Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Reimagining Christianity 1.2

Affirmation 2: Loving God includes listening for God’s Word which comes through daily prayer and meditation, through studying the ancient testimonies which we call Scripture, and through attending to God’s present activity in the world.
Perhaps this stuff seems tame. Maybe it's old hat. Or perhaps it is, in its own subtle way, so powerful as to be overwhelming. Certainly the first affirmation, that the way of Christ is not the only way to God, is heretical according to a traditional orthodoxy. Next to that, this second affirmation does not seem to say much.
On the other hand, as Karl Barth observed, "to clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world."
Indeed, prayer is not seeking to bend God's will to that of the world, but rather seeking to bend ourselves to God's will for the world. If we pray that God's will be done "on earth as it is in heaven," then we are calling forth a social order of love and justice out of the chaos and disorder of a world in which power flows from the end of a gun or the bottom line of a bank statement.
Daily prayer and meditation are the power practices of an alternative community of compassion that casts a vision for a politics of justice. There is, indeed, a politics of prayer and it runs counter to the prevailing politics of empire.
Affirmation 1 may challenge the orthodoxy of Christian theology. Affirmation 2 challenges the orthodoxy of empire.

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