Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A NEW DAWN? OR A NEW POSSIBILITY?

Well, yes and no to the former. Here are some astute immediate comments from the Amnesty International blog on human rights and Obama. There is also a broader mobilisation occurring. A number of them, in fact. My friend Michael Marten, who is a Middle East expert, is preparing some reflections on the new US presidency and the Palestine-Israel situation. I am mulling the theology of change, and how the mechanisms we place our hopes in are not always the ones that bear the kinds of truths and realities we seek. This is not a moment for pouring cold water, but nor is it one for facile optimism. The space available for leaders within established orders to change is very small, in reality. But small shifts can be significant, not least for those at the margins. Plus they signal the possibilities of a wider set of changes in hearts and in the fabric of our polis and economia which we need to act on rather than just talk about. He says. The real question is always, "who and what are we putting our trust in - and why?" Not principalities and powers at the end of the day, though they can work for good as well as ill. [There are further initial ponderings here]

Meanwhile, an American friend of mine, a peace worker, has just written to say: "Before, we said 'yes we can.' Yesterday, we cried 'yes we did.' Today, it's 'now we will.' The work continues."

2 comments:

El Fouche said...

'The real question is always, "who and what are we putting our trust in - and why?" Not principalities and powers at the end of the day, though they can work for good as well as ill.'

You have hit the nail on the head. Some American Christians I know have reacted either with horror or ecstasy to this result (as have many non-believers). While I appreciate Obama's use of "a change is gonna come" in his speech (especially in it resonances back to the civil rights movement being instrumental in seeing a black president finally elected), it did remind me of a certain UK party's (over)use of "Things can only get better" after another election eleven years agi - the long view shows that all leaders have feet of clay, and will eventually fall out of favour (Enoch Powell's axiom that all political careers end in failure).

Obama will hopefully be a force for change and good in the world, but we can expect too much (or fear too much) of him. As you say, where do we look to for our hope - not to kings (elected or otherwise) or chariots (or Apache assault helicopters), but God.

Simon Barrow said...

Indeed - see: http://ekklesia.co.uk/node/7912

I am also tackling this in my forthcoming book, 'Threatened with Resurrection: The difficult peace of Christ'.