Monday, April 24, 2006

reflections from atlanta

What a week, what a week! It's amazing to me how you can be gone from a place for so long (for Atlanta and I, it was an 11 month seperation) and yet the moment you step foot on those familiar sidewalks, it feels like home. And then, even more amazing, was how much it felt like home when I drove up Beverley to my apartment. It's rather nice that I feel as though I have several homes, several places I feel completely comfortable.

While in Atlanta, along with seeing those dear friends and sights, I really enjoyed myself at the lectures, being intellectually stimulated is always nice. I enjoyed AmyPlantigua Pauw's dry wit (in referring to the Trinity, she had some particularly clever bits - the Holy Spirit is not the "His Girl Friday" to the Father or the Son, and we cannot just randomly pick things that go in threes to describe our triune God - no "rock, paper, scissors").

I also loved listening to George Stroup, the man who co-taught my theology courses with Shirley Guthrie. He is an excellent speaker and has that making you think thing down. He spoke about God's freedom from and for the world, something Shirley spoke of, and made me think about religion and political causes. He said that while Christ had a preferential option for the poor (something good liberation theologians are want to tell you) he did not defend or champion any program or institution. Speaking of Christ's "royal freedom" (Barth), he insisted that Christ did not align himself to any particular movement, any organization. Instead, "Jesus is the partisan of the poor who laid the axe at the root of all the trees." He challenged that the church's (difficult) task was to witness to Christ's partisanship of the poor without identifying it with a particular party or program.

I enjoyed this discussion because it's where I have been leaning and yet did not have the speech to claim what I have been thinking. I firmly believe in Christ's partisanship of the poor and yet am not comfortable with affiliating that with a particular political party or movement. It can be tempting to blend the two together - your faith and your politics - but I want to resist that urge. I want my faith to inform my politics but not the other way around. I don't want to claim that Jesus would vote for X - though I certainly want my relationship with Jesus to help me figure out who I should vote for. It was nice to finally be given theological reasoning for why I feel this way.

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