Monday, May 22, 2006

Politics of Jesus 5: Faithfulness without Guarantee

Sorry this one's a few minutes me lazy and indecisive; could probably write on topics from chapters 8-10, as well as 12, 'The War of the Lamb.' I was inspired after reading this chapter, and in going back through it, I found myself drawn to the call to 'accepting powerlessness,' simply because it is faithful to the way of Christ, rather than as a means to an end.

In Yoder's words,
The cross is not a recipe for resurrection. Suffering is not a tool to make people come around, nor a good in itself. But the kind of faithfulness that is willing to accept evident defeat rather than complicity of evil is, by virtue of its conformity with what happens to God when he works among us, aligned with the ultimate triumph of the Lamb (238).

A few thoughts. I believe Yoder correct in qualifying the type of suffering that is commendable; this rules out the martyr complex as a viable option for life. I also agree with the point that suffering isn't something to be manipulated to coerce another, and appreciate the fact that he sees the problematic reality behind that. This isn't a panacea that is guaranteed to change everything, in the sense of 'presto chango, situation fixed, life is all better now!' It requires that faith that looks wrong-ness in the eye and refuses to let it go unchallenged, even when every visible sign points against things changing for the better. Even though we may not see visible results in the near future, we're convinced that Jesus' God wins out in the end, and will not back away from letting that define our reality. That's ballsy. That takes guts. That's something I can get behind, and those are people I want to stand with. That's a church.

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