Author Topic: The Church's Response to Government and Governing  (Read 12942 times)

Randy Bosch

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Re: The Church's Response to Government and Governing
« Reply #165 on: January 19, 2021, 09:53:36 AM »
On a serious note, the linked Christianity Today article shares worthy thoughts and actions for Christians' responses to not just government and governing but to bringing peace, justice, and reconciliation to the people through Christian actions with each other - see how they love one another:
https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2021/january-web-only/only-biblical-peacemaking-resolves-racial-and-political-inj.html

Norman Teigen

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Re: The Church's Response to Government and Governing
« Reply #166 on: January 19, 2021, 10:52:17 AM »
Another important read on the way to healing would be to study Abraham Lincoln's "Address to  The Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois" found in the Library of America Vol. I. Lincoln's Speeches and Writings.

"At what point shall we expect the approach of danger?   By what means shall we fortify against it?  Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never!  All the names of Europe, Asia combined with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected?  I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us.  It cannot come from abroad.  If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher.  As a nation of free men, we must live through all time, or die by suicide."

The wisdom of Lincoln's remarks is valid today.  A cartoon in The Washington Post shows  US troops stationed inside the Capitol.  One soldier is on the phone and says:  "Well, Mom, here I am defending the nation against all enemies, foreign and domestic."
« Last Edit: January 19, 2021, 10:55:45 AM by Norman Teigen »
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Re: The Church's Response to Government and Governing
« Reply #167 on: January 19, 2021, 11:00:58 AM »
Another important read on the way to healing would be to study Abraham Lincoln's "Address to the The Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois" found in the Library of America Vol. I. Lincoln's Speeches and Writings.

"At what point shall we expect the approach of danger?   By what means shall we fortify against it?  Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never!  All the names of Europe, Asia combined with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected?  I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us.  It cannot come from abroad.  If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher.  As a nation of free men, we must live through all time, or die by suicide."

The wisdom o Lincoln's remarks are valid today.  A cartoon in The Washington Post shows  US troops stationed inside the Capitol.  One soldier is on the phone and says:  "Well, Mom, here I am defending the nation against all enemies, foreign and domestic."
Of course, our nation exists on the twin assumptions that the government itself can become the threat to the populace rather than vice-versa, and that there can come a time in the course of human events...etc. We may be invincible to foreigners, but we are not exempt from the temptations common to man, especially not in seat of power. The people who rallied to Trump were not the elite, established insiders, but they were a large swath of the populace. I would not have condoned breaching the Capitol even for symbolic reasons, but I would advice treading lightly with the assumptions about who was justified in doing what at a time of great cultural division.   

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Re: The Church's Response to Government and Governing
« Reply #168 on: January 19, 2021, 11:27:14 AM »
I think a lot of it has to do with an erosion of trust in our institutions.  Add to this the massive amount of information we have access to and it can be really hard to filter, especially in an age in which sensational headlines and stories abound.  I don't think we realize how much propaganda we are fed on a daily basis and that a good portion of it tends to come from once reputable sources like the NY Times who were supposed to serve as a bulwark against corruption and deceit.  That's mostly gone; the beginning of the end of which was marked by their support for the Iraq War.  Former NY Times Journalist Chris Hedges has much to say on that specific topic.  Many solid journalists are jumping ship and going independent because they are constrained from doing real journalistic work.  We saw this recently with Glenn Greenwald (a conservative by no stretch of the imagination) leaving the Intercept because they refused to publish his work on Biden's corruption. The editors did so because they feared it would negatively impact the election of Joe Biden. 

Peace,
Scott+

I agree. Lack of trust in media outlets plays a significant role, indeed. My own reminder of that recently was when the headlines started rolling in about the Trump rally in DC becoming an invasion of the Capitol building. Where was I supposed to go to get an un-slanted view of the plain facts on the ground? CNN? New York Times? Fox News? Where?

