Not sure this is the proper place for this topic, but here goes…
I’ve confessed elsewhere that I find it both interesting and possibly affirming that I’m headed the right direction when I discover that my liberal friends find me drifting way too close to conservatism – while at the same time my conservative friends wonder if I’ve been lost to liberalism. Neither side seems to know what to do with me!! (That has it’s advantages and disadvantages I guess)
But over the recent few years, reading Wink and Weaver (J Denny) Baker/Green and many others, I’ve really been drawn by the influence of so called “Liberation Theology”. For how could one deny the very strong themes of Liberation in Christ’s (and the bibles) teachings; to say nothing of the scathing rebukes by Christ of the power/domination structures of the day that oppressed the weak.
Except now however, I’m feeling a bit duped and naive; I’ve got friends who are very liberal and it dawns on me (no doubt they’d not agree with my new found self-insight) that in effect, they have placed their Christ, and His message of hope and transformation, in the service of their Marxist politics and convictions. And I’ll be blunt here: this really rattles me. To be sure, Marxism is not a dirty word at all for them, nor do they come close to explicitly embracing it’s historic violence and suppression of individual freedoms. They imagine they only use Marxist theory as tool of social criticism; yet it seems clear to me they enthusiastically practice active demonization of those who, by virtue of their whiteness, or their business success, or their leadership and authority positions, are now deemed as the “oppressor”. The descent into strictly political categories goes from here.
Lost – badly and sadly – in all this is the simple reality (well articulated by scripture it seems to me) that every human soul is capable of playing the role of “oppressor” and that the wisdom offered by Christ on the Mount (sermon on the…) was an explicit invitation to NOT fall into the trap of identifying ones-self as “victim” but to transcend those categories and to act in ways that refuse personal victimhood.
Thus, in the “new creation” of those “in Christ” there really is no longer slave nor free, Jew nor Greek, male nor female. (or maybe oppressed and oppressor?) In fact in Christ ALL are made new – and are to ACT in that new paradigm – even while retaining their earthly “place” in life. In THIS way culture and reality was to be transformed – NOT by violent (perhaps) overthrow of “oppressors” but by transformation of individual hearts and minds called forth by the newly visible Kingdom values of God. Liberation from earthly tyrannies (bad as they might be) is NOT what salvation is about; rather, liberation from the forces of selfishness, pride, that thin line of evil that runs through EACH human heart is Christ’s formula for salvation.
I realize few venture into political aspects of theology on this site but this dynamic is troubling me so here it is.
Thanks for listening,
and very curious how others see this dynamic/dilemma…
PS Themes of Universal Reconciliation are easy to see in all this; but’s it’s very different to say our victory over oppressive systems saves us (personal conviction and individual need for repentance and transformation remain un-dealt with) than to say a personal confrontation with the Christ – who convicts us of OUR sin and transforms us – is what saves us.