The One Inspired and Right Form of Government

I really like being a Christian, and I could list quite a few reasons for that affection, none of which could come under the heading: Because it is easy.

In fact, by no means my favorite thing about being a Christian, but one thing I like a lot, is that the Firstborn, He who laid down the principles and revealed the doctrines of the faith, made a point of forcing His followers to think. Like adults.

As a result, while some Christian communities have certainly opposed the effort, I have always found a great liberty to think closely and carefully about – well, everything.

Take politics, for example.

There is no “Christian” theory of politics. Should we have a king? Well, God always intended to give Israel one, so it must be OK.

Or should we be a republic? Calvin sure seemed to lean that way.

I could go on and on with the options, but the great thing is, Christianity is not a religion of abstract speculation. If there is a political principle to the Bible it would seem to be summed up in one or two words, “adaptation,” or “sensitivity.”

Maybe an even better word would be reverence.

So no Christian can point to either the Bible or their own tradition and say, “This is the divinely inspired form of government that we should incorporate on earth.”

Good thing too, because if the Bible did say that, people would bloody each other to make it happen. In fact, I think too much attention paid to forms of government distracts people from the principles of sound politics, the core of which is the question: How can we produce virtuous citizens, in this time and in this place.

I got thinking about this joyful lightness of responsible thought while reading about the Swiss vote to outlaw minarets in this article. The connection may not be obvious, but that’s because my mind leaps for joy sometimes.

A Serious Question About Celebrating Christmas

A few days ago I mildly criticized kitschmas. One of the points I made was that kitsch doesn’t measure up to Camp because Camp tries to be serious while kitsch doesn’t even bother.

Thus, it seems, Camp can give us a strange sort of just pleasure in that we can get the point even while the producer of the Camp doesn’t, while kitsch only gives us pleasure if we are the ones missing the point. Maybe.

So I’ve been thinking a little since then about why Christmas tends toward kitsch.

Let me draw an incident from my life and see if this serves any purpose. The church I attend now celebrates communion on Christmas morning at 9:30, same time as Sunday morning.

No church I attended previously did so; at least, not so far as I recall.

So we weren’t in the habit, as a family, of going to church to celebrate the birth of Christ. We did it at home with cinammon rolls, ostentatiously wrapped gifts, a tree out of Thomas Kincade or Currier and Ives, and all the normal Christmas trappings.

What, Karen asked me, are we going to do this year?  

I found myself immediately confronted with a rather ironic situation. Would we go to church to celebrate communion on Christ-Mass, or would we stay home and celebrate Christ-Mass with our family.

You might ask, is Christmas a family holiday or a Church holiday?

Suddenly I realized that all my life I had been treating Christmas as a semi-secular holiday, personalized, oriented toward the family.

What do you think? Is that appropriate? Do you think that tendency might move us toward kitsch because we want the holiday for our sake, rather than for the sake of the One who dwells in unapproachable light but veiled Himself with flesh and blood?