Thursday, January 29, 2015

No competition

Jesus does not challenge Caesar’s status as Lord, as if Jesus were somehow originally subordinate to Caesar in the order of being. The thought—at least in its Lukan form—is rather much more radical and striking: because of the nature of his claims, it is Caesar who is the rival; and what he rivals is the Lordship of God in the person of Jesus Christ.

Yet, we would be mistaken were we to think that this rivalry takes place on a level playing field—an ontological basis, say, that is deeper than both Jesus and Caesar—as if there were two competitors playing for the same prize, the title κύριος πἀντων [lord of all]. In this way of thinking, κύριος πἀντων is something separable from Jesus himself, a trophy, as it were, that he (rather than Caesar) wins. But in Luke’s way of thinking, κύριος πἀντων is who "Jesus" is: Jesus is completely inseparable from his identity as the universal Lord. Caesar’s rivalry thus takess the form of wrongful (self-) exultation to the sphere whose existence is exactly concomitant with the identity of God in Jesus Christ. Politics, that is, inevitably involves the question of idolatry. From the perspective of the Graeco-Roman world, therefore, things are indeed upside down: Jesus’s lordship is primary—onotologically and, hence, politically—not Caesar’s.—World Upside Down, pages 112-113

<idle musing>
Oooh! I like that! It does indeed turn the World Upside Down! Now, I dare you to bring this insight to bear on the current situation in the U.S. political I read somewhere after the last election, if the results of yesterday's election left you either elated or depressed, then your hope isn't in God, it is in the political process. And that, my friend, is idolatry, pure and simple idolatry.
</idle musing>

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