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This (Ambiguous) Political Life
Image: Lincoln Agnew
This (Ambiguous) Political Life

Jesus described the world as a mixed-up place—a place in which the Word of God can have quite different results depending on the soil on which it falls, a place in which wheat and weeds grow up in the same field so closely intertwined that the latter cannot (yet) be uprooted without damaging the former.

The economy of the world as it is requires that these two sets of inhabitants and, indeed, neighbors be allowed to become fully themselves, maturing until the time of harvest when all is uprooted, judged, and rewarded with blessing or curse. As Augustine warned, now is not the time for apocalyptic confrontation with the enemies of Christ, who might yet become his friends before the end of the age.

The world is already corrupted by the effects of the Fall. The enemy is inspiring human agents to divert the earth's resources to their useless endeavors and to entangle themselves with those who are being inspired by God to pursue shalom—in short, acting like "weeds." Given this, what should we expect of the next election, of the government to follow, and of all life on earth until Jesus returns?

We should expect sin. We should expect some politicians to accept graft, and some officials to accept bribes. We should expect some executives to sell out their companies and shareholders and customers for personal gain. We should expect drunk driving and drug pushing and cartels and sexual assault and stock manipulation and terrorism.

Expecting sin does not mean accepting it, much less ignoring it. Expecting sin means being practical: It means planning for it. It means refusing to live as if we are in the New Jerusalem, and instead intentionally structuring our lives, individually and corporately, ...

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This (Ambiguous) Political Life
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In the Magazine

November 2012

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