Sunday, May 18, 2008

AS FOR ME, I CHOOSE ANARCHY...WITH JESUS AS MY GUIDE




I know, living in a land where law has been elevated to a place of the Sacred, that sounds radical and I run the risk of being misunderstood...but hey, being misunderstood goes with the territory of the non-relational make-up of our present day existence. People in relationship with me know I am not talking about social anarchy shaped by violence. I'm not looking for a violent bloody revolution. Actually I beleive violence should have no place in my life. There have already been enough failed attempts to bring about peace through violence. I just see all of that as a part of the nightmare.
All of this is the outcome of law having taken on the nature of being sacred, and redemptive, which it is not. It stands in stark contrast to the wild freedom of God and his redemptive character manifested in Jesus. Part of the reason for law being put in place is to act as a speed bump to slow down the advancement of evil that manifests itself in people who don't know how to love. But for those who are being set free by the love of the Father being spread abroad in their hearts they will eventually run up against the reality that law stands in the way. It's antithetical to love. Not only does it stand in the way but it is the reason for much of the increase of sin (lawlessness) in the world. The apostle Paul said that pretty plainly.

Grace operates differently, by a law of it's own if you want to look at it that way. The law of love. There is nothing judicial about it. It is relational and it choose to prefer the "other" instead of demanding it's way through the enforcement of law. And my imagination has been captured by the sound of that, and due to that change in perspective I choose anarchy...manifested in the rich tradition of Jesus and those who have made a choice to follow him into a life of grace and freedom...as opposed to law and the violence it spawns in an attempt to gain some form of control. It has always been a dead end road. The way of grace by it's nature ends up being the very opposite of the way in which the world system operates because the actions of self giving, of love, of sacrifice, of dying are the true 'violations' of this world system. That is what I mean when I say, I choose Anarchy. It's the way of redemption and reconciliation out of the nightmare.
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And to avoid another possible misunderstanding I want to add this: This is acting out of freedom on my part, not out of duty. Here is how Ellul says it in the introduction to Anarchy and Christianity.
"I would also add that my objective cannot be that Christians should regard taking this position as a duty, for again, in spite of many centuries, the Christian faith does not bring us into a world of duty and obligation but into a life of freedom. I myself do not say this but Paul does in many places (e.g., 1 Corinthians).
TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW.......

7 comments:

Sue said...

"Part of the reason for law being put in place is to act as a speed bump to slow down the advancement of evil that manifests itself in people who don't know how to love. But for those who are being set free by the love of the Father being spread abroad in their hearts they will eventually run up against the reality that law stands in the way. It's antithetical to love. Not only does it stand in the way but it is the reason for much of the increase of sin (lawlessness) in the world."

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Wow. That is very succinct :)

I agree I agree I agree with so much of this post

rob horton said...

kent: i am really looking forward to reading this book sometime in 2008. i think it will likely be a word-in-season. i think it is time.

blessings,
rob

Kent said...

Rob, I have a post ready for tomorrow I think will resonate with you and some of the things you have been walking through.

Jennifer said...

Kent,
Do you think egalitarianism and anarchy are the same thing?

Kent said...

Do I think they are the same? This might be hard to explain what is going on in my head and heart. But I will try.

Jennifer, I think the terms actually lead us into difficulty just like the term Christianity, Liberalism or Conservatism...and add whatever else comes to mind. I certainly don't call myself an anarchist because the term doesn't fit. So, by saying "I choose anarchy" in the title was more an attempt to provoke thought than it was to catagorize myself. This post was about the problem law creates for us and the freedom found in the love and grace shown us by God through Jesus. That is why I added the explaination at the end of the post also.

I am presently re-reading this book and if I remember right from my first reading, Ellul is just comparing anarchist "movements" along side Christianity and saying that in many ways the anarchist movements exercise more freedom from many of the societal entrapments than Christianity does. Walter Brueggemann in his book The Prophetic Imagination does a pretty good job explaining the difficulties created for us (the Church)when it becomes enculturated.

So, I would answer your question like this. They might have many similarities but they are all ideologies and ideologies will always usurp the freedom of God. So I wouldn't want to encourage people to get attached either one. Jennifer, if you go to an online dictionary (Look below)and look up the word Ideologies and then look up Usurp, and Encultured I think you will see what I am alluding to as far as these things creating problem for us when it comes to us living following the Spirit. It just seems to me that all societal approaches humanity has come up with will create a problem for us when it comes to following Jesus, being led by the Spirit. To me this is about our freedom in God and all these others things (ideologies) by nature take that freedom away. As Brueggemann says...It takes some alternative thinking beyond how we have been shaped to think by the culture in which we have lived. Such a long answer to such a short question :)

http://www.answers.com/ideologies&r=67

http://www.answers.com/usurp&r=67

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enculturation

Grateful Girl said...

Kent, Thanks for addressing this and bringing it to my attention. I am very interested in reading this book..

Have a great day!

Jennifer said...

Kent,
Thank you for taking the time to write that all out! I prefer long answers cause I miss subtleties :)

I understand what you are saying and I agree about ideologies. I was just wondering what your opinion was on the similarities between the words. Words can be so restrictive when the concepts behind them are traded for the tightly packed verbiage.

I'm enjoying all of your sharing from this book...I can't wait to read my copy!