Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"Filling the gap the government left"

The title came from a description that a pastor gave about what his church was doing by offering refuge to folks fleeing the path of Hurricane Gustav. This ironic statement echoes exactly what my friend Craig and I recently dialogued about on his blog. What’s wrong with this picture?

This quote demonstrates how thoroughly the ideas of “postmodernism” have influenced even the church. Without getting deeply into all of the aspects of postmodern philosophy, one thing that is notable is how the shifts in philosophy have led to consequent shifts in the seat of authority-- when, by “authority,” I mean the arbiter of truth, stability, and purpose. Follow with me:

philosophical divisions

Whether he realizes it or not, this pastor (quoted above) has clearly become convinced of the Post-Modern position, at least as far as whose role and duty it is to care for those in need. Historically, the Church has been the default institution that would be assumed to be charged with caring for the needy. In that sense, it would be just the opposite: the governmental services would be filling the gap the Church left.

How is that our mindset? Do we recognize that the
Church’s job-- not the government’s-- is to attend to the needs of those in need? Do we understand the implications of this for the way that we vote or take up political activity? When we believe that the fundamental and primary solutions to our social and community problems is to vote the “right” person into office, have we sold out our biblical view of the church for a Postmodern illusion of solutions?

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