Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bonhoeffer reprise?

Robert Mugabe has got to go. The dictatorial leader of Zimbabwe has not only corrupted the country, bankrupt his people, and caused 90% unemployment and 14,000% inflation; he is now disbanding churches, banning church leaders, and slandering clerics. This guy is insane, and he has got to go. He is doing nothing but harming his entire country's welfare, while lining his pockets and defending his ego. (Hollywood even made a movie indirectly about Mugabe--The Interpreter--which he banned in Zimbabwe.) It's like the Third Reich all over again. The only thing he isn't doing is out-and-out committing some sort of genocide or ethnic cleansing--but who's to say that won't come soon?

We who are baptized and call ourselves Christians are citizens of two kingdoms: the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of the world. We are called out by God to live holy lives of faith in and service to his anointed king, Jesus, while simultaneously living in the world with our neighbors and as citizens of the USA or Germany or Brazil . . . or Zimbabwe. As such, out of love for our neighbor, we must put their good ahead of our own and do what is best for the people of our nation whom we are called to love.

In the desperate times of Adolf Hitler's National Socialist regime, the
Bekennende Kirche (Confessing Church) saw its dire position and the difficulties of being stretched between two kingdoms. A group of these men saw it as their duty to rid the world of Hitler out of love for other people and for the common good. One of these men was pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was eventually imprisoned and hung for his complicity in a plot to kill Hitler. Many Christians have balked at his actions, citing quickly "Thou shalt not kill!"

Could Bonhoeffer and his fellows have been right? Bringing down a wicked despot would never rid the world of sin and evil; a new one will soon rise up from elsewhere. Such is the nature of this "present evil age" (Galatians 1:4). But would the loving thing to do for the sake of others actually be to rid the world of such a corrupt tyrant and inept leader? Is Zimbabwe at a time where they need another Bonhoeffer? Certainly they need to be ever more so the Confessing Church, standing upon the rock of Christ's lordship and wielding love, mercy, and forgiveness against the evil that seems to reign (Matthew 16:13-20). But can we call it love to just "turn the other cheek" and allow Mugabe to carry out his devices? I'm torn and cannot say.

Please pray for the saints in Zimbabwe.


Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

this is too sad to really comment on except to say that I don't know either.

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

darn your phone conversation topics and posts - there was a discussion of dreams last night at dinner which ended up in my quite vivid dreams crossed up with this post. I, quietly, an only with a bit of guilty conscience, killed two people.

at least you weren't among them and clearly, according to my dream, they deserved such because they were quite horrible people!