I ran across these quotes of Jacques Ellul from his book The Presence of the Kingdom this morning on another blog while doing a search for Ellul quotes. They seemed to fit with the last two posts I have made here. This happens to be one of his books I have not read. This particular blogger said that when he reads Ellul he is always so challenged, excited and filled with awe. Maybe my time spent reading his writings over the past years or so is partly responsible for the "Good News" of the kingdom of heaven, in reality, beginning to sound and feel like much better news than I had ever known or experienced before? Maybe it has been a big part of reshaping the way I am seeing things and also helped expose and helped me understand the dead end road I had been on and why...the same road most of humanity is stuck on, the only difference being mine was disguised by christian lingo and religious obligation and performance? The way of the world, is the way of the world...the way of the kingdom, is the way of the kingdom. One is like a seed that has been planted in the other but they are not even remotely the same. The presence of the kingdom is wholly other. Seeing it as such and accepting that seems to have a way of humbling us and bringing to us a perspective that leaves us with nothing but Jesus to desire and to lean on, which in turn opens our eyes to the value of all humans. Enemy and friend.
“…the Christian must not act in exactly the same way as everyone else. He has a part to play in this world which no one else can possibly fulfill. He is not asked to look at the various movements which men have started, choose those which seem ‘good,’ and then support them. He is not asked to give his blessing to any particular human enterprise, nor to support the decisions of man.”
“…it is essential that Christians should be very careful not to be wolves in the spiritual sense - that is, people who try to dominate others. Christians must accept domination of other people, and offer the daily sacrifice of their lives…”
“Another solution…consists in the desire to ‘moralize’ or ‘Christianize’ the actions of the world. ‘If the State were Christian, how agreeable it would be to depend upon it; then let us make a Christian State, etc.’ People who take this line aim at having a kind of Christian conception of things: they want to have ‘good’ institutions, ‘good’ morals; they want to know what is ‘the good’ in every situation, and thus to gloss over the actual situation of our present world, covering it up with an ethical glaze - ‘Colorwash the devil in gold, dress him up in white, and perhaps he will become an angel!’”
“…we must give up the idea that we can decrease our sin by our virtues…At the same time, if we take this situation of the Christian seriously, we must refuse to further the disintegrating tendency in the world. We must not say to ourselves, ‘We can’t do anything about it!”
“We are free, because at every moment in our lives we are both judged and pardoned, and are consequently placed in a new situation, free from fatalism, and from the bondage of sinful habits.”
“When we speak of the preservation of the world, immediately we envisage participation in the actions which the world thinks are best for it. The world chooses its own methods, draws up its own plan of action…and people often think that if Christians are to help to preserve the world they ought to join in these movements…Thus when everyone was shocked by the demonic character of the Nazi regime, war was presented as a crusade. The world took up arms; Christians took up the same arms, and fought in exactly the same way as the others against these demonic forces.”