brief moment of equanimity ["We're all in this together"], and now with a renewed, somewhat emotionally submerged, sense of resistance to the change in government.   I do feel uncomfortable with ordained colleagues who seem to think the world is run by politicians, either the "angelic" ones for whom they vote or the "demonic" ones for whom they don't.  After all, my memories of seminary life includes hearing more anti-Ronald Reagan sermons than those that were specifically pro-Jesus.  Of course, I sometimes think that some of my colleagues view the Christ as an intellectual construction, and not a living presence. 

If anything, a belief in God and redemption through Jesus has enabled an emancipation from concern about secular leaders, as does even a cursory knowledge of world history.  We are, as Christians, to be in the world, but not of the world, after all.  That is the source of our liberation.

Anyway, for the sake of clarity, I re-print that which appears below.
From November 10, 2016:
As many know, I resist permitting secular political ideology, a morass of self-serving posturing, to interpenetrate with the spiritual.  My job is to represent, explain, and make alive a very ancient perspective on the world and the self, on the nature of Being that comes from Nothing, of the attempted answers to the eternal questions of "Where am I from?", "Why am I here?", and "Where am I going?"  I cannot do so if I limit our vision to what 21st century politicians, and their servants in the media and entertainment, find as valuable for me to believe, to think, and about which to speak.

I care little for either candidate; I am indifferent to the current occupant of the office, as opposed to the vast majority of my colleagues in both academia and ecclesia.  I also have little use for the professional bureaucrats of my own national church organization, who have been vocal about the dangers to the republic if any candidate but the one preferred by the professional church should attain the White House, suddenly claiming that now is the time for reconciliation.  I might suggest that they look up that business about logs and eyes that's in that dusty book on the lectern.  The mutterings from that quarter will continue and will build over the next four years.  They say and write publicly what they think is appropriate, but they live a different reality than what they represent.

Perhaps it's because I grew up in a political household, but I see them all as deeply flawed individuals rather than saviors, as is how I see myself.  I already have a Jesus and, conveniently, his name happens to be Jesus.  I regret that so many Christians need to have a secular Jesus, too, and it is to be a politician.   However, because I believe strongly in the grander nature of the human race, especially when we acknowledge that we are creatures of a community brimming with hope and faith, I cannot despair.  I have seen too much good come from quiet moments of grace, in small pockets around the world, to ever despair of what a political class, media, or a pop singer think about the world in which I abide.

I live for Jesus, and it is to him that I answer, happily and without hesitation.  I find that a far more compelling, balanced, and peaceful view of the world and its hope than has ever been voiced by any candidate for any office.

And now, for something completely different.  Here I am entertaining a collection of Chinese tourists in Sydney who mistook me as their tour guide.  They seemed untroubled by the fact that I knew nothing of either Mandarin or the history of the Royal Botanical Gardens.