Magazine

If You Could Just Go Ahead and Listen to Us, That Would Be Great

Posted on the 13 January 2014 by Agholdier @agholdier

If you haven’t seen the classic late-90’s movie Office Space, then this reference will almost certainly confuse you: by many people’s estimation, Christians have become the Bill Lumbergh of our political society.

bill-lumbergh2

Known for his nasally monotone (to call it “bland” credits it too much vigor) and laser-straight attention to the things that no one else cares about (“Mmmkay, thanks.”), the only exciting thing about Lumbergh is the level of hatred that his sudden appearances spark in those who have to hear him. Popping up suddenly out of nowhere to voice his uninspiring opinion on a subject that he was not asked for input on is a repeated recipe for comedic disaster, and while it might work well in a movie script, no one enjoys being in such a real-life situation.

How often have we Christians suddenly elbowed our way into a conversation – particularly a political one – only to be met with angry stares and frustrated responses? For many people, the only time a Christian is visible is when our certain pet social issues are suddenly in the media again (Prop 8, anyone?). It should come as no surprise to us that everyone else is confused at our sudden desire to play in their sandbox when we are so normally content to play in our own (or, more likely, our church’s).

We here at Faithful Politics have started work on a loosely connected project to develop a Kingdom-based theology of political engagement. That is to say: how does Jesus’ teaching on the Kingdom (the all-encompassing reality He inaugurated during his life and will one day bring to complete fruition upon His return) pertain to our 21st century political reality? In the interest of being clear, we should first try and define our terms: by “engagement,” we want to know how Christians should approach and interact with the current culture around them, specifically the “political” sphere that pertains to the bureaucratic institution of public governance for citizens.

I think it’s safe to say that many Christians do a poor job of this.

Consider the stereotype: the angry sign-holder who doesn’t even know what a ballot is until there is suddenly a question about abortion practices on one. Not only is this an abrasive and ineffective way of making one’s voice heard, but it goes directly against Jesus’ command for His followers to be “salt and light” to the world around them.

In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus lays out a sketch for how His disciples should engage their culture: by being consistently visible, never hiding our lamps under bowls, but by constantly seasoning the people around us with the truth of His Word. For our purposes here, we should focus on one word: consistently.

By regularly participating in cultural processes, we establish both personal connections and public records for ourselves as caring, intelligent people who deserve to be heard – rather than showing up suddenly, clutching our coffee cups, reminding everyone of the new format for the TPS reports. James Davison Hunter describes this as an approach of “faithful presence” wherein, among other things, “the challenge is not to stifle robust debate, but rather to make sure that it is real debate.” The more committed we are to faithfully engaging in politics, the more true-to-faith said engagement will be.

Until then, then only thing people will want to do is transfer us (*JUST* a moment) to someone else.

Or take us out into a field with a baseball bat.


This essay was originally published at FaithfulPolitics.org on March 8th, 2013. It appears here unedited from its original form.

Tags: Christianity, Communication, Community, Faithful Presence, James Davison Hunter, Office Space, Politics

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Boeing 747-400, Lufthansa

    Boeing 747-400, Lufthansa

    @ Frankfurt Airport, Germany April 2018 Lufthansa operates 13 of these -400 models, along with 19 of the newer 747-8 aircraft. Read more

    14 hours, 2 minutes ago by   Htam
    PHOTOGRAPHY, SOCIETY
  • What ADHD Actually Is, Part 2

    Since I wrote part 1 of this series, I’ve had a lot of wonderful positive feedback from people with ADHD and suggestions for topics to cover in the future.... Read more

    15 hours, 12 minutes ago by   Brute Reason
    SOCIETY, WOMEN'S ISSUES
  • Pain De Mie

    Pain

    这个面包真的是超软!用刀切片的时候有点困难。Ingredients:260g Blue Jacket Baguette Flour40g Blue Jacket Wholewheat Flour8g fine sugar3g instant yeast1g salt180g water15g Cowhead salte... Read more

    15 hours, 26 minutes ago by   Cathysjoy
    FOOD & DRINK, RECIPES
  • Flash Fiction from a Writing Prompt

    Flash Fiction from Writing Prompt

    ** In the classes I teach at Stevenson University, students know that I have the propensity to use writing prompts in class to get them writing creatively and... Read more

    The 20 April 2018 by   Steph's Scribe
    BOOKS, ENTERTAINMENT, SELF EXPRESSION
  • Flash Fiction from a Writing Prompt

    Flash Fiction from Writing Prompt

    ** In the classes I teach at Stevenson University, students know that I have the propensity to use writing prompts in class to get them writing creatively and... Read more

    The 20 April 2018 by   Steph's Scribe
    BOOKS, DIARIES, SELF EXPRESSION
  • Inside New Opening Church on the Hill, Glasgow

    Doors Open at Church on the Hill Iconic Southside Glasgow bar, Church on the Hill, has opened its doors again, following a £650,000 refurbishment. Read more

    The 20 April 2018 by   Emma
    DESTINATIONS, DINING OUT, FOOD & DRINK
  • Summer Dresses Ideas

    Summer Dresses Ideas

    Coucou everyone,Summer is almost here, are you excited?Long days on the beach (in the park), light evenings with glass of rose on the terrace, delicious ice... Read more

    The 20 April 2018 by   Dusana Bozenkova
    LIFESTYLE