Friends, let me first apologize for not posting last week. Between travel and the snow here on the East Coast, it slipped past my calendar that it was my turn to post!  What i means is double the posts for you this week, so enjoy!

The role of the Church in public life, and in particular in political life, has long been a question debated within the Church of the Brethren. Set up to be a community apart – in the world but not of it, the church for a long time stayed outside of, and not involved in, the political world that surrounded it. In the last century, however, that relationship has changed dramatically. As the church has become more and more involved in the society which surrounds them, the political realm has been no different. We are now elected officials, and consistently participate in the political process.

The question, then, is what this means. Alan Storkey, in his text “Jesus and Politics: Confronting the Powers” writes,

But there is more to it than that. The disciples started to learn, but knowledge of the rule of God means far more than this central insight. It would systematically change every area of politics. It means submission to God’s law, seeking justice, meekness rather than assertiveness, addressing disputes we have caused, keeping rulers humble, redistributing wealth, reconciling nations and classes. It requires leaders to be put in their place, with no ruler worship. The humble are to be lifted up and the arrogant cut down to size. In its scope, this is the greatest political revolution ever, as the gentle rule of Christ voluntarily settles on humanity, with its structural principles and insights (280).

Especially in light of the closing last year of the Brethren Witness/Washington Office, what does this mean for the future of the CoB’s witness in the political realm? What is the appropriate role of the Church in politics? In what way should we participate? These are the questions on my mind as I consider the question of faith and politics. And, as a way of suggesting a possible answer, as a part of Ecumenical Advocacy Days in DC, this coming March, there will be a Church of the Brethren lunch centering around the role of peace churches in the immigration conversation. So, what do you think is the appropriate role for the church in the politics of this world?

From John Howard Yoder’s “The Politics of Jesus”:

Jesus was, in his divinely mandated (i.e., promised, anointed, messianic) prophethood, priesthood, and kingship, the bearer of a new possibility of human, social, and therefore political relationships. His baptism is the inauguration and his cross is the culmination of that new regime in which his disciples are called to share. Hearers or readers may choose to consider that kingdom as not real, or not relevant, or not possible, or not inviting; but no longer can we come to this choice in the name of systematic theology or honest hermeneutics […] No such slicing can avoid his call to an ethic marked by the cross, a cross identified as the punishment of a man who threatens society by creating a new kind of community leading a radically new kind of life (52-53).