Friday, January 26, 2007

Fear is the Mindkiller

Here is a link to an excellent short comment on Peter Leithart's blog concerning Christians and fear. This strikes me as a good and succinct diagnosis of what is, unfortunately, in my opinion, a major problem among evangelicals. Once about 8 or 9 year's ago, when I was an undergrad, I worked for a couple weeks between semesters at a direct mail marketing firm stuffing envelopes with various mailings, many of them politcal in nature. I remember seeing exactly the sort of thing he is speaking of here in some of the mailings I stuffed.


thekid said...

Thanks for directing me to that website. He's got some interesting book titles there.

Do you think the whole fear thing is a result of Christians' investing so much in worldly politics? I think the reason it is so tempting for people to get caught up in that is that it is purely rational. They forget the kinds of things that Jesus taught us about the Kingdom of God and the ways in which he showed us how God's kingdom is the greater reality and not bound by limitations of worldy reason.


Gordon Hackman said...

Hey sis,

Thanks for your always good comments and questions. I do think it has something (a lot) to do with our fixation on worldly politics and the way in which we become caught up in thinking that we have to have worldly influence to accomplish God's mission in the world. I agree with you that it often does blind us to the ways in which the kingdom of God really works and grows in the world.

It's funny but the theme of our scripture readings and sermon this morning in church was about the fact that Christ is our true king, and that his way of leadership is through servanthood, not through having power over others. The scripture passage that struck home the hardest to me was from 1 Sam 8, where the people of Israel demand that God give them a king like the other nations have. God says, "...they have rejected me as their king." As it was being read, I actually thought of your question here. I think that the Christian obsession with politics and winning political victories (both left and right) is pretty much the same thing. We are rejecting God as our king in favor of worldly power. As a result, we frequently become ugly, mean-spirited, fearful people, which reflects the character of worldly power politics. Psalm 115:8 observes of those who worship idols, "Those who make them are like them/So is everyone who trusts in them."

As for your comments concerning our fixation with the purely rational, I can see that too. Because we are not shaped by the vision and values of the kingdom, we lack the imagination to see beyond what "makes sense" or what seems to be purely pragmatic.

I think one thing that is really important in all this is for us not to lose sight of the ways in which this can affect us individually, as well as communally. In what ways do I reject God as king and try live my life based on what "makes sense" to me and miss out on the fullness of life in the kingdom?