a benign indifference to the politics of this world

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

Mark 1:14-15

Stephen Backhouse wrote a most helpful book on Kierkegaard, and has a helpful podcast as well, entitled Tent Theology. The phrase “a benign indifference” meaning to the politics of this world comes from him.

Jesus was announcing a new political entity entirely. Most in Israel wanted the Roman government overthrown. But this kingdom would be entirely different. God’s kingdom come to earth in Jesus would never participate in wars. It would never directly be involved in the politics of this world. This government under King Jesus should be evident in the church. It is one of love for our neighbor, for each other, for our enemies. Love expressed in good works. And willingness to suffer in following Jesus.

The politics of this world are important up to a point. Much good can happen, as well as evil. And for those where I live, local government is especially important, underrated, but the state and federal government have their important place as well.

But for the follower of Jesus, there’s only one allegiance and one Lord. So regardless of what happens with the nation-state, our kingdom and King remain the same. We live in God’s kingdom come in Jesus. All we do depends on that, is rooted in that. Not in any party or politician of this world. So that indeed, we can and even should have a benign indifference to the politics of this world.

That doesn’t mean we don’t take a stand where needed. And many times we’ll not be in lock step here with each other. Jesus followers do think differently about the politics of this world. We must all try to see everything in the light of Jesus, God’s kingdom present in him, what he taught, how he lived. And look at what followed in Acts and in the rest of the New Testament. We must keep working on that.

A holy, loving benign indifference to the politics of this world. In and through Jesus.