Sunday, November 06, 2005

week 6 analysis

Week 6 Analysis:

I found the introductory chapter extremely insightful (even though a good portion of it sailed right over my head!). Particularly helpful was the separation of the three primary responses to globalization—hyperglobalist, skeptical, and transformationalist. This helps us to think about our own proper response as followers of Jesus, which I would think falls squarely within the third category. Throughout the life of Israel and the church, both seem to have incorporated various aspects of the culture into their own vocation.

What struck me most from the first chapter was the first section, “From Empires to Modern Nation States.” As you all know, my initial thoughts on our topic centered around nationalism. I hypothesized that one of the major factors for how Americans spend their money is their assumption of the superiority of our country—or at least the sense that their primary responsibility was to fellow members of the United States. This section of our book helped me understand historically how we got to the point that the nation-state has become the entity to which we pledge our allegiance. As far as followers of Jesus are concerned, I take this willingness (to pledge allegiance to the USA) to be a serious problem—a fundamental mistake in who we should understand ourselves to be.

As the authors walked us through this historical process and the associated globalization of politics, another thing that caught my attention was the presence of international regimes, unofficial groups made up of members from various nations who join together for the sake of a cause that transcends their individual national identities. In a limited sense, the church is this type of entity. While the international nature of the kingdom is difficult for many peoples to come to terms with on a personal allegiance-pledging level, no one seems to hold so tightly to a national identity as United States citizens.

By showing the factors involved in our nation’s rise to prominence after World War II, the second chapter helped me to understand this assumption of superiority even more. The United States assumed and enjoyed its position as a national superpower. Unfortunately, the Church, who should have provided a prophetic voice during this process reminding followers of Jesus that they must never devote too much faith and hope and love to Babylon, I mean Rome, I mean the USA, seems for the most part to have jumped on the bandwagon. How the church can wholeheartedly support a nation that relies on military violence to protect the lives of those on the inside I will never understand. I’ve talked about this a lot before so I won’t belabor the point again, but one of our tasks must be to teach people who we are as an international pilgrim people.

On the whole, globalization seems to be tearing away at some of the foundational assumptions of previous generations. I see this as a good thing, because it forces us to reassess what fits within the parameters of a “Christian worldview.” I hope that globalization forces the church to rethink political allegiance in the same way that postmodernism forced us to rethink epistemology.