Watch Aaron in the film Holy Wars

Monday, September 10, 2007

A new self righteousness

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you've probably figured out that I've been going through a moral/spiritual/theological overhaul within the past two years that has turned my world upside down and caused me to question nearly all of my philosophical presuppositions. One of the truths I've discovered is that Christians must not align themselves to closely with a political agenda. For many that may be an absolute duh.... statement, but for others, the idea that Jesus is neither an American nor a Republican is absolutely earth shaking.

Now that I know that Christianity (especially charismatic Christianity) can not be equated with conservative politics, I have to admit that my mind is a lot freer to think beyond the traditional Christian right moral issues of abortion and gay marriage as the sole issues of concern. As I read the Biblical prophets, I now see that the issue of poverty and the economic structures that create them are exponentially high on the list of, should I say, God's social agenda. When I read Jesus (and His brother James who mimicked Jesus' social concern) I am haunted by the idea that, in the end, Jesus is going to be throwing people into hell because of what they did not do to "the least of these my brethren." Bottom line: whether you are a conservative or a liberal, what you do for or against the poor really matters to God. This is a truth that I have discovered and it's a truth I believe needs to be addressed in a major way, especially in Bible-Believing theologically coservative churches.

But there's a problem. The problem is that, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13(and I'm paraphrasing here) "I can sell all my possessions and give my body to be burned alive, but if I don 't have love, it's all worthless." A social gospel can very easily turn into a "I'm good enough to get into heaven on my own gospel" and that is where the cross screams the loudest "No you can't!" I realize that I can dish out food at a homeless shelter and advocate for global poverty (things that I currently do)-and still have a dirty heart at the end of the day. How easy it is to trade one form of self-righteousness for another.

I think we all need to be reminded from time to time just how much we fall short of God's righteouss standards no matter how hard we try. I think the Apostle Paul had it right when he said, "I'm the chief of sinners." Notice he didn't say I was the chief of sinners. He said I am the chief of sinners. If we as Christians are going to be speaking out on moral issues, we need to do so as self-professed moral failures. Any other attitude misses God's kingdom from the distance of the head to the heart-no matter what side of the political aisle we find ourselves on.

3 comments:

Pete said...

Aaron,
I love how you wrapped it up at the end. I find myself humbled and in tears every time I prepare a lesson, because I'm the one who needs it the worst and I am so unworthy to teach on the Word. It's only grace that allows anyone to be called "Christian".
My thoughts on the other points are if you love first, the actions that you described should come as fruit of that love. Some assume that they need to help people and be a "good" person and go home and make themselves right with God through a loving relationship with Him, but is actually by having a loving relationship with God that all of those other things become an act of loving God himself and not just simply trying to make one's self feel so self righteous. So LOVE is the real important thing, but many "christians" don't really know what it is to LOVE God and so they are trying to act it out and completely missing the whole point.
Nothing new there, that's just what I was thinking while I read.
Peace out,
Pete

toby said...

great points, aaron. really like your wording on "self-professed moral failures."

Joseph Craig said...

Well said amigo and good points added . I am not perfect by any means but i do keep a qoute on my wall from Mother Teresa that says "I see Jesus in every human being. I say to myself, this is hungry Jesus, I must feed him. This is sick Jesus. This one has leprosy or gangrene...I serve because I love Jesus." Man if i could only keep that perspective when walking down the street or doing what ever just imagine the lives that could be changed! Also i would like to agree with Pete about how important love is and also add that love is not a descriptive term but an action word. If one does not have love for his brother he is not very nice and may be in more trouble than we think in the end Christian or not.(craig version)