Greg Boyd has written an important chapter in the new book (unfortunately) titled A Faith Not Worth Fighting For1. Boyd's chapter is titled, "Does God expect Nations to Turn the Other Cheek?"
In his brief essay, Boyd manages to make a very concise and compelling argument in such a small space. He does so by making his arguments very direct. For example, he tackles Romans 13 head-on, summarizing much of John Howard Yoder's exegesis from The Politics of Jesus. He also summarizes much of his arguments from The Myth of a Christian Nation regarding the distinctiveness of God's Kingdom reflected in its unique "power under" in contrast to the kingdom of the world's commonplace use of "power over".
The piece that makes this essay stand apart and what makes it essential to the dialogue between Christian pacifists and Christian Just War theorists is the refinement of Boyd's distinction between what he calls "Kingdom Pacifism" and "Political Pacifism" and greater detail on the expectations of Kingdom Pacifism for the violence of nations.
"By faith [Abraham] made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God."
- Hebrews 11.9-10
"How could Abraham endure? He looked forward to the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. To what city did he look forward? There is no evidence that the hope of the resurrection was held in Abraham's day. Nor could he foresee any visible city, such as the Jerusalem of Solomon's time. His imagination ay have peopled this strange land with his descendants. He did look to the future. But his faith was in the God who would build the city with strong foundations. Faith in God confers no right to draw any blueprints of the coming city. We have our plans and hopes. But they are at best only partially fulfilled. History has an offspring in her womb that we cannot even fancy. But faith in the future rests on faith in God, by whose grace and wisdom the foundations of the coming city will be laid. What more could Abraham, or we ourselves, ask?"
Far too few US theologians are willing to draw the connection between the special chosen-ness theology of Western colonialism and Calvinism. Native theology is the missing link. It was the myth of "Manifest Destiny" that fueled Native genocide at the hands of European colonists. And "Manifest Destiny" is Calvinism concentrate.
T. J.'s bike chain routinely ejects itself from its toothy home on the crank of his bike and leaves him sad. Last month alone I probably reattached his chain a half-dozen times. This last time, as I was removing the chain guard with a screwdriver, a strange feeling washed over me. I thought, "I'm a dad. This is what dads do."
To be a "city within a city"* (an alternative Boston) that passionately loves JESUS, thoughtfully seeks JUSTICE for the oppressed, and intentionally forms a diverse FAMILY that serves and reflects our community.
*The imagery of a "city within a city" comes from the words of Jesus in the Gospel according to Matthew (5.14-16). Jesus tells his followers that they are a "city on a hill" whose relationships, character, and way of life show the world what God is like.
To be the "city on a hill" Jesus spoke of, the church must be a countercultural, alternative society of people who model the way life works in the kingdom of God. While, in the kingdoms of the world, race, gender, economic class divide people, in this new city, those divisions are destroyed. Instead, Jesus himself unites us in peace.
Being an alternate city means that we model alternate ways of doing life. We ask questions like, “How do we use our money, sexuality, and power? How do we treat the poor? How do we think of art, commerce, and education?”
When Lost was on the air I was heavy into the show, and was one of the many people disappointed by the "lack of answers" at the end. I felt like the writing on Lost promised the viewer a deep and profound mythology that it never delivered. Lindelof defends against this criticism by saying the show was always about the characters and not the mythology. That may satisfy some, but not me.
In any case, it wasn't Lindelof's defense of Lost's ending that made this interview fascinating to me. No, it was Lindelof's discussion of his position as Lost's writer and his relationship to the audience. His brief description of this dynamic at work while he was in charge of Lost, serves as an illuminating metaphor for our understanding of God's providence.
If you don't already know, Osheta and I are planting a church in Boston this year. The first 9 months we will be gathering interested, missional people to be part of our launch team while I serve on staff as a "Church Planting Resident" at Highrock Arlington and CCFC. After that we will be organizing launch team gatherings. Our goal is to have 30 committed adults by this Fall.
Theological Graffiti is a blog written by T. C. Moore @tc_moore ...a Jesus-disciple, husband, father, Associate Pastor @NewCityChurch of Los Angeles, sometimes web designer, writer, and theology geek. For more about me, visit my Personal Website or my Online Profile. Otherwise, enjoy the graffiti.