How Then Shall We Live?

27 08 2005

I was listening to NPR with my wife Kim yesterday morning as usual. We were listening to a series about Nigeria and how this oil and natural gas rich nation was dealing with the intersection of money, power, and corruption. This particular installment highlighted the possible bribery by a U.S. natural gas company (which is a subsidiary of Halliburton) of Nigerian officials so that it would “win” a bid over several other competitors to develop a natural gas plant in Nigeria. It was clear that this compay was more focused obviously on its own ability to turn a profit, not to improve the daily lives of Nigerians.

Now stay with me while I make this leap, it dawned on me that stories like this is what has Al Qaeda in such a tizzy. Don’t get me wrong, Al Qaeda is still the bad guy. Blowing up innocent people around the world is not the way to confront corruption. It certainly is not Jesus’ way (whom they hold up to be a prophet). But the bottom line is that the “world system” that the Apostle John told us not to love in his first epistle is currently controlled by western democracies, and of course, our good ol’ U.S.A. is the big dog of western demcracies. So we basically are the world system. Think about it. We have world’s most powerful military. We are the wealthiest nation in the world. We set the standard for popular culture, with names like “Britney”, “50 Cent”, PDiddy” “Tom Cruise”, being known all around the world. Yes in deed, we are the world.

What remains for us is this: how then shall we live? How can we be in the world but not of it, especially given the fact that we live right smack dab in the belly of the beast? How do we live lives that are counter to the world system that is all around us? How do we stop being part of the cosumptive society of people who are more focused on what they wear, drive, listen to, look at, eat and drink? How do we pursue the Kingdom and demonstrate the reality of Jesus in this topsy turvy world?

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5 responses

31 08 2005
sabbath day's journey

How nice to have found your blog! Oddly, I am also a black, married campus minister living in Ohio. ;)I stumbled upon you through Rod Garvin’s blog. You are bookmarked for sure!

Peace in Him,
Michele

1 09 2005
Marc

Thanks for stopping by Michele. I will come over and visit your blog too.

-Marc

1 09 2005
Anthony Smith

marc,

Your comments here about the connection between western democracies and their impact in the larger world got me to thinking about one of the best commentaries I have ever read on the book of Revelation by a guy named Wes Howard-Brook and Anthony Gwyther: Unveiling Empire: Reading Revelation Then and Now (Bible & Liberation Series).

You are making some serious connections here. How do we live as followers of the Way in such a world?

1 09 2005
Marc

I will try to pick that book up Ant. I actually think that those who are in the postmodern church offer a way out, because this cannot be done in isolation, we have to figure this thing as the people of God in the context of community, not as lone strangers. Unfortunately, too many of us are actually a part of the problem. What I mean is that too many of us have made our nation into an idol by putting country before God. So we are not really Kingdom seekers.

The problem of being too patriotic, even if you live in the “best country in the world” is that the best country in the world cannot hold a candle to the Kingdom of Jesus. Every nation at its core is in conflict with God’s Kingdom, particularly those nations that have the most to lose.

10 09 2005
Rod Garvin

Marc,

You pose the question of the ages for Christians. Our faith should be defined by how we answer that question and the answer should evolve as we grow in Christ. We may not be in pagan Rome, but we are in Constantinian Christian America. For the Christian, to resist is to repent – continuously.

Rod

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