If you are overly excited about the results of the midterm elections, your hope and confidence are misplaced. And equally so, if you’re despairing or doomsday-like about the midterm elections, this also is symptomatic of a misplaced hope.
Christian, engage in politics. Exercise your Christian social responsibility. But do not place your hope in the political arena.
Christ is king. He was king before this. He’s still king today. And he won’t stop being king at any time in the future. God’s kingdom purposes are sure and immutable. Our politics neither make him king, nor hinder his kingship.
Christ’s kingdom is everlasting and without end. It is the only kingdom that will ultimately last; and it will eventually eclipse all worldly kingdoms. These midterms are a mere a blip, a speck, on the timeline of God’s eternal purposes.
Engage. Don’t make too little of politics and dismiss it altogether. But don’t make too much of politics either — leading towards either despair or misplaced confidence.
As always, James K.A. Smith is equally perceptive of cultural habits as he is insightful in his analysis of them.
In today’s The NFL’s Thanksgiving games are a spectacular display of America’s ‘God and country’ obsession, published over at the The Washington Post, Smith plays on a common thesis in his writings:
Whereas many see our culture’s habits, traditions, and institutions as mundane, non-religious affairs, James sees much more at stake. They are competing rituals, or “religious” liturgies competing for our worship and shaping our loves.
Christian worship is formative — forming us into a people who love Christ and his kingdom. Our competing cultural “liturgies” (e.g., here: a traditional NFL Thanksgiving; or in other places in Smith’s writing: e.g., the mall as a house of worship for consumerism — quite relevant for tomorrow’s Black Friday) have a deformative power, pulling on our affections and, in the process, misplacing them (idolatry).
What is civil disobedience?
Civil disobedience is the intentional breach of legal duty. It is breaking the law. Those who engage in such disobedience lack the legal right to do so, i.e., their behavior is illegal, not legal. However, this sort of disobedience is to be distinguished from mere defiance, rebellion, or criminality. It is disobedience on the grounds of some claimed moral justification or duty.
One expression of civil disobedience is [a] the refusal to comply with and obey a law based on conscience — it is thought that to obey the law is to do evil, thus justifying (or even demanding) disobedience. The perceived evil may be “sin of commission” (being commanded to do wrong) or “sin of omission” (being commanded to refrain from good).