World Christian?

Are you one?  Dave Black quotes Dan Clendenin, who, in an election year, confronts our more or less, would you call it “geo-centrism”?  Here is what is says in this blog post (in part):

           Two radical corollaries follow from the global character of God’s kingdom — the decentralization of your geography and the reorientation of your politics.

 Christians are geographic, cultural, national and ethnic egalitarians. For Christians there is no geographic center of the world, but only a constellation of points equidistant from the heart of God. Proclaiming that God lavishly loves all the world, each person, and every place, the gospel does not privilege any country as exceptional. A Bosnian Muslim is no further away from God’s love than an American Christian. A Honduran Pentecostal is no closer to God’s love than an Oxford atheist.

Much has been written lately about American exceptionalism and our global dominance. In terms of economic, political, military, scientific and cultural influence, America is unrivaled. In that sense, it’s accurate to say that America is “exceptional” (although there’s no reason to think this will last forever, or that all our influence is good). But from a theological or Christian point of view, America is no more or less “exceptional” in God’s eyes than Iceland, India, or Iraq. While allowing for a natural and wholesome love, even pride, in your own country (“there’s no place like home”), in the long run, Christian egalitarianism subverts every form of geo-political nationalism. Our ultimate citizenship, said Paul, is a spiritual one (Philippians 3:20).

Christian global vision also asks me to care as much about every country and its people as I do my own. Christians grieve the deaths of 90,000 Iraqi civilians as much as the 4,124 American soldiers killed in Iraq, or the 560 soldiers killed in Afghanistan. Christians lament the human tragedy of cyclone Nargis that killed 140,000 people in Burma, or the earthquake in the Sichuan province of China that killed 70,000 people, as much as they do that of Hurricane Katrina.

Christian globalism implies that your politics become reoriented, non-aligned, and unpredictable by normal canons. In the gospels Jesus never proposed any political program. There’s no such thing as a “Christian” politics, and efforts by both Democrats and Republicans to co-opt Jesus for their side badly distort his message. Rather, Jesus calls us to something far more radical and demanding. He asks us to do what God Himself does, as expressed in two of the most famous verses in all the Bible. He calls us to “love the whole world” (John 3:16) and “your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31).

Dave Black finishes out asking:

So … has your geography been de-centralized? That is, are you a world Christian? And … have your politics been reoriented? That is, does your heavenly citizenship trump your earthly?

Good questions, if you ask me.

Yes, good questions and a proper challenge.  One thing I might like to add is that perhaps one way to ensure this globalization of your faith life and practice would be to go on missions trips!  Go overseas as often as you can and for a long as you can (more than just a week – the typical “missions” trip).  Regular excursions across the boarders of your home country as often as possible will, more likely than not, easily ensure you maintain a decentralized geography when it comes to “being a Christian”!

Blessings!

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3 responses to “World Christian?

  1. I would just favor that instead of speaking of our citizenship being a “spiritual” citizenship…(following the work of N. T. Wright…whom I know you adore 😉 ) I would only state that our citizenship is supranational because it belongs to the reign of God everywhere and thus we declare his reign everywhere. (Rather than a more disembodied notion of our citizenship).

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