Political Misfits

Being a political conservative musing through some post election blues I’ve found great encouragement and inspiration in the Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw’s new book Jesus for President. Page 235 has a section titled “Political Misfits” which is worth sharing:

It’s easy to have political views — that’s what politicians do.  But it’s much harder to embody a political alternative — that’s what saints do.  The greater the challenge is right living, not merely right thinking.  In Jesus we meet not a presentation of ideas or a new political platform but an invitation to join up, to become part of a movement, of a people that embodies good news.

Political embodiment means that we become the change that we want in the world, not just lobby politicians to change things for us.  It means that we must take the responsibility that our political views demand of us. Not many of us have seen people, much less a political party, who are ready to enact the change they want in the world.

Those who would like to see abortion grow rarer and become nonexistent had also better be ready to take in some teen moms  and adopt some unwanted babies.  To be pro-life in our neighborhood means we have to figure out how to come alongside a fourteen year-old pregnant girl.  This is why we loved Mother Teresa so much. Mother Teresa embodied her politics.  She didn’t just wear a T-shirt that said, “Abortion is homicide.” She loved moms and unborn so much, she could say with integrity. “If you don’t want to have the baby, you can give it to me.”  Which is why everyone called her Mother.

Nor have we seen a political platform which is a consistent ethic of life — and by that we mean not simply being pro-birth but being pro-life., and recognizing that life doesn’t begin at conception and end at birth.

Just because our gospel gets political doesn’t mean it gets political on the empire’s terms.  The question isn’t whether are we pro-life but how do we consistently honor life?  One of the most important questions for the church today isn’t whether Christianity is political but how is Christianity political? And hopefully Jesus and the biblical narrative have given us some good tools for political mischief. 

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