Sunday, August 5, 2012

Christ is Not an American (political commentary by an orthodox rebel)

American individualism can never be Christian, for the Christ-like life is never about the self, its own aggrandizement or realization or actualization or discovery or love. We are not here to find ourselves, but rather to be found by God in Christ. We are not here to realize ourselves, but rather to realize our union with Christ and the mystic, sweet communion of God in our day-by-day, moment-to-moment circumstances. We are not to love ourselves, neither hate ourselves, nor consider ourselves at all, but rather be loved by God and thereby love God and others. So you see, obsession with our self, with our own individual advancement and success, is poison in the veins of the Christ-like life, for Christ was and is not an individualist.

American socialism can never be Christian either, for the Christ-like life is not about material security in the here and now. We look not to the things that are temporal but rather to the things that are eternal, for that which is temporal fades away, but that which is eternal abides forever. Your health will fade and so will healthcare. Your wealth will fade along with the wealth of others. Your home will fade as will your employment. All these things are passing away, and only God and His love remain. Tell me, then: what "compassion" is there in placing people's hopes in the things of this world? There is no greater hatred and cruelty than causing people to trust in material peace and equality rather than the love of the sovereign God, for what profits a man if he gains the whole world (including consistent federal welfare checks) but loses his soul? So you see, our obsession with political solutions to eternal problems is also poison in the veins of the Christ-like life, for Christ was and is not a socialist.

Brothers and sisters, whatever your persuasion politically or socially and however good or noble your intentions, understand this: Christ is sui generis because Christ is God, and both His advancing kingdom and His saving Gospel do not, cannot, and must not be made to resemble the imperfect and ever-fallible schemes of men.

-Jon Vowell (c) 2012


  1. My friend, I commend your focus on the not-meness of the Gospel, but you negate the physical reality of our existence. Yes, we are to live our lives focused on Christ and thereby in service to others, but we must also concern ourselves with our physical well-being. That is the great dilemma of the already and not-yet nature of the kingdom of God.

    In your fervor for the next reality, you also neglect that heaven is a redeemed earth. Do not forget that the summation of the kingdom of God is not the destruction of this world, but heaven coming down to redeem and restore this world. In that sense, all that is physical is of utmost importance, and we are to concern ourselves with the conservation and preservation of the Earth.

    To that end, any policy that promotes the kingdom of God, intentionally or unintentionally is to be praised, and one of the responsibilities of the Christian is to support such policy, even if we recognize it to be only a shade of the coming reality. The mentality promoted in this post seems to be, "We can't legislate the kingdom, so do not bother with legislation." Rather, I think we cannot legislate the kingdom, but we can do our best to support those policies that are in line with the kingdom. Let's be sure that we are not so reactionary that we throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  2. thanks for sharing.

  3. Brandon:

    I appreciate your well-informed response (and it is good to hear from you), but I fear you have simply misread the entire post.

    My point was not some "this world vs. the next world" smackdown but rather how wrong it is to subjugate Christ (and His Kingdom) to our own agendas and ideas (HINT: the two pictures I chose for this post were very deliberate). My stance is not "We can't legislate the kingdom, so do not bother with legislation," but rather "We can't legislate the kingdom, so do not put your trust in legislation." Too often, our well-intended "policies" can take the place of God and the Gospel.

    I suggest you click on the second hyperlink in the post ("do not, cannot, and must not be made to resemble") and read my thoughts there, as they further unpack what I'm saying.

    Thanks for playing. 8^)

  4. BTW,

    Jeremiah 17:5-8 is a good summary of what I'm trying to say in this post.