My Photo


« An Inspiring Story | Main | Are today's students less academically engaged? »

February 26, 2006

Comments

Brad Anderson

Good call on the "post-war" descriptor, Chuck. I wonder how US troops react to that kind of statement.

Brad Anderson

Kristol's comment is like those who say we'd have won Vietnam if we'd been able to bomb like the military wanted to. Obviously, if we kill everyone, we can consider the matter concluded.

I didn't see the interview. Was Kristol really criticizing Rumsfeld (a fellow neo-con, I thought)?

zero

bush is an effective fund raiser because his "base" isn't one bit interested in having the second harvest crowd do any better than to receive "seconds".

zero

oh, and bill kristol saying that we aren't "serious" enough about winning in iraq is like a coach saying his team lost because the players weren't "motivated" enough.

Downunder

Wow. So Second Harvest serve emergency food to more poor Americans than the entire population of Australia.

Wow.

Are they a church organisation? If so, are they fundamentalist or liberal? If not, when did a private organisation overtake God's church as the primary carer for His poor?

zero

when the founder of second harvest had enough of the lack of effort on behalf of those in need in america.

zero

where is kate?
hoping all is well.

and that baby cheesehead is doing well....

chuck

Hey, gang! Good evening. Hey, Downunder, good to hear from you, hope all is well downunder:>)
Kate is taking a little blogging break. Hopefuly, we'll hear from her soon.
On dealing with poverty, I am not sure the church is God's primary carer for the poor. I think God expects us all to be carers of the poor, and is probably most disappointed that his church often doesn't quite live up to that.

zero

true, chuck. but since the church is the message of christ and christ insisted we take care of the poor, it would seem that the majority of the burden is on the church. if nothing else, the church should be leading the way, out front and with great effort on behalf of the poor. (as much as i admire catholic social services and other church run organizations, these are jobs for the people within and doesn't include the everyday christian)....

come back soon, kate!

Downunder

I'm afraid I have to side with the Nullmeister on this one, Chuck. God's / Christ's commands were delivered to His people for actioning.

Certainly, God will judge all people on their obedience / disobedience of His Law, but failing to feed the poor is just another one in a long list of sins that non-believers do (largely without knowing it). Christians, on the other hand, have God's Word, including Christ's direct instruction, to obey on the subject.

Matt 6's command to give to the needy follows directly after a blistering illustration against only doing as much good as the pagans of the day. So my reading is that Christ expects more of His people than what is done by non-believers.

Plus, as the-man-with-no-shift-key says, what witness are we providing of Christ if we don't imitate him...

I do hope Kate is lurking at least, even if not posting.

Downunder

PS: Christians Sin Too! (Just to clarify the "long list" comment.) We just have the world's best secret service agent to take the bullet for us at the end.

Brad Anderson

Chuck, leaving aside the "primacy" of the church as carer for the poor for a moment, certainly the church's obedience in this is more crucial than that of any other entity because it converges with all other ways the church is to embody the kingdom of God. Yes, Jesus is Lord over all, but only the church has this specific calling, which means that our neglect of the "least of these" is doubly detrimental to that overall embodiment.

Brad Anderson

BTW, Downunder, Zero recently revealed that she is the "wo-man-with-no-shift-key" - just thought you'd want to know.

zero

man, woman, comments still the same.

no shift keys?....
ever read ee commings?

zero

or is it cummings?

chuck

It's with a "u.":>)
Well, here we go again on this issue of care for the least. I'll just do the short version, and maybe I'm preaching to the choir and we're just saying it differently. First, government is one of the powers ordained by God to order our lives together. In Col. we are told that all powers were created by Him, for Him. Second, one of the most prolific commands of Scripture is to care for the least of these. Now, it would be remarkably bizarre indeed if the very institutions God ordained to order human life were somehow exempted from what is clearly an over-riding concern in Scripture. Third, if you go to Ez. 16, you find that one of the reasons God gives explicitly for condemnation of Sodom is that they have been sated with food, but have not heard the cry of the needy. These folks were not even God's chosen people, they did not have the law, but God thought it so obvious that these concerns had to be embodied everywhere, that he judged Sodom quite harshly for not living up to it. So, the whole claim that "Jesus didn't command non-Christians to care for the poor," gets everything precisely backwards. In other words, given the evidences of Scripture, we would need Jesus explicitly saying that government/other institutions was exempted to think this were the case.
Now, if all you are saying is, as Zero notes, the church should be leading the way, I'm okay with that. But the church, at least in the US, is failing to lead in any one of a number of important ways. And, I would not say it's okay to let folks starve because the contemporary church has lost its way. So, we use the mechanisms we can and thank God that, even when his church fails, he has others willing to take up the mantle.

Brad Anderson

Chuck, I think we're largely just saying things differently. No one has argued "it's okay to let folks starve because the contemporary church has lost its way," nor resisted the notion that "we use the mechanisms we can and thank God that, even when his church fails, he has others willing to take up the mantle."

BTW, to clarify my earlier post (probably in a way with which you will still disagree), my statement that "only the church has this specific calling" referred to embodying the kingdom of God (a totalizing endeavor), not caring for the poor (a specific action for a temporal concern).

The fact that you and I agree almost entirely on how the government should or should not behave, Chuck, indicates that I am very open to government acting in ways that are reflective of its purpose, namely to be a temporal (hence, temporary) steward of God's power and authority to maintian peace and social order with a "preferential option for the poor." I criticize the government when it acts in ways that stem from its self-absolutization and its lack of acknowledgement that it is, to quote Hauerwas (citing Yoder), "God's instrument in a process which will lead to its own defeat." It is not just an issue of the "church leading the way," but rather of the church and state (and other entities) each fulfilling its own specific vocation.

Any objection that I seem to have to your arguments stems from what I perceive (perhaps incorrectly) as an occasional over-emphasis on the state as God's instrument of embodying the Kingdom on earth, over against an emphasis on the church as such. Colossians is clear that the powers exist by Christ's permission and for Christ's sake alone, but other biblical texts are also clear that the powers probably don't understand things this way and need to be challenged by the church to behave according to their mandate. While we have had plenty of discussion about the excesses of various state agents (particular politicians, organizations, etc.), there has been much less conversation on the very limited overall purpose of the state and how the modern state (and the US in particular, as the most powerful of the current age) has colossally overstepped its bounds, even while inadequately fulfilling its God-given responsibilities.

chuck

I am largely in agreement with what you said, other than a couple of quibbles (though, perhaps, important ones). I suspect my appearing to over-emphasize the role of the state is in reaction to those on the right who misread Scripture to imply that there is no such role. When I hear someone say, "Well, Jesus never said for government to be involved with relief for the poor," I just find myself wondering how they are reading Scripture.

Downunder

I think we're all arguing the same point (feed the hungry) and emphasizing different aspects.

I'm contending that the church have an obligation to serve God's poor.

Chuck's contending that if God wants His creation fed, he expects all humans (incl govts) to do it.

Brad's contending something that involves words like "totalizing", "temporal", "quibbles" and "self-absolutization". I think that he agrees with my contention...

zero's contending that just because ee cummings was a bloke who didn't use capitals (or the letter "e" in one story) we shouldn't assume she's a bloke too.

I think they're all compatible view-points. :)

zero

especially the zero viewpoint!

The comments to this entry are closed.