Friday, October 8, 2010
Bridging The Divide (part 1)
Bridges are one of the great architectural achievements in human history. Where a road would once end in air, or sea, or horizon, it could now continue to far off places. It allowed for the trade of goods, the sharing of cultures, and it was the first of many technological feats that has lead to the increasingly globalized world we have today.
The construction of a physical bridge is usually the precursor to metaphorical bridges of greater understanding between nations, cultures, and ideas. But all too often in our unhealthy modernity, ideas that ought not be reconciled have strong ties linked by a bridge. Sometimes they are a bridge to the reconciliation of thought and action that leads to peace-- but sometimes to tyranny. It can also be a bridge to nowhere.
America has one particular bridge that dominates the landscape of its history, present, and future. It is a grand, ornate, 16-lane super bridge with the philosophy that links Christianity to a ideology that seeks to codify Christian principles into governmental law.
This particular bridge is built on multi-million dollar churches, lobbies, and businesses; the sum total of which reaches well into the billions of dollars in assets and influence.
It is purportedly built on the idea and tradition that America is a "Christian Nation"; paved by the blood of patriots who died for this country; and held up by those willing to serve its cause today through giving money and votes out of "devotion to Christ."
No matter how well the construct may function, we should take some time to examine the divide the bridge conquers. So, we have to ask ourselves several questions:
First, what is the divide?
Second, should it be bridged?
I submit this thought for scrutiny-- is the divide human nature and the bridge Christ? or is the divide Christ himself, and the bridge human nature, attempting to bridge what should be unbridgeable?
Even in the first establishment of a Hebrew Kingdom in I Samuel, God has shown that an earthly kingdom and the desire for a "King" is a rejection of Him; it directs attention away from serving God and abiding in His promises for something greater.
In the New Testament, we see Christ's attitude toward government is best displayed in Mark 12, Matthew 22, and Luke 20. "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."
This seems to be a clear delineation between God's law and gentile law. Taxes and monies are distributed by the government, therefore, can be collected by the government.
God, through Christ, demands that our hearts and actions are to reflect our voluntary obedience to His laws. This is the fundamental and intrinsic freedom given to us by our creator in free will. Do we, as Christians, need government to protect more than our freedom to worship?
Christ himself shows we do not even need that protection in the pages of secular law to be Christians, as He died by the hand of government.
The only laws we seem to hold fundamentally true throughout Christian history and denominations is this-- to be true in our submission to Christ-- wherever we may find those in need, we are to give freely of what we have-- our bank account is their bank account, our roof is their roof, our food is their food.
There are more scriptures (Matthew 26, Romans 2, Romans 13) to examine from the Christian perspective, and we'll save them for next week. In the mean time, it's not a subject that is deserving of a lecture, but of thoughtful and careful consideration to the consequence of the answers. Therefore, it begs the question...what do you think?