Een grote stad bezoeken is ook een boekhandel bezoeken. Zo ook in Edinbutgh afgelopen zomer. Daar trof ik een boek van Tom Wright aan, wat ik niet kende, namelijk ‘God in public’. Het is een verzamenling lezingen en artikelen over hoe de Bijbel spreekt over macht, aldus de ondertitel.

Tom Wright is altijd boeiend. Nu ook weer. Zo legt hij de vinger op de pijnlijke plek van het rijke westen dat de wereld de les leest over mensenrechten, maar zelf rijk is geworden ten koste van een groot deel van de wereld…

En ook onderstreept hij dat volgens het Evangelie de noden van de armen, dichtbij en ver weg, altijd hoog op de politieke agenda horen te staan.

Wat mij trof tijdens het lezen:

I have increasingly been concerned with the question of how tos peak about God in the public forum.

There is a deep uncertainty about who we are and what we’re here for, and I suggest that this malaise is directly linked to the banishing of God from the public, square two hundred years ago.

The irony is that it is now our supposed Western democracies that are dividing up the world and making a large profit, as they pursue the rhetorical agenda of freedom, justice and peace by the age-old means of enslavement, bullying and war.

For Paul the resurrection of Jesus was the beginning of the new creation, the moment when the creator God revealed that in Jesus the power of chaos, entropy and death itself had been defeated and that a new world of genuine justice and peace was opening up.

As Western society had levelled out in the last two hundred years, it has increasingly achieved this freedom at the expense of the rest of the world.

We must get used to combining two things which are normally at opposite poles: humility and truthtelling.

Where is God in the power politics of the world? God is present, calling rulers and authorities to account, and acting through them to anticipate the day when his justice and mercy will be seen in all the earth, when the earth shall be filled with his glory as the waters cover the sea.

The first thing to be said about a Christian political theology is that is envisages God working through human beings to bring order and justice in the world.

The point of the Christian gospel is that in Jesus Christ the true God invited himself to dinner and became quite literally the life and soul of the party – and now invites us to feast with him and to discover, by getting to know him, what a genuinely human existence, a life flooded with God’s love and energy and wisdom might start to look life, in public as well as in private. That feast itself, the feast to which Jesus now invites us, speaks of a strange flourishing, a dying and rising again, a losing all to find all, a call to follow him to the cross, to lead by serving, to discover the meaning of the Beatitudes which speak of the poor, the meek and the persecuted inheriting not just heaven but also the earth.

The only power which matters is the powerful foolishness of God, revealed in the cross of Jesus, the Messiah, rather than the foolish power of the world.

According to the foolish power of God in the gospel, then the needs of the poor, at home and abroad would always be at the top of the agenda.

We must never forget that the way Jesus worked then and works now is through forgiveness and restoration.


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