In fairness to the media, though, with the advent of social media, nothing has time to be vetted and double-checked. Again, my own window on this reality: I was in the firehouse just outside Sandy Hook School with family members awaiting news of their children on 12/14. When I exited briefly to receive a phone call was when I realized the firehouse was surrounded (just beyond the cordon) by hordes of newsmedia. I could have been on any news channel or spoken with any major news source I chose to make a comment to... and I could have said absolutely anything I wanted to say... and it would have gone out as "Sources on-site say..." And it would have gone out to the world whether I was telling the truth or not. By the time there was any chance to double-check it, other new stories would have been written quoting other sources. I get the feeling that a retraction used to be a real thing and the threat of one threatened a reporter's livelihood. No longer... not if my experiences (this and many others in the wake of 12/14) are indicative.

In some ways, though, the media reality is only part of what feeds the conspiracy theory beast. I think an even bigger factor is powerlessness. When we feel powerless to affect something then we look for more manageable explanations. Especially if that something is something that we believe threatens us or which in itself frightens or shocks us. So, sticking with 12/14, I would rather not live in a world where a crazed young man killed 20 children and 6 educators for no discernable reason. I would rather live in a world where that was all pretend, just a trick by the government to take away my freedom. And then those aren't parents grieving the brutal loss of a child, they would just be actors pretending. And now I wouldn't be powerless in the face of such evil, but I would actually have the power... because they didn't fool me, they didn't pull the wool over my eyes. I know the truth and I'm nobody's fool.

It's seductive. And it is devastating. As I have pointed out: I have extended family members that aren't sure 12/14 really happened... and I did two of the funerals myself.

In the end, it is the draw of personal power in the face of powerlessness. It is the need to be god, all-knowing and powerful. And that's why I call it idolatry.

Given what I have seen of conspiracy theories' appeal, and given what I have seen of pentecostalism's belief in direct revelation, it doesn't surprise me that things like QAnon and movements like the New Apostolic Reformation are becoming powerful traveling companions within Christianity.

The question shifts to how faithful Christians can or should counteract it...

The powerlessness combined with an overabundance of information is a recipe for disaster.  I agree with you that it begins with a sense of powerlessness.  The John Birch Society has always been a thing, but Alex Jonesí reach and influence is on a level that I donít think they could have ever imagined was possible.  And thatís the strange mix that those in Washington and in the media fail to see, which is in part why President-elect Biden is their answer.   I fear that we will get more of the same, which will not bridge the divide but instead widen it. Current efforts at censorship will only make this worse for all of us as it serves to validate the conspiracy theory mindset. 

Regarding counteracting, I shared this previously on the thread, which is what might be called a neo-apocalyptic framework.  That is an understanding that is derived from and begins from the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  I think as Lutherans our weak spot (which is also our strength) is our overemphasis on soteriology which leaves us vulnerable to having a truncated view of discipleship.  This prompts me to be a little wary of our application of the Two Kingdoms paradigm highlighted in this thread (sorry Dave).  I think itís too simplified and stratified for an increasingly complex world and gives legitimization to things that we need to give more thought to.  A powerful image is the chapel at West Point that Dave Benke referenced earlier on this thread which speaks to the clear demarcation between church and state that doesnít really exist anymore (which Tom Pearson noted above).  If you form a strong Lordship understanding you are in a better position to discern the powers and the principalities which come in the form of tempting ideologies like Trumpism or identitarianism or nationalistic militarism.  Thus, ďmy kingdom is not from this worldĒ reminds us that our kingdom is not a product of this world like those others and that the words and actions of our Lord can help us discern that.  We wonít become as invested in political ideologies, though we can bear witness to constructive ways for governing and living.  To use Alex Jones as example he claims to be a Christian, but, man, he loves to talk about his 2nd amendment rights and other crazy things that bespeaks anxiousness, a spirit of this age.   But one needs the scaffolding to see through that and I fear that many American Christians donít have that and in a weird way the Two Kingdoms can undergird a false understanding rather than amend it.  I recognize that I may read like an Anabaptist here, but thatís not what I am going for, rather I am saying that we first need to pay close attention to the words and actions of Jesus as we discern the powers and principalities, as we seek to live as good citizens in the left hand realm.  Iím saying we need to do a better job of remembering that Romans 13:1-7 is surrounded by calls to non-conformity, to put on Christ, to love and bless oneís enemies. 

