the original revolution

In the essay of the same title as this blog post, written in the early 70s, Yoder talks about how the ‘fad’ word in Christian circles was revolution [and I ask has anything changed?], but that it was used so much that the intended meaning wore off.

Within the context of Jesus and the proclamation of the coming Kingdom, the term has great significance. [I would maybe argue that we are actually living in a time of revolt and that Jesus came to show us how things should be, therefore we are the revolutionaries and what he did was not a revolt but a return. But for Yoder’s purposes, the term was appropriate.] In an time where Canada, the US and even Scotland are facing shifts in governmental leadership, I thought this essay provided a great look at how we are to respond as followers of Christ in the world today.

We can a) be realists, accepting things the way that they are and encouraging our governments to keep doing what they are doing; b) taking up the sword literally fighting back, as did the Zealots in Jesus’ day; c) complete withdrawal, forming our own separate communities and culture; or d) taking a moral and spiritual higher ground, condemning and judging those around us for the swimming in the shallow end of the pool of morality. Any of these options are open to us today, and are ones that we often trod down as Christians trying to wrestle with how to interact with the world around us. I don’t think I know any modern Zealots, though.

Yoder contends that Jesus introduced a fifth option, the original revolution so to speak: the creation of a distinct community with its own deviant and subversive set of values and its coherent way of incarnating them. We are to be the new Hebrews, literally ‘the ones who crossed over. We are to be the church in the world,

God’s people gathered as a unit, as a people, gathered to do business in His name, to find what it means here and now to put into practice this different quality of life which is God’s promise to them and to the world and their promise to God and service to the world.

So, when thinking about voting, about what to do about the way the world currently is, remember this:

The question of our time, in a world which waits and aspires to revolution, is not whether the kingdom is coming, but what we are going to do about it.

Could this be the man that inspires my thesis topic? I am beginning to think so.

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