Saturday, March 14, 2009

Getting Down to Business!

*Photo Credit - The Blackbird on Flickr

Okay, tomorrow we're going to be spending our time digging into more of the details that have been raised in Claiborne & Haw's, Jesus for President. Economics, politics, patriotism, creative non-violence, cultural interaction... you know, the usual stuff you talk about within spiritual community;-)

Our reading of the book currently has us through page 102. Here are some questions to get our thoughts going...

- What are some examples of political imagination in our current context and culture?
"God put in place other beautiful initiatives to awaken the Israelites' political imagination and ensure that they didn't default to old ways of living" (56).

- How do we/should we view the "Sabbath laws" today?
"The Sabbath laws were put in place not just so people could go to worship services on Sunday (or Saturday) mornings but to make sure that the Hebrew people didn't revert to the exploitative economy of the empire from which they were saved" (57).

- Should we/can we entertain the idea of Jubilee economics [debt cancellation] in our present culture? If so, how?
"Just like the Hebrew people were supposed to refrain from working every seventh day so that their land, animals, & servants could rest (a marked contrast to their overworked life in Egypt), every seventh year, the Hebrew people had a celebration called the Jubilee..., during which they would take the whole year off from work. During this one-year break, all the food that continued to grow in their fields was free for the taking for families who were struggling to get by (Exod. 23:10). And any debt that folks had incurred during the past six years was erased" (59).

- How does (can?) national patriotism coexist with our pursuit of Jesus' way?
"Jesus was urging his followers to be the unique, peculiar, and set-apart people that began with Abraham. He didn't pray for the world in order to make governments more religious; he called Israel to be the light of the world - to abandon the way of the world and cultivate an alternative society in the shell of the old, not merely to be a better version of the kingdom of this world" (71).

- What can the "Third Way" (creative non-violence) look like for us today?
"Jesus' listeners would have understood the Romans to be the weeds sown among the wheat. How to rid the world of their evil? But Jesus redirected this and insisted that #1 You cannot easily distinguish the weeds from the wheat. (It's not so easy to say, 'We are all good and they are all evil.' Sometimes only God can distinguish.) #2 Destroying evil might destroy good" (97).

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