I hope that makes sense.
 
Peace,
Scott

Norman Teigen

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Re: The Church's Response to Government and Governing
« Reply #169 on: January 19, 2021, 11:37:50 AM »
Read on, Pastor Speckhard, read all of Lincoln on this subject.  In his summation, Abraham Lincoln said:  "Passion has helped us; but can do no more.  It will in future be our enemy.  Reason, cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason, must furnish all  the materials for our future support and defence.  Let those materials be moulded into general intelligence, sound morality and in particular a reverence for the constitution and laws..."   The problem is that the mob which entered the Capitol wanted to overthrow the due process of the laws of the land.  The mob action was based on a lie, that the election of Joe Biden was invalid.  I think that the repudiation of the lie would be a necessary first step which would then lead on to unity.
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Re: The Church's Response to Government and Governing
« Reply #170 on: January 19, 2021, 11:50:11 AM »
Iíll dare to disagree with Lincoln a little bit, Mr. Teigen, and suggest that our ďreasonď ought to have some ďpassionď attached to it.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Back home from Sioux City after three days and a pleasant reunion of the East High School class of - can you believe it! - 1959.

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Re: The Church's Response to Government and Governing
« Reply #171 on: January 19, 2021, 12:11:26 PM »
Mark (retired pastor, golfs the pastures) Renner

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Re: The Church's Response to Government and Governing
« Reply #172 on: January 19, 2021, 12:18:00 PM »
Read on, Pastor Speckhard, read all of Lincoln on this subject.  In his summation, Abraham Lincoln said:  "Passion has helped us; but can do no more.  It will in future be our enemy.  Reason, cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason, must furnish all  the materials for our future support and defence.  Let those materials be moulded into general intelligence, sound morality and in particular a reverence for the constitution and laws..."   The problem is that the mob which entered the Capitol wanted to overthrow the due process of the laws of the land.  The mob action was based on a lie, that the election of Joe Biden was invalid.  I think that the repudiation of the lie would be a necessary first step which would then lead on to unity.
Yes, I've read Lincoln. And I agree with him on this for the most part. I wish you did, too, and not just when people you hate are misbehaving.

It should be noted that Lincoln flagrantly disregarded the constitution and his government refused to seat electors he didn't think had been validly elected, so there is a lot more to the story than just everyone agreeing with his words.   

   

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Re: The Church's Response to Government and Governing
« Reply #173 on: January 19, 2021, 12:18:49 PM »
I think a lot of it has to do with an erosion of trust in our institutions.  Add to this the massive amount of information we have access to and it can be really hard to filter, especially in an age in which sensational headlines and stories abound.  I don't think we realize how much propaganda we are fed on a daily basis and that a good portion of it tends to come from once reputable sources like the NY Times who were supposed to serve as a bulwark against corruption and deceit.  That's mostly gone; the beginning of the end of which was marked by their support for the Iraq War.  Former NY Times Journalist Chris Hedges has much to say on that specific topic.  Many solid journalists are jumping ship and going independent because they are constrained from doing real journalistic work.  We saw this recently with Glenn Greenwald (a conservative by no stretch of the imagination) leaving the Intercept because they refused to publish his work on Biden's corruption. The editors did so because they feared it would negatively impact the election of Joe Biden. 

Peace,
Scott+

I agree. Lack of trust in media outlets plays a significant role, indeed. My own reminder of that recently was when the headlines started rolling in about the Trump rally in DC becoming an invasion of the Capitol building. Where was I supposed to go to get an un-slanted view of the plain facts on the ground? CNN? New York Times? Fox News? Where?

In fairness to the media, though, with the advent of social media, nothing has time to be vetted and double-checked. Again, my own window on this reality: I was in the firehouse just outside Sandy Hook School with family members awaiting news of their children on 12/14. When I exited briefly to receive a phone call was when I realized the firehouse was surrounded (just beyond the cordon) by hordes of newsmedia. I could have been on any news channel or spoken with any major news source I chose to make a comment to... and I could have said absolutely anything I wanted to say... and it would have gone out as "Sources on-site say..." And it would have gone out to the world whether I was telling the truth or not. By the time there was any chance to double-check it, other new stories would have been written quoting other sources. I get the feeling that a retraction used to be a real thing and the threat of one threatened a reporter's livelihood. No longer... not if my experiences (this and many others in the wake of 12/14) are indicative.

In some ways, though, the media reality is only part of what feeds the conspiracy theory beast. I think an even bigger factor is powerlessness. When we feel powerless to affect something then we look for more manageable explanations. Especially if that something is something that we believe threatens us or which in itself frightens or shocks us. So, sticking with 12/14, I would rather not live in a world where a crazed young man killed 20 children and 6 educators for no discernable reason. I would rather live in a world where that was all pretend, just a trick by the government to take away my freedom. And then those aren't parents grieving the brutal loss of a child, they would just be actors pretending. And now I wouldn't be powerless in the face of such evil, but I would actually have the power... because they didn't fool me, they didn't pull the wool over my eyes. I know the truth and I'm nobody's fool.

It's seductive. And it is devastating. As I have pointed out: I have extended family members that aren't sure 12/14 really happened... and I did two of the funerals myself.

In the end, it is the draw of personal power in the face of powerlessness. It is the need to be god, all-knowing and powerful. And that's why I call it idolatry.

Given what I have seen of conspiracy theories' appeal, and given what I have seen of pentecostalism's belief in direct revelation, it doesn't surprise me that things like QAnon and movements like the New Apostolic Reformation are becoming powerful traveling companions within Christianity.

The question shifts to how faithful Christians can or should counteract it...

The powerlessness combined with an overabundance of information is a recipe for disaster.  I agree with you that it begins with a sense of powerlessness.  The John Birch Society has always been a thing, but Alex Jonesí reach and influence is on a level that I donít think they could have ever imagined was possible.  And thatís the strange mix that those in Washington and in the media fail to see, which is in part why President-elect Biden is their answer.   I fear that we will get more of the same, which will not bridge the divide but instead widen it. Current efforts at censorship will only make this worse for all of us as it serves to validate the conspiracy theory mindset. 

Regarding counteracting, I shared this previously on the thread, which is what might be called a neo-apocalyptic framework.  That is an understanding that is derived from and begins from the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  I think as Lutherans our weak spot (which is also our strength) is our overemphasis on soteriology which leaves us vulnerable to having a truncated view of discipleship.  This prompts me to be a little wary of our application of the Two Kingdoms paradigm highlighted in this thread (sorry Dave).  I think itís too simplified and stratified for an increasingly complex world and gives legitimization to things that we need to give more thought to.  A powerful image is the chapel at West Point that Dave Benke referenced earlier on this thread which speaks to the clear demarcation between church and state that doesnít really exist anymore (which Tom Pearson noted above).  If you form a strong Lordship understanding you are in a better position to discern the powers and the principalities which come in the form of tempting ideologies like Trumpism or identitarianism or nationalistic militarism.  Thus, ďmy kingdom is not from this worldĒ reminds us that our kingdom is not a product of this world like those others and that the words and actions of our Lord can help us discern that.  We wonít become as invested in political ideologies, though we can bear witness to constructive ways for governing and living.  To use Alex Jones as example he claims to be a Christian, but, man, he loves to talk about his 2nd amendment rights and other crazy things that bespeaks anxiousness, a spirit of this age.   But one needs the scaffolding to see through that and I fear that many American Christians donít have that and in a weird way the Two Kingdoms can undergird a false understanding rather than amend it.  I recognize that I may read like an Anabaptist here, but thatís not what I am going for, rather I am saying that we first need to pay close attention to the words and actions of Jesus as we discern the powers and principalities, as we seek to live as good citizens in the left hand realm.  Iím saying we need to do a better job of remembering that Romans 13:1-7 is surrounded by calls to non-conformity, to put on Christ, to love and bless oneís enemies. 

I hope that makes sense.
 
Peace,
Scott

I agree with you in large part, Scott.  Richard Niebuhr's point (I''m sure I've made it on this board before) in Christ and Culture is that Lutherans were ripe soil for Nazi-ism because of their tendency to get caught on the point of their various paradoxes, and thus become passive in the civil realm.  He saw it, knew what it would produce, and hit the nail on the head for the Lutherans of that time in that space, sort of.  Because some of the nastiest Nazis were Lutheran.  They weren't passive then.  They got off the parodox by jumping into authoritarianism.  Meaning the power and the tug of the prevailing culture over-topped the need to stay out of the public sphere. 

Having said that, Lutherans focused on the theology of the cross must maintain the priority of the Incarnate Word, nail-pierced hands through suffering and death, rather than the "in hoc signo vinces" sovereignty schemes that promise Empire in the here and now.  The way beyond that conundrum - in my opinion - is First Article creedal Christianity, which centers on reason, righteousness and justice in the civil world not as an ultimate but as a necessary penultimate, building through storm and duress a society that utilizes the gifts given individually and in common to humans who are all in that sense children of God.  All of that in order that the world might see that it is God who preserves us body, mind and spirit in society and protects us from evil: 

What does this mean? I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them. He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals, and all I have. He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life. He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil. All this He does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me. For all this it is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him. This is most certainly true.


Evangelical and Catholic does not mean Second Article Only.  It is a fully creedal way of theology and practice.

Dave Benke

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Re: The Church's Response to Government and Governing
« Reply #175 on: January 19, 2021, 12:27:19 PM »
Dave,

Interesting. I did a quick google and saw this:

https://www.nytimes.com/1933/04/06/archives/nazis-to-control-lutheran-church-its-constitution-will-be-rewritten.html

Never knew that "woke" had such a rich history.   ;)
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Jeremy Loesch

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Re: The Church's Response to Government and Governing
« Reply #176 on: January 19, 2021, 12:38:11 PM »
https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2021/01/inaugural-reflections-on-american-renewal# 

George Weigel's take is a good one, as usual.

Great insights.

Dave Benke

Weigel's affirmations were good to read.  I love inauguration day because it provides me a chance to look in the mirror at myself and our country.  I hope tomorrow is another opportunity to do that.

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Dave Benke

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Re: The Church's Response to Government and Governing
« Reply #177 on: January 19, 2021, 01:50:54 PM »
Dave,

Interesting. I did a quick google and saw this:

https://www.nytimes.com/1933/04/06/archives/nazis-to-control-lutheran-church-its-constitution-will-be-rewritten.html

Never knew that "woke" had such a rich history.   ;)

That is quite an amazing headline. 

My cardiologist is German (Bavarian), and his dad lived through the WWII era.   He recounted his dad stating that Saxony produced the worst of the Nazis and the worst the Communists - steer clear of Saxony at all costs.  Excluding, of course, Lutherstadt/Wittenberg (!).

Dave Benke

RevG

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Re: The Church's Response to Government and Governing
« Reply #178 on: January 19, 2021, 02:23:37 PM »
I think a lot of it has to do with an erosion of trust in our institutions.  Add to this the massive amount of information we have access to and it can be really hard to filter, especially in an age in which sensational headlines and stories abound.  I don't think we realize how much propaganda we are fed on a daily basis and that a good portion of it tends to come from once reputable sources like the NY Times who were supposed to serve as a bulwark against corruption and deceit.  That's mostly gone; the beginning of the end of which was marked by their support for the Iraq War.  Former NY Times Journalist Chris Hedges has much to say on that specific topic.  Many solid journalists are jumping ship and going independent because they are constrained from doing real journalistic work.  We saw this recently with Glenn Greenwald (a conservative by no stretch of the imagination) leaving the Intercept because they refused to publish his work on Biden's corruption. The editors did so because they feared it would negatively impact the election of Joe Biden. 

Peace,
Scott+

I agree. Lack of trust in media outlets plays a significant role, indeed. My own reminder of that recently was when the headlines started rolling in about the Trump rally in DC becoming an invasion of the Capitol building. Where was I supposed to go to get an un-slanted view of the plain facts on the ground? CNN? New York Times? Fox News? Where?

In fairness to the media, though, with the advent of social media, nothing has time to be vetted and double-checked. Again, my own window on this reality: I was in the firehouse just outside Sandy Hook School with family members awaiting news of their children on 12/14. When I exited briefly to receive a phone call was when I realized the firehouse was surrounded (just beyond the cordon) by hordes of newsmedia. I could have been on any news channel or spoken with any major news source I chose to make a comment to... and I could have said absolutely anything I wanted to say... and it would have gone out as "Sources on-site say..." And it would have gone out to the world whether I was telling the truth or not. By the time there was any chance to double-check it, other new stories would have been written quoting other sources. I get the feeling that a retraction used to be a real thing and the threat of one threatened a reporter's livelihood. No longer... not if my experiences (this and many others in the wake of 12/14) are indicative.

In some ways, though, the media reality is only part of what feeds the conspiracy theory beast. I think an even bigger factor is powerlessness. When we feel powerless to affect something then we look for more manageable explanations. Especially if that something is something that we believe threatens us or which in itself frightens or shocks us. So, sticking with 12/14, I would rather not live in a world where a crazed young man killed 20 children and 6 educators for no discernable reason. I would rather live in a world where that was all pretend, just a trick by the government to take away my freedom. And then those aren't parents grieving the brutal loss of a child, they would just be actors pretending. And now I wouldn't be powerless in the face of such evil, but I would actually have the power... because they didn't fool me, they didn't pull the wool over my eyes. I know the truth and I'm nobody's fool.

It's seductive. And it is devastating. As I have pointed out: I have extended family members that aren't sure 12/14 really happened... and I did two of the funerals myself.

In the end, it is the draw of personal power in the face of powerlessness. It is the need to be god, all-knowing and powerful. And that's why I call it idolatry.

Given what I have seen of conspiracy theories' appeal, and given what I have seen of pentecostalism's belief in direct revelation, it doesn't surprise me that things like QAnon and movements like the New Apostolic Reformation are becoming powerful traveling companions within Christianity.

The question shifts to how faithful Christians can or should counteract it...

The powerlessness combined with an overabundance of information is a recipe for disaster.  I agree with you that it begins with a sense of powerlessness.  The John Birch Society has always been a thing, but Alex Jonesí reach and influence is on a level that I donít think they could have ever imagined was possible.  And thatís the strange mix that those in Washington and in the media fail to see, which is in part why President-elect Biden is their answer.   I fear that we will get more of the same, which will not bridge the divide but instead widen it. Current efforts at censorship will only make this worse for all of us as it serves to validate the conspiracy theory mindset. 

Regarding counteracting, I shared this previously on the thread, which is what might be called a neo-apocalyptic framework.  That is an understanding that is derived from and begins from the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  I think as Lutherans our weak spot (which is also our strength) is our overemphasis on soteriology which leaves us vulnerable to having a truncated view of discipleship.  This prompts me to be a little wary of our application of the Two Kingdoms paradigm highlighted in this thread (sorry Dave).  I think itís too simplified and stratified for an increasingly complex world and gives legitimization to things that we need to give more thought to.  A powerful image is the chapel at West Point that Dave Benke referenced earlier on this thread which speaks to the clear demarcation between church and state that doesnít really exist anymore (which Tom Pearson noted above).  If you form a strong Lordship understanding you are in a better position to discern the powers and the principalities which come in the form of tempting ideologies like Trumpism or identitarianism or nationalistic militarism.  Thus, ďmy kingdom is not from this worldĒ reminds us that our kingdom is not a product of this world like those others and that the words and actions of our Lord can help us discern that.  We wonít become as invested in political ideologies, though we can bear witness to constructive ways for governing and living.  To use Alex Jones as example he claims to be a Christian, but, man, he loves to talk about his 2nd amendment rights and other crazy things that bespeaks anxiousness, a spirit of this age.   But one needs the scaffolding to see through that and I fear that many American Christians donít have that and in a weird way the Two Kingdoms can undergird a false understanding rather than amend it.  I recognize that I may read like an Anabaptist here, but thatís not what I am going for, rather I am saying that we first need to pay close attention to the words and actions of Jesus as we discern the powers and principalities, as we seek to live as good citizens in the left hand realm.  Iím saying we need to do a better job of remembering that Romans 13:1-7 is surrounded by calls to non-conformity, to put on Christ, to love and bless oneís enemies. 

