An excerpt from a book - not meant to offend, just to provoke your thoughts, which I would love to hear.

Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw, Jesus for President, pp 280-283 [bold is my emphasis, everything else as is]

Immediately following the Al Qaeda attacks of September 11th, President George Bush proclaimed, "Our responsibility to history is already clear: to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil."


Ridding the world of evil by violent means only creates and sustains evil. This is the point of Jesus' politics. The parable of the weeds and the wheat [Matthew 13:24-29] is among the clearest illustrations we have of how Jesus deals with the evil of the world.

Cutting against our scientific modes of thought, hope in God is an essential part of Jesus' politics on ridding the world of evil. As the parable of the weeds and wheat illustrates, Jesus understood the destruction of evil to be not in human hands but in God's hands. Though such an understanding could be abused in a number of ways, we can't get around the fact that Jesus' nonviolent dealing with evil is founded on an eschatological hope. Jesus had faith in how God ultimately deals with the world.

**Footnote: The popular definition of eschatology must be broadened to include this present life, not simply the end of the world. John Yoder writes that eschatology is a "doctrine of what is ultimate" (Yoder, The Original Revolution, 52), and, "The eschaton, the 'Last Thing,' the End-Event, imparts to life a meaningfulness which it would not otherwise have. ... This is what we mean by eschatology: a hope which, defying present frustration, defines a present position in terms of the yet unseen goal which gives it meaning" (53). Yoder goes on to distinguish eschatology from the fashionable moneymaking work of "apocaliptics," which speculates on dates and the shape of things to come: "[E]ven when an apocalyptic type of literature occurs [in the Bible], preoccupation is not with the prediction for the sake of prediction, but rather with the meaning which the future has for the present" (54).

The New Testament view of God's ultimate dealing with the world is Jesus' second coming. Jesus has been known as the "one who is coming into the world." Christians claim he embodies hope for the wonderful world to come. He represents the coming justice for the world. Christians claim that all of the hopes for saving (or "healing") the world are satisfied through the coming of the expected one. Jesus came, he healed, he lived the kingdom, and he was killed. And yet, even when the one who is awaited finally comes, hope and expectation are not quelled. Expectation is again raised: Christ will come again. To have this hope is to politically apply the parable of the weeds: don't pull out the weeds but wait until the harvest.

The practical point of the second coming is not to look up at the sky in expectation (1 Thessalonians is written largely against this misguided hope) but to live in a certain way. The second coming imparts political and practical meaning and shapes the way we view the world.

Hope for the second coming is not just about hope in Jesus; it is about having a hope like Jesus'. His hope in God is on display in his parable of the weeks: trusting that God will sort out the evildoers. Living in hope of God's coming to us purifies us, for we live not impulsively or rashly but with the sense that matters are ultimately in God's hands. "Leaving things in God's hands" is an often abused and quaint phrase that many seem to think means "don't bother with doing anything, because Jesus will come someday and undo all your work anyway." Or even worse, some might say, "Let things get worse in the world, then Jesus will come back even sooner."

"Leaving things in God's hands" should rather be used to mean "do what Jesus did." Follow Jesus' example without regard for whether you are effectively "changing the world." Jesus demonstrated what it means to leave things in God's hangs. So if we want to know what it means for us to trust in Jesus. we should ask what it meant for Jesus to trust in God.

"For it is commentdable if you bear up under the pain of unjust suffering because you are conscious of God ... When they hurled their insults at im, he did not retaliate, when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead he entrusted himself to him who judges justly." -1 Peter 2:19, 23

No comments: