Thursday, December 10, 2009

The ZigZag Café

We will be convening here at the ZigZag café, Suisse, on Thursdays for conversation and dialogue. I invite you to stop by every Thursday for the question of the day. Your thoughts and participation are most welcome. Pull up a stool, avec un café, un thé, ou un chocolat chaud, et un croissant, and join in here on Thursday at the ZZ café.

For today:

Where have all the rebels gone? Perhaps, we don’t need them anymore? Does it seem to you that Christians should be rebels?

24 comments:

Rhett & Valerie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Greg said...

Valerie,
Thanks. Good comment. Yes, it does depend on "rebel" against what and who. Could we consider that the problematic is also related to rebel to what and who? If so, we have to discern not only what we're against, but what we're for to replace it.

To be against the lax attitude to law and moral order may be appropriate, but to be for the OT laws to put things back where they should be seems to create other problems - one in particular being that not even NT Christian communities were constrained to live by these laws.

Rebelling could take numerous forms. To rebel against evil, for one, is not yet to set up or be for a new government. That is promised by God in the future.

The rebellious essence of Christians would seem to find its benchmark in following in the footsteps of Christ: love God, love your enemies, and love your neighbors. This rebellion from the standard way our cultures and political spheres operate will have an impact on evil, while we await final reconciliation of all things.

I wonder if there is any wisdom in saying we don't need to rebel against the good? Of course, at least to some, that may be rather vague too.

C

Joshua said...

Just ran across this article recently, and found it very interesting. Neuhaus focuses more on ecclesiology than eschatology, but gives an interesting history of ideas narrative for American political theology.

On another front, I like theonomy, albeit more of the Tillichian kind than Rushdoony form. Both though seem to mistake what is actually God ruling for human traditions though, reverting to a more explicit heterodoxy.

The rebels are patiently biding their time. It's not that they aren't needed, but they've been marginalized. I don't know if rebel is the right term, but something very akin Christians might be called to, assuming they're not the ones calling themselves.

Greg said...

Joshua,
Thanks. Good points. Let's be those called by God, which seems to mean no less than following in the footsteps of Christ, rather than hearing our own voices.

Micha said...

the rebels of modernity are gone or have to go: ulitmate explanations, convictions entailing violence, subjective subjectivism believing to have objectivism.
Rebels are needed: rebels commited to the quest for truth fearing and trembling every day to fail, rebels committed to humility and diversity, but also rebels committed to mankind and ethics

Greg said...

Micha,
Thanks. Seems that you're back home safely. Great. Please greet your parents for me.

This is a good comment and I agree with your direction, but wonder if you can legitimately stop where you have.

Micha said...

Why not? Do youu mean regarding a definition?

Greg said...

Micha,
I mean with being a rebel committed to the things you mention and stopping at humankind and ethics.

Micha said...

Hi Greg

What more do you think is necessary?

Greg said...

Micha,
For one thing, I would assume that ethics cannot be the referent for itself. So a referent for ethics, I think, would be necessary.

Joshua said...

Is the Kingdom of God though a rebellion? And what is meant by resisting authorities and control, particularly with the Pastoral Epistles model or even Paul's Roman 13 one.

Even with sacred apocalyptic literature, the forces of rebellion are often warned that they will be crushed on their own volition. The call is not to take up arms.

Greg said...

Joshua,
Good question. The KOG is a reign or rule sometimes slashing through that which seeks to prevent it's arrival, while it is also a slow growing manifestation and proclamation.

Resisting authorities would seem to be necessary when they seek to set themselves up as God in usurping his authority. This can be done in other ways than taking up arms.

Micha said...

The referent of ethics is the face of the other

Greg said...

Micha,
Thia is somewhat true, but an insufficient referent. What happens to this referent when the other is abusing you or another other?

Micha said...

the face of the other and a long tradition of human struggle with ethics - from Aristotle and the OT until nowadays - remind us of ethics.
The cry of the weak and oppressed remind us that it is not about strenght and power but justice, mercy and love.
Why cant I trust a tradition of old being formed by millions of people struggling with truth and my own empathy crying with the crying?

Greg said...

Micha,
Even the terms weak and oppressed seem to indicate there are strong and oppressors. When you write "remind us" I assume you are not meaning those who are doing the oppressing. They, of course, have a very different ethic, if it can even appropriately be called that.

Not sure why you can't trust a tradition, or even why you should. Tradition will be important, but ultimately a less sufficient referent for trust. Perhaps, two important questions to answer would be: what is trust and who shall we trust?

Micha said...

First, before going into trust adress the face of the other being oppressed and crying out to me, please.

Greg said...

Micha,
The other being oppressed as I mentioned is only one other. The other other is the oppressor and this is the problem of basing an ethic on the other - there are at least two of them. You prefer the oppressed and give them an advantage, but I'm afraid a merely 'other' ethic is not sufficient to have an impact on the other who is doing the oppressing. That is, it doesn't seem to me that an other ethic can be a viable restraint to what bothers you.

Micha said...

Hi Greg

I understand what you mean. I could try to continue but I would like to hear your point of view. I think I know ...

Micha

Greg said...

Micha,
A rebellious ethic would, it seem to me, has to comprise at least self and other - oneself as another and there may be more, but not less. The configuration of an ethic - or at least a rebel ethic - has to focus on the relation and distinction between the two. Therefore, the self has to face the notion of selfhood as defined by the other, and the self that they are towards oneself. If the self can bracket out either self or other then ethics risks a breakdown and oppression can go unchecked. Of course there may be even further referent considerations here, but they may be for another day.

Micha said...

Hi Greg,

how do justify ethics when the other treats him self as another and violates and oppresses both himself and the other?
In the end both you and him treat the self as another and apply this to the other but the outcome is different.
He mistreats both himself and the other, you try to treat yourself and the other in a constructive way.
How do you justify construction against destruction?

Micha

Greg said...

Micha,
For me ethics cannot have the final say, because it's not big enough to deal with the kind of problems you highlight.

Yet, I would say that the self who abuses self and other, ignores the other at a risk and peril to the self. To abuse self however, has to have some recognition that abuse is abuse and not just the norm. How might the self come to realize this, except through the other. Should the self destroy the other or the other destroy the self - then there really is no self and other - merely destruction - and if that's the case then it is the norm and therefore beyond ethics.

But you take your own scenario of a commitment to humanity and ethics in your comment and you're in a different world - true one that cannot entirely stop destruction - yet one that is unwilling to accept it as a norm.

harry coe maynard said...

Hi Greg,

Just got the Newsletter, really great. I hope Rodman gets better. I got to know him at Les Sapan when they were just married (quite "Moonstruct").

Being a Rebel can be painful sometimes loosing friends , jobs sometimes, or worse. You don't even have to try.

My brother was watching a tv preacher who said people need to wake up, Jack said OK I'm awake, now what do I do?

There is a lot of Rebellion going on in many dirrections. Some Churches going into Seeparatism, or Ethical Lockdown like Ft Hood after the shooting.

The Sound of Music was a Rebellion.

Harry

Greg said...

Harry coe,
Thanks. Helpful comment.

Just talked to Rodman today and he seemed to be doing okay.

In addition to being awake it seems to me that we need to follow in the footsteps of Christ wherever we may be and whatever we may be doing. This is no simple formula, but will take prayer, careful thought, love, and grace.