Saturday, December 24, 2005

Random musings on revolution

Dave Bish has just posted his films of the year, which got me thinking about my own. Bit difficult to make a list as I get little chance to watch many films, but my favourite must be The Edukators; a German language film about young-idealism. I post about it because it reminds me of a gut feeling I had early this year that the church was no way near revolutionary enough. A bit of further thought made me realise that largely this is to be expected as although Jesus expected revolutionised lives he did not expect the revolution of institutions. In fact it is in our day to day relationships with others that it is hardest to create change (as the Edukators themselves found). I soon realised that my unsettled feeling was as much a result of frustration that I wasn't 'acheiveing' anything substantial with my life, and it's a lot easier to be a Marxist than keep the second greatest commandment.

It's because of difficulty of changing human hearts that has often been commented that when the oppressed rise up against their oppressors, very soon they become oppressors themselves. No news-worthy revolutions ever satisfactorily achieve their aims because the people in control (even in a democracy) are horrible sinners. Because of this, right-wing American bloggers were right to mock the arrogance of the Make Poverty History campaign's slogan as they will never achieve their aims (with or without debt-cuts etc, especially when we recall what Tim Chester taught me that poverty is more about relationships than wealth).

The special Christian witness is that poverty can, and will, only be made history in the New Creation which God alone can achieve and that was only made possible at the cost of Jesus life, and by his defeat of Satan in his resurrection. Where those right-wing bloggers were wrong though, was in denying that a difference can be made now, and that the church has a role here, both in its revolution of its inner life, and in its outflowing. I went to the Make Poverty History rally for that reason, to spend my time and money to encourage world leaders (and the ordinary person who got let off by Geldof & co) to do the same. To bring a taster of New Creation into the present, even though it was hard not to get enveloped in the arrogance of the confident claims of what people can do on their own.

My experience of this year therefore make me wonder about the truth of this poster:

I think that there is a lot of truth in it's message. However, being a natural pessimist, I suspect it is more likely to be misunderstood, and to reinforce already prevalent assumptions about Jesus' identity, than to convey truth. Makes me think though.


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