Thoughts from Sunday School

I have been thinking a lot about our Sunday School class last Sunday. In closing, Fr Dwight made a statement that I think most people, well, here in American anyway, can't quite grasp. The idea of national judgment.

When we look at the over-arching story of the Bible it is not entirely concerned with individuals. Okay, sure, there are smaller stories that are about God and an individual. But those stories are about what God will do through that person for God's people, and ultimately the whole world. I think about the judgement of God upon Israel in the 500s where they were taken off into exile by the Babylonians. Surely there were righteous Israelites living at that time. Surely the entire nation was not corrupt. And yet they all were taken in to captivity. Or, like the Maccabees, they were tortured and killed (but none the less, that happened while they were still in exile). I think we Americans are living in this false hope, because of how we were presented the Gospel of personal salvation. That is, it was all very individualized. 'Where will you go when you die?' 'Is Jesus your personal Saviour?' The only indication that we have of anything corporate or nationalistic is that we were told that Jesus died for the 'sins of the world'. Our false hope is that, 'Yes, God may judge America, but I will be spared from this judgment.' Again, look at the nation of Israel. In other words, look at our history, as God's people. How many times have we been carried off into captivity -- righteous and unrighteous alike? And yet, for some reason, we have this false hope that the righteous (and by this we mean that we ourselves as individuals, of course) will be spared. But we won't. And that is the message that needs to be proclaimed like the prophets of old! We need people of courage (or delusion, take your pick) to stand up and say, 'Repent for the judgment of God is coming.' That's the message I'm seeing anyway. If not now, soon.

And not just America, but pretty much the whole Western world. The rest of the world, the poor, are crying out for economic justice and the Western rich are debating sex! What is wrong with this picture! I'm not trying to say that sexual issues are not important, they are. But, and God help us see this, they are not the main issue. The main issue of the day is the enormous problem of Third World Debt. And every minute that the rich West does nothing about it hundreds of people (mostly children) die from starvation. Don't get me wrong. I know that a lot of people in the Western world are doing well for others. But we are part of a nation that, on the whole, is not. America is putting band aids on cancer sores and never changing the laws that put the cancer there in the first place. Why? Mostly because of a twisted eschatology that is a deadly mix of Christianity and platonistic, gnostic dualism that believes this world is trash and will be destroyed and that the goal is to escape it for the 'real world' 'heaven'. Woe betide us if we think that we, i.e., the Western world, can continue on like this without paying for our sins.


I'll get off of my soapbox now.

I just wanted to let you know that I have been thinking a lot about what was said in Sunday School class. In fact, that was the point of the passages we read, actually. And we, me included, quickly moved from the unfamiliarity of national judgment to individual judgment. And the whole time, we missed what God was telling us.

May mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance.



Odysseus said…
There is only one issue that I have with your comments, Pinball. Well, there are others too but I only want to address one -- the judgement of God on theocratic Israel. I was not stating that God would judge America 'in like manner'. My contention is that if we do not change our ways, we will be judged. While it is true that our nation (and every other nation, for that matter) is not a 1:1 of ancient Israel, neither was Egypt, nor Babylon, etc. And yet, God judged them as well. Certainly, the judgment of God MAY be different than before, but that is not for us to worry about or focus upon. We should focus on the issue that, again, if we do not repent we will be judged. And not only by God. If we do not address these issues we will be held in contempt by future (if there will be anyone left) historians as one of the most ruthless empires the world has ever seen.

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