What does it mean to be a Christian in North America? If I listen to my Republican brothers and sisters it has something to do with electing a President who can fight for “our” values. When I visit with the more progressive, socially active believers it quite often involves protesting or advocating for something.
I can’t help but wonder what Jesus thinks about all of this. If Jesus and the disciples were walking the earth today, who would they vote for? Would they defend the right of the unborn and choose the most conservative candidate or would they side with the poor and go with our current president? Or, more interestingly, would they even be paying attention to the election?
Jesus’ earthly ministry took place during the Roman occupation. The Israelites were a conquered people living under the rule of political leaders who thought of themselves as gods. Why didn’t Jesus have more to say about the Romans and their anti-god rule? When the religious leaders tried to trap Jesus in a political debate, he blows them off by telling them if the government wants it, they can have it.
In his latest book, Insurrection, Peter Rollins makes the following observation: “There is a different way: the way of Resurrection life. This is a way of living that is able to short-circuit the present social, spiritual or political order, something that we witness at a political level in the life of Mother Teresa, who no more protested against the caste system than she affirmed it. She simply lived in a different reality. She lived as though it did not exist…”
Is this how Jesus lived? Is this what the gospel call is all about? Living into a new reality? A reality where differences no longer divide? Is this what Paul was talking about in Galatians 3:28? Can you imagine a world where your gender no longer disqualifies you or forces you to do the same work for less pay?
If Paul were writing to us today I imagine he might say, “In Christ we are no longer American or Iranian, Republican or Democrat, for we are all one.” Living into this kind of actuality just might mean choosing to live as if the reign of God is a present reality; right here, right now.