I hope that makes sense.
 
Peace,
Scott

I agree with you in large part, Scott.  Richard Niebuhr's point (I''m sure I've made it on this board before) in Christ and Culture is that Lutherans were ripe soil for Nazi-ism because of their tendency to get caught on the point of their various paradoxes, and thus become passive in the civil realm.  He saw it, knew what it would produce, and hit the nail on the head for the Lutherans of that time in that space, sort of.  Because some of the nastiest Nazis were Lutheran.  They weren't passive then.  They got off the parodox by jumping into authoritarianism.  Meaning the power and the tug of the prevailing culture over-topped the need to stay out of the public sphere. 

Having said that, Lutherans focused on the theology of the cross must maintain the priority of the Incarnate Word, nail-pierced hands through suffering and death, rather than the "in hoc signo vinces" sovereignty schemes that promise Empire in the here and now.  The way beyond that conundrum - in my opinion - is First Article creedal Christianity, which centers on reason, righteousness and justice in the civil world not as an ultimate but as a necessary penultimate, building through storm and duress a society that utilizes the gifts given individually and in common to humans who are all in that sense children of God.  All of that in order that the world might see that it is God who preserves us body, mind and spirit in society and protects us from evil: 

What does this mean? I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them. He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals, and all I have. He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life. He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil. All this He does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me. For all this it is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him. This is most certainly true.


Evangelical and Catholic does not mean Second Article Only.  It is a fully creedal way of theology and practice.

Dave Benke

Thanks for this, just thinking out loud, would you read the current conundrum found on the religious right as, in a sense, making the first article coterminous with the second? I recognize that might be strange phrasing, not sure how to articulate what Iím getting at. The reality is that without the second article there is not Christianity, yet it seems there is a sort of wedding of the articles that makes for a strange manifestation in the public square.  Penultimates become ultimates and vice versa.

You know, as an aside, I really donít understand why we donít hear more on Niebhurís work.  He seems to have been forgotten in our circles.  Christ and Culture really is a gem especially considering its post WW2 context.  Reading it Niebuhr struck me as a deeply faithful man trying to make sense of it all and plow a road forward for us.  It escapes me now, but I remember thinking that the last chapter is very important for us today. I need to go look that up. So thanks for that reminder.  You may have given me another citation and footnote.

Peace,
Scott+

Charles Austin

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Re: The Church's Response to Government and Governing
« Reply #179 on: January 19, 2021, 02:49:16 PM »
Peter writes:
I would not have condoned breaching the Capitol even for symbolic reasons, but I would advice treading lightly with the assumptions about who was justified in doing what at a time of great cultural division.
I comment:
You would not have condoned breaching the Capitol, Peter, but I sense you believe that others might validly condone doing that.
As for ďassumptions about who was justifiedď, hereís my assumption. Nothing in todayís situation justified the attack on our capital. Nothing. Nothing at all.I assume that those who attacked our Capitol  were intent on stopping the Congress from doing its job of certifying the election. That makes them and anyone who supports them or goes easy on them insurrectionists, possibly guilty of sedition, and serious threats to our democracy.
Does anyone here assume these people were acting in good faith, that they had a good cause? And does anyone here believe that something other than the words of the president inspired them to do this?
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Back home from Sioux City after three days and a pleasant reunion of the East High School class of - can you believe it! - 1959.