Thursday, May 29, 2008

Politics of Love

I have to confess I'm a little ticked off today.
I heard something disturbing on Radio Rhema, something that echoes of the "politics of hate" that is presently lurking in our communities/nations. A community in Australia (though it could be anywhere) has lobbied its Local Council to stop the development of a Mosque and Islamic School. The thing that disturbs me is the short sound-byte Radio Rhema chose to play. Someone who claimed to be a 'Christian' said that 'there is no place for Muslims in Australia, that our nation' has emerged 'from Christian Anglo Saxon values.' (A large chunk of history has been conveniently forgotten, hasn't it?). I'm sick and tired of how Christianity is continually equated with fears of difference and practices of exclusion. Is that what the Christian faith means to you: "God loves me, people like me, and to hell with everyone else." Is that how you imagine Jesus? Is that the Jesus we present to our neighbours? Can't we coexist/dialogue/interact/live with others without making "them" into "targets" of our evangelical campaigns or "threats" of our faith-less and imperialistic insecurities? Seriously. The failure to grapple with difference, identity, our failure in embracing otherness is literally killing people today in Afghanistan, Congo, Kathmandu, Iraq, Myanmar, Laos, Israel, Palestine, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, South Africa, its literally tearing our planet into pieces. Look at these comments from the Croatian theologian Miroslav Volf and then from the Asian theology of C.S. Song:

"Various kinds of cultural 'cleansings' demand of us to place identity and otherness at the center of theological reflection on social realities... It may not be too much to claim that the future of our world will depend on how we deal with identity and difference. The issue is urgent. The ghettos and battlefields throughout the world - in the living rooms, in inner cities, or on the mountain ranges - testify indisputably to its importance."
Miroslav Volf, 1996, Exclusion and Embrace.

"One of the most important things Jesus did, it seems to me, was to free His disciples from fear of their context and to make them realize its revelatory significance. He helps them see the world as God sees it and not through the taboos their religion has imposed on them... This is what Jesus tries to help His disciples do: keep their eyes and ears open. For in even the most mundane things there are extramundane messages..."
C.S. Song, 1984, Tell Us our Names: Story Theology From An Asian Perspective.

Sorry if this is a little "down", but honestly, shouldn't a faith that claims loudly "God is love" actually show a little of His love?

1 comment:

  1. Hey Malcolm. Very scary stuff. But just for your encouragement, I heard on Sunday from well-known Jesus follower Steve Chalke that not only does his organisation, Faithworks, have real close relationships with the Muslim leaders in the UK but that Faithworks have actually given the blueprints for their own schools that they have been implementing for a year or so, to the Muslim community so that they can also build an effective faith school. I thought it was a pretty encouraging example of Christianity and Islam sharing the vision for an alternative to "the Empire"s ways.
    Keep radical.