Be very afraid

Imagine a generation giving up on national voting
Living in the belief that nationalism
And the national political platform
Will make no lasting difference in this world…
And be very afraid.

Imagine a people who have changed their priorities
Who think that communities living differently
And taking the words, living, loving, and politic of Jesus seriously
Will make the lasting difference…
And be very afraid.

What if organizational churches don’t make money?
What if capitalism was on the rocks?
What if there was revolution of love?
What if communities focused local and provided for each other?
What if there was a balance of resources across the globe?
What if we helped take care of the world’s dying, homeless, and hurting
    rather than wiping out their cities and killing their innocents?
What if there is no American Dream?
What if there is no hope for a “Christian America?”
Be very afraid.

And then consider where the fear comes from.
Hope placed in anything other than that which looks like Jesus
    must surely be misplaced hope.
Hope placed in any government will let us down again and again.
There is no reason to fear if our hope lies somewhere else.
Our priority on something greater
Should not falter in the changing tides of politics, economics, or oppression.
When we can live in this seemingly upside down and backwards way,
We no longer need be afraid.

We rejoice… we rejoice.

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5 thoughts on “Be very afraid”

  1. how could locals efficiently “take care of the world’s dying,” etc. if there wasn’t some organization?

    what if “locals” from many different areas decided to help one village in Haiti? What would happen to the other villages?

    Be afraid when people stop trying to connect/change/enliven the organizations that connect us to the greater world. IF locals focus on only themselves and their priorities when are once again in the age where people don’t leave their small bubble of life and are unaware of the larger issues that govern life outside their community.

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  2. if you give up your voting, you are giving up your voice and others will speak for you. Unless you tear down 232 years of democracy in this country and thousands of years of voting you will never find a place where your ideals are shared broadly. Be afraid when your voice is silent.

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  3. Nate, Thanks for the great post. I’ve been thinking a lot about our few conversations regarding voting and participating in the political process and there are two convictions I have come to that I think are significant in sorting this out.

    First there is an assumption we make–and evident in Greg’s reply (good challenge, by the way)–that is up for discussion: we assume that we should use the political means available to us to achieve certain ends that we deem beneficial. I think the biblical narrative suggests something quite different but instead we have been formed by the American narrative that insists that having our voice heard through voting is somehow the penultimate political tool. I don’t think its wrong, necessarily, to vote, but I think we need to challenge the assumptions we live by so that if we vote we aren’t misplacing our hope.

    This leads to my second thought: Christian voting practices and political actions should be ad hoc. We are not trying establish ourselves as a political force according to the rules of the establishment. Rather, what we are called to is a witness that takes a perspective transcending the mundane world of power brokering and instead finds opportunities for bringing the gospel into whatever system we find ourselves in. We are, as it were, exiles, living so as to seek the peace of the city and yet not ruling it.

    peace,
    Sam

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  4. Sam,
    Good points.

    And Bob and Greg, thank you for your thoughts as well.

    I guess, my hope in this post was to make it clear that I don’t want my hope to be in the national political realm. I cannot tell others that they should not vote (as you mentioned sam)… I don’t think that there is inherent wrongness in it. But it is not my main priority. And i do not want it to become the sole way that I express my voice.

    I do believe that the Biblical story calls us to something bigger than national politics. Probably those who vote think so too. In my prioritizing though, i have chosen to see out a different way than voting. People don’t get this, and I am consistently surprised at how adamant people becoming in expressing the wrongness of my lack of patriotism. Why do we jump to this before we begin asking questions of how we are living as kingdom people?

    This post came out of a conversation (that I really didn’t want to get it, frankly), but kept being pushed to this subject, where I finally had to say that I don’t really get in to voting for national politics. The other person said at that point, Nate you seriously frighten me. Huh… interesting… I try to stay out of these conversations unless asked. Putting it up on the blog allows for the expression, but is more invitational than affrontive.

    Anyway, I should stop. Peace.

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  5. Two things:

    You don’t try to stay out of these conversations. I have had this one with you at least twice.

    Also, my voting is not based on patriotism, it is based my conviction/faith that tells me that I have been given a voice/vote, that does not mean that it is my only way way to voice my faith/opinions.

    I, still have do not have a clear understanding of why you chose not to vote. You say it is about kingdom living and different priorities but what does that mean. I want to be able to understand where you are coming from, but right now I don’t.

    You don’t need to be obligated to me to figure out what those mean for you, but it might help you figure out what your priorities are and what kingdom living means for you.

    Nate, you don’t scare me.

    Greg

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