Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Revolutionary Christianity

In seeking to minister in the Same Spirit of Jesus in the real world of our culture and city, I'm finding the writings of Jacques Ellul to be very formative and disturbing. Who do you know that is content with life as it is? But could our life be any different? How could it be better? And in what way is the Church a part of that change, that revolution?

When Ellul talks about revolution, he is probing to uncover the subversive nature of the Gospel of Jesus. He discusses the nature of revolution, the necessity of revolution, and what it would like like to emerge in our life. It's not a wild-eyed rant by a crazy discontent. It's the deeply reflective ideas of a man who keenly sees life as it is, and proposes ideas on how a man or woman could live amidst the tension of living in the real world and following Jesus.

Out of all the quotes in the chapter that I highlighted and commented on, here's one that asked haunting question to me:

The revolutionary position is quite different. But we still have to ascertain what it is, for it cannot be merely the affirmation of "truth" or of "liberty," or the affirmation of a new political doctrine: a revolutionary position is totalitarian.

Now we ought to realize that if this revolution does not take place, we are done for, and human civilization as a whole is impossible. At the present moment (1967, and 2010) we are confronted by a choice: either a mass civilization, technological, "conformist" - the "Brave New World" of Huxley, hell organized upon earth for the bodily comfort of everybody - or a different civilization, which we cannot yet describe because we do not know what it will be; it still has to be created, consciously, by men.

If we do not know what to choose, or, in other words, how to "make a revolution," if we let ourselves drift along the stream of history, without knowing it, we shall have chosen the power of suicide, which is at the heart of the world.

But we cannot have many illusions; confronted by the power of organization, our revolutionary knowledge can scarcely be used. On the other hand, where are the men and women, at the present time, who have a true sense of "revolution"?
~ Jacques Ellul, "Revolutionary Christianity", The Presence of the Kingdom, pg 30-31

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