Thursday, December 8, 2011

Advent Politics?

It is inevitable. Because we use the "Occupy" name, we get asked about our politics. Is Occupy Advent a political statement? Are you a supporter of the Occupy movement(s)? Are you a parody of Occupy, trying to co-opt the word?

There is no single answer to those questions. But some thought has been given to the politics of Advent, some thoughts that we would like to share with you, discuss with you, and join in conversation with you about.

Before the season of Advent begins it is ushered in by the apocalyptic texts of the end of Ordinary Time (the Season after Pentecost), culminating in Christ the King Sunday. At the foundation of these Sundays - and also of the apocalyptic readings of the first Sunday of Advent - is the most basic Christian creed: "Jesus is Lord."

Now often seen as an innocuous slogan of the church, "Jesus is Lord" was a radical political claim for the first Christians. It is this creed that led to many of the martyrdoms of early Christians. In claiming Jesus as Lord, these Christians were also making the political statement - Caesar is not Lord. It was treason to confess Jesus as Lord, because that confession necessitated a denial of the authority of the Emperor.

Still today, this is a troublesome claim. As a homiletical exercise prior to Christ the King Sunday, we placed various ideologies, ideas, and movements into the equation "If Jesus is Lord, then ________ is not." The not-so-shocking discovery we made? People loved when we told them that the things they despised are not Lord. People hated when we told them that the things they love are not Lord. In one night, with one train of thought, we simultaneously pissed of both Tea Partiers and Occupiers, socialists and capitalists.

It seems that we all have our idols, the things that we want to cling to as Lord. However, any Advent politics must begin with this affirmation: Jesus is Lord. And if Jesus is Lord, then my favorite political party, or ideology, or cause, or economic system, is not.

There is certainly more to be said, and we will return to this. For now, however, we leave you with this radical political claim, and the foundation of a politics of Advent: Jesus is Lord.

No comments:

Post a Comment