This is proving to be a difficult semester, not that the material is any more difficult but this is the first year where I think I'm actually getting it. Theology is making a demand on me and it is scaring the crap out of me.
Last year I studied ecology and it did change me, I did become more ecologically conscious, I did become more vocal about our responsibility for the environment and I did reduce my ecogical footprint. But this semester that seems like childsplay.
Usually I am good at making the connections between my courses, ecology and grace flowing together, ecclesiology bringing about a point of praxis for implementing the theology I'm engaging with. But while I made those connections last year, this year the connections are making themselves! It is as if everything I read is challenging my ideological framework and asking me - what have I done as my response to the death and resurrection of Jesus? Have I simply built up a nice fortress (status quo) and lived there with a slightly edgy message but still safe in my own ivory tower? Or have I stepped into the world of the oppressed and said truly that I will live the message that I have come to preach? It is never easy and it is never safe.
But isn't that Jesus? What makes us think that following the most revolutionary characters ever to step onto the stage of history will be safe? What blindness we must read the bible with. What arrogance we must bring to the liturgy week in and week out.
So far this semester I think for the first time I've understood that being a Christian means being political. I've fought that my whole life. And this isn't what most Christians think being political means, it isn't trying to make sure that those who will support the status quo get in power. No it is intensely revolutionary. It is stepping into the face of those who continue oppression in this world. It is getting in the faces of those who support systems that profit from the plight of the oppressed poor of our world. It is refusing to arogantly think that we deserve luxury, entertainment and ease while so many groan in agony for their redemption. I mean, of course, that this is my sin that I must get right.
Repentance is not just saying we are sorry, it is an intensly political orientation towards God and God's project in this world. It is about becoming a people of the Kingdom. It is about becoming a people of liberation. It is about saying yes to Jesus call that we take up our crosses and follow him. It is a lot harder than our self-serving personal piety would have us believe.
Someone once said the greatest lie the devil ever told was that he didn't exist. I think the greatest lie he told is that we can live our lives as Christians as if Christ doesn't matter. The supports for that lie in my life are cracking all around me. This is a hard year. I doubt I will be the same person at the end of it.