Wednesday, July 04, 2007

On church and state

David Opderbeck writes on what a recent cathedral visit demonstrates about church and state:
The Cologne Cathedral, started in 1248, is so enormous, and so ornate, so Gothic, that it generates a tangible feeling of heaviness. It’s a beautiful building, but beautiful in a “terrible” way. At some level, the terror of that beauty can serve as a reminder, I think, of what power can do when mixed with faith. In the presence of the Cologne Cathedral, there is no doubt that this was intended as an assertion of the Church’s authority over every sphere of life. It’s interesting that the Cathedral was unfinished in the middle ages, and was only finished by Prussian romantic nationalists in the 1800’s. The Prussians knew that this massive edifice could serve as a symbol of power and pride. That Prussian pride, and the desire for power it produced, was one of the streams that fed the grisly death mills of the two world wars.

We who call ourselves “the Church” would do well today, I believe, to remember what happens when we try to assert political power in Jesus’ name.
True enough. It should also be a reminder to the church of looking for our validation and security in anything or anyone other than Jesus Christ.

In his post, Patriotism and the Church Randy McRoberts considers the difficulty in the U.S. of proclaiming Christians' primary allegiance to Christ, not the state:
If seems so crystal clear to me that what we are doing is so much bigger than nationalism. Why can’t other people see it my way? Once again, I’m the heretic. People look at my like I was painted green if I mention anything about it.
The comments section in Randy's post are also enlightening. I've been away from Randy's blog for too long; thanks to Connexions for the link.

Update: Kirk Wellum reminds Christians that every nation, including both his and mine, is ultimately a part of Babylon.


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