I created a new blog in which to converse with willing interlocutors and pontificate about missiological and ecclesiological ideas. Suddenly, it came time to inaugurate my blog with a post. I was at a loss, how does one immediately jump waste deep into the deeper issues of how theology intersects with sociology and anthropology. There is a part of me that wants delve right into issues of insider movements, modalities and sodalities, and postmodern expressions of faith in Jesus. But there is another part of me that feels like a need to warm up to such issues.
An issue that currently troubles me is how to reconcile the Way of Jesus with public policy and inevitable institutionalization. A simple reading of the four biographies of Jesus in the Scriptures seems to suggest that Jesus initiated a subversive movement. It was a movement that challenged the principalities and powers (mentioned by Paul) of the day. The mere news of Jesus’ arrival launched a province-wide infanticide campaign. The high religious leaders were continually unhappy about his existence. Static theological constructs, religious institutions, and political manipulating was suddenly being unveiled as irrelevant to God’s purposes of seeing his world become in tune with his wishes.
Jesus and his band of followers seemed like a little upstart group going up against dominating powers. This insignificant group of uneducated men and women continued the struggle even after their leader’s early physical departure from earth. In a matter of three hundred years, this smattering of peasants turned into a well-oiled ecclesiastical machine. So significant was this machine that politicians began to affiliate and enemy nations became weary of Christians in their own lands. It wasn’t much longer before the church was fully in bed with the state. Accessorized with the sign of the cross, politicians, clergy, and generals exploited every ounce of power they could out of the church. But, why not? Every politician is going to pander to the majority.
It is my desire to see as many people as possible change their allegiance to the Way of Jesus. I don’t just desire a few people to do so, I want the majority of people to do so (if not all). Equipped with the teaches and example of Jesus and bolstered by ever-present companionship, the masses coming to Jesus should spark revolutions of love, reconciliation and hope. We so often talk of societal transformation due to a movement towards Christ. And to a certain degree this kind of transformation occurs. Valuing humans of every socioeconomic level regardless of gender, ethnicity, and status are by-products of whole nations becoming “Christian.” The troubling part for me, is that the church always institutionalizes and joins in the power-grab of the rest.
Why don’t we see more of a drastic change when a culture becomes more than 50% Christian? Why are places that have an overwhelming majority of its citizens going to church still mired by poverty, racism, crime, and immorality (sometimes to a worse degree than places with a minority of Jesus-followers)?
So, there it is. I start of this blog with a question, quandary really.