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Untangling Faith and Politics

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Kids: Can an Empire Pray?

07092013-tumblr_m3kcwkBGp51rudptgo1_1280The generation before me worked hard to tie faith with politics so the two landed together like a dense brick every time one or the other was mentioned. The Moral Majority was a beginning point back in 1979 and all sorts of offshoots and sister organizations continue the cause today. The sad bit, the unanticipated piece, was that the next generation saw faith and right-leaning gibberish as the same thing. Press the vending machine button for one and you always get the other—package deal. So when the next generation rebelled (as each next generation will), they had to toss out everything.

But start to untangle the two (faith and politics). As you do, you may remember that Christianity was a counter-culture set of priorities and commitments that offered critiques of whatever society/kingdom/regime it popped up in. And for a long time it was a faith that lived on the periphery, with Jesus as persona non grata. I’m beginning to think Christianity is most effective when living on the periphery and least effective when the state wields it as another tool for empire-building.

Of course, the truth is that faith and politics are intimately tied together. One’s faith absolutely informs one’s stance on any and every issue along with one’s voting record. But the question is what relation faith has to do with empire-building. Is faith a tool for building an empire? My reading of the Bible leaves me with a clear and emphatic: “No.”

I think of this as friends try to find ways to help their kids grow their interior lives and their lives of faith. It’s not an easy task in our culture for a few reasons. One reason is that the very notion of an interior life is drying up for many of us as silence recedes with each Facebook status check-in. But beyond that, asking questions that begin to separate faith from politics may be a way to help your kids find their way through their particular rebellion with faith thriving rather than dying.


Image credit: nancyishappy via 2headedsnake

Written by kirkistan

July 9, 2013 at 9:17 am

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