28 April 2008

Context, context, context

One of Jeremiah Wright's complaints during his interview with Bill Moyers (transcript here ) about the clips from his sermons was that he was taken out of context. Hugh Hewitt has context, lots of context. I don't think the context really helps Obama. At all.

Joan Walsh, an admitted leftist, wasn't very impressed by the Bill Moyers interview, either.

I would be willing to agree that nothing Wright says is relevant to U.S. politics generally, or to Senator Obama's compaign particularly, but for two things: 1) politics involves questions of ultimacy, hence will necessarily at some point become about religion; 2) as I mentioned previously, if John McCain were a member of the Westboro Baptist Church, there would be heck to pay (and rightly, I believe). I'm also not bothered by Wright's desire (if it be such) that God damn the U.S.A. (It's not a desire that I share.) (Of course, on the other hand, those folks over at Westboro share Wright's antipathy to the U.S.A., albeit for different reasons. But I digress.) First, I don't hold it as an article of faith that a Christian must believe the U.S.A to be sinless; that would be idolatry. Second, Wright strikes me as using the same sort of hyperbole Jesus employed when he says such things as, "If your right eye offends you pluck it out," "Hate you father and mother," etc.

I have just finished reading the book of Daniel. One thing I find noteworthy every time I read it, is Daniel's love for those who are his captors, as well as how that love was reciprocated. When Judgment was announced to Nebuchadnezzer through a dream, Daniel wished that the judgment was on Nebuchadnezzar's enemies! Daniel 5.19. Then, under Darius the Mede (conqueror of the Bablyonian empire), when Daniel's enemies conspired to have him tossed into a lion's den, Darius spent a night fasting in hopes that God would deliver Daniel from the lion's mouth. Daniel 6.18.

Daniel, a Jew, captive in the Bablyonian, and then Medo-Persian empires for seventy years was, in those lands, what we would call a loyal citizen a patriot. Why?

Writing to the Jews in captivity, the Prophet Jeremiah (how ironic!) wrote:

Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, "Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease. Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare." Jeremiah 29.6,7.
You could call this my own "theme passage" on how I seek to conduct myself as a Christian living in the U.S.A. I doubt Daniel would have had much patience for synagogue sermons in Bablyon that sounded anything like some of Reverend Wright's. And, like Wright, there were plenty of Jews who served in the Babylonian and Medo-Persian armies. That service would not have earned them a pass for such sermonating.

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James Frank SolĂ­s
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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