November 11, 2004

Is it not the rich who oppress you?

Yes, a political blog!

But how can we avoid it? The religious is the political. Funny thing is the editors of the biblical translations want to hedge their bets. This section receives the title Warning Against Partiality in the NRSV. This title is imposed by the editors based upon their sense of what the main thrust of this section is.

Is that your sense of this section?

I would label it Preferential Option for the Poor. This section clearly opposes partiality toward the rich. But the justification is that God shows partiality for the poor. Recall an earlier posting of mine that talked of Prophetic Reversal? God shows forth God's power by turning our ways on their heads. As literary critic Northrup Frye once wrote, the Bible story is a comedy.

What does this do to the cherished democratic principle of separation of church and state? I mean liberals everywhere bemoaned the last American election when it became clear that it was traditional, social conservative values, backed by conservative and evangelical churches that won this last election for the President.

Yet James seems to be taking a very political tack. It would seem for James faith and politics are fundamentally in the same business. Its just that the political stance of the gospel isn't exactly consistent with the middle America (or Canadian for that matter) political ideologies.

Now what?

Peace be with you all


At 6:58 a.m., Blogger Marjorie said...

I know the Episcopal church uses the NRSV, I don't know whether and how they were involved in the translation. I'm not surprised about the soft-pedaled header on this section. To hear this section preached on in the Episcopal church is...disappointing. Its okay to be rich, but you must notice the poor. But you need only notice that they are there, there isn't much else you have to do, well, you could write a check to the church and they'll help the poor...

Hey, kwake, before I go too far, maybe you could send us guidelines as to parameters for posting to this site. I could easily post a rant, but I don't want to contaminate the blog and I can post it on my own...I'm trying to keep myself to more scripturally based discussions that are a bit less passionate.

At 7:08 a.m., Blogger david said...

I'm not sure what sort of guidelines I could give.

My approach to postings is reader response and inter-text -- that is to say what other books biblical writings/issued are raised in me by the text?

Comments are comments on the posting or on the discussion as it enfolds.

As you can see by my blog posting -- I think spiritual, religious and political are all enmeshed. I don't think you can have a purely spiritual discussion without in some way talking about what kind of world we are called to craete -- which is a political discussion.

I am deeply convinced that the witness of the Christian scriptures is to anarchic socialism. An end to private property. Shared resources from those who have going towards those who need.

But if you read my morning posting over on kwakersaur, you might also see that I'm not sure I could live comfortably in such a world. That troubles me. I wrestle with angels.

Wrestling with angels is what scripture study is about I think.

At 1:24 p.m., Blogger crystal said...

Hi all.
My version of the bible (new american b) has this note ...
"3 [5] The poor, "God's poor" of the Old Testament, were seen by Jesus as particularly open to God for belief in and reliance on him alone (? Luke 6:20). God's law cannot tolerate their oppression in any way (? James 2:9)."
It seems that once you start taking spirituality seriously, it's hard to divorce it from any other part of life, including politics. If you think of the whole world as one family, god being the papa :-), then it's hard not to agree with the sentiment that all we have should be shared among us, with no one left out in the cold. Easier to agree with than to do, though.

At 5:11 p.m., Blogger Larry said...

Everybody's on target. The big issue is religion and politics. How? The election points out the difficulty for any consecrated Christian. In the first place, letting my own biases show, the people who advertised their religion in the election are not Christians. Christians don't advocate war, and don't do a lot of other things we see done in the name of God.

And that's just the problem. In the name of God all sorts of bestial violence have been practiced for 2000 years. The 'Christians' were hand and glove with the makers of every war.

So perhaps the separation of church and state, certainly not spiritually respectable, is the best thing we can do to protect ourselves from the hypocrits who would kill in Christ's name-- like the Puritans for example.

I cannot possibly separate religion and politics because my political activities are all inspired by religion (that goes for my wife, too!).

Well I'll let it rest, and ask your indulgence for my rant.

BTW Northrup Frye! yes, yes. I have three of his books: the one David linked us to and its sequel or rather second volume, called Words of Power I think. But my very favorite was Fearful Symmetry. I read it five times and finally gained enough understanding of Blake to write a book on his faith (published on my website for a while). Frye was an ordained minister BTW--a precious man! One more thing we have in common, David.

At 6:44 p.m., Blogger Marjorie said...

I get the feeling I'm in for a bumpy ride. Thats what I get for complaining for the past year that I feel so complacent at church. Growth isn't easy.

At 7:37 a.m., Blogger david said...

well we're off like rocket aren't we?

Larry: I've never read Fearful Symmetry I'll pick it up some time -- although I actually find Frye kinda hard to plough through sometimes. I've read Great Code about thrice.

Marjorie: I know I sorta dumped the suggestion for guidelines -- and if we're going to be talking guys Norry Frye things could get pedantic if we don't exercise due self-control. So if the discussion wanders to far afield from the task at hand or what you feel are spiritual issues, feel free to call us on it.

While I see politics and faith to be related issues I also want this to be a welcoming place for all who participate.

At 8:27 a.m., Blogger Marjorie said...

I'm not worried about you guys, I'm worried I'll go too far afield -- likewise, I'd ask you to call me on it.

At 10:35 a.m., Blogger david said...

in light of the concerns of this becoming a political blog I thought folks may find this pic from I'm Sorry interesting.

picWhat I find most encouraging is the apparent age of the person.

At 10:40 a.m., Blogger Larry said...

Frye is terribly obtuse. That's why I had to read FS 5 times before I got much of an inkling of what he was talking about. Of course Blake also was obtuse (to the nth degree), but he could also be crystal clear.


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