Wednesday, October 08, 2008

"the greatest force for good"

"America is the greatest force for good in the history of the world." _John McCain

How many people across the globe are suffering due to American greed and violence? I don't want a president whose pride and patriotism has apparently blinded him to the injustices dished out by his country and has given him the same kind of trust in his country and its' economic system that Caesar had of his own. If America is the greatest force for good in history then we have a very dark history.

Caesar believed that his country was the greatest force for good in the history of the world. The Roman propaganda machine sold Pax Romana, the peace of Rome, to the people as the sole and final hope for the world. It was Pax Romana that justified whatever war or conquest Rome desired. They saw themselves as peace makers in the world by way of the sword.

This is why it was so powerful for early Christians to speak of hope in Christ and the peace of Christ, as apposed to the peace of Rome, which surpasses all understanding. The Christian response to Roman peace was not to blindly buy into it and place hope into it. The Christian response was to keep the cross at the front of their mind, the cross which exposes violence and oppression for what it really is, and to recognize the injustice of the nation-state. Rather than hope in Rome, they hoped in Jesus who displayed a much different kind of peace than that of Rome--a humble and non-violent peace. They opposed Rome and became martyrs to the sword of Pax Romana. They subverted their patriotic language saying "Jesus is lord" rather than "caesar is lord" and speaking of the peace of Christ rather than the peace of Rome. They died alnong with all those whom Rome sought to conquer when all it would have taken was a simple "Caesar is lord" and a hope in Pax Romana.

The American Church has lost sight of their true hope and the peace of Christ. Their faith has been absorbed into their patirotism. And what we call patriotism, the early church called idolatry. Why is the Christian response today to slap campeign stickers on our cars? Why do we meet in stadiums and pray that God will support America's leaders and bless America's cause? Why don't we stand in oposition to America's dream and offer God's dream instead? Why don't we see the oppression caused by "the greatest force for good in the history of the world"? Rather than die with those who are dying, stading in solidarity with the suffering of the world, we mount up on America's horse and ride over the suffering of the world.

I guess with this historical perspective, I find it quite strange that someone who places so much trust in Americas' systems has so much of the "evagelical vote." Where are all the prophets?

6 comments:

Brittany said...

Wes,
Great post. I totally agree with you. Historically, America as a whole seems to think that they are the world's superhero and police force. What is ironic is that America is oftentimes the cause of problems. Or by intervening makes the situation worse. And I just completely lost my train of thought. So I guess that is all for now.

WES ELLIS said...

Brit,
You're right! Especially about the fact that America often, by intervening, makes the situation worse. That's why it makes me nervous when either of the candidates, Obama or McCain, talk abut Darfur, a country for which I have been praying for a couple of years. I don't trust American intervention as the answer or the solution.

Brittany said...

Wes,
I agree with you on the whole Darfur issue as well. I think that America needs to find a way to help, rather than intervene. I definitely feel there is a significant difference. I just don't know how America would go about helping. Monetary aid is out of the question...it usually ends up in the wrong hands. Military aid, duh, causes more problems. It could create another Vietnam situation.

I feel that America is so blessed, and we need to share with the world and help them. NOT intervene. It is just hard to draw the line between help and intervention. If any of this makes sense. haha.

Danny said...

Hi Wesley (and Brittany!),
I wrote a post on one of my supplemental blogs that I started in regard to America's role in a globalizing world. It only deals with what you are talking about tangentially, but I think that it is important to think about ways that America can stop being so "American" in its thinking about how it deals with education.

My new blog is really a seperate blog that is chronicling my experiences as a student teacher and observer of American education and especially the disciplines of social science.

Here's the blog:
http://historyandtechnology136.wordpress.com/2008/10/08/english-language-learners-some-backwards-thinking/

Geri Maya Rite said...

Great post, it also interesting to consider that idea inside the context of the western church. Not only are we guilty of swapping our Christian ideals for American ideals, we are also very guilty of this arrogance in other realms as well. We (the American evangelical church) completely disregard other Judeo-Christian faith traditions (Jewish, Catholic, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, Third-world theology(Latin theology, liberation theology), even to a lesser extent progressive theology within our own church that is contrary to Patriotic Evangelicalism (such as black liberation theology, new monasticism (because its pacifistic), gay liberation theology (inclusive theology), and especially the social justice gospel (it just doesn't fit in with American Imperialism)). Our theology doesn't even make sense, we believe in the sactity of human life except in the case of those we perceive to be enemies of Christianity (and America because we can use those terms interchangeably in the eyes of Evangelicals) then they have surrendered their right the life in the eyes of Gods, and we as faithful servants of God must ride down on our white war horse (note the sarcastic use of dispensational terminology) and dispatch them in the name of God so we can "live free" here in America. But, its ok, in 20 years when the conquered people have just started to rebuild there shattered lives and families and we in America have forgotten about how vile and sinful and evil they were to hate America (Read: Christianity) then someone will have the "compassion" to see that they are dieing of starvation because they have no economy. Instead of looking back in history to determine why they have no economy (we destroyed it, remember?) we will send missionaries to save their souls so they to can be apart of Gods kingdom, they need not food but Jesus.

WES ELLIS said...

Geri Maya Rite,
Thanks for the comment. Your thoughts are really helpful and I can't agree more. We've built so many walls in the wrong places and torn down walls that we actually might need.