Great article in Relevant Magazine from Kurt Willems:
Every hour my Facebook news feed is dominated by weak sloganeering endorsing this or that policy or political figure. Very little truth-telling happens when our sensationalist culture sets the standard.
Yet I’m convinced that the complexities of politics and Christian faith can be narrowed down to the following: Speak truth, be truth, that’s it!
One of the roles of the people of God is to be a voice for truth in a world full of parodies. Lies or half-truths come to us on the left and right, trying to trap us in a “this or that” war of words. Media, as it has always done, pulls us into a binary mode of thought causing us to speak about political matters on their terms.
Yet Jesus and the early church offer a better way. In the tradition of the prophets (who spoke out against the surrounding nations and Israel when either was guilty of facilitating socially oppressive policies) the early church boldly proclaimed that “Jesus Christ is Lord,” implicitly claiming that Caesar isn’t.
Jesus Himself criticized the political system within Israel that failed to uphold justice. He was in fact the last of Israel’s prophets, and in continuity with these prophets declared a politically loaded statement as His inaugural address:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me. He has sent me to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to liberate the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4.18-19, quoting Isaiah 61).
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In speaking these words, Jesus recaptured an old Hebraic political truth over and against the puppet reign of Herod and ultimately the Romans. This claim by Jesus reminds readers that the politics of Israel (as part of the Roman Empire) failed to create spaces for human flourishing. Both the agendas of the nationalistic Jews and the Jewish compromisers contradicted the vision of Jubilee, so Jesus confronted hypocritical social injustice built into the structures of the day. This is speaking truth to power.