Where is Macaca?

It appears that the Dems are very close to gaining control of the Senate as well as the House of Reps. The control of the senate all comes down to the Virginia senator’s race between Democrat Jim Webb and Republican George Allen. It’s amazing that literally months ago, Allen was not only viewed as a heavy favorite to win this race, but also considered one of the front runners for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. Thanks to the fact that a little bit of Allen’s racism slipped out at a camaign rally, he’s now in a very real danger of losing this election and giving away control of the senate to the Democrats. Amazing.

Here’s a very funny clip of the Daily Show’s coverage of Allen’s “macaca” debacle:

Classic.

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12 thoughts on “Where is Macaca?

  1. quote: # Zach Says:
    November 8th, 2006 at 4:55 pm

    Gracias, Juan.

    HA!

    Seriously Sean…it is precisely because we can have these debates with out any one getting killed or imprisoned that makes America great…you may not agree with what happens in politics for a time, but that is the great thing about them…its a giant pendulum that is always guaranteed to swing the other way.

  2. no, i’m not talking about what’s happening in politics (i.e. a migration of power from right to left, or vice versa for that matter), i’m talking about politics in general. i don’t give a damn (to be frank) if the pendulum swings to the green party, the libertarians, or the fascists, the american political system is bad. it is unbiblical. i’m not advocating theonomy, just for reference. quite the contrary. i’ve put this link up before (though i doubt anyone has read it), but check it out: http://forsclavigera.blogspot.com/2006/07/barack-obama-another-reason-to-leave.html

    that has a pretty fair explanation of why the american system, in particular, is whack, and why the church should stop wasting so much time flirting with the right and the left.

    also, if i could interest anyone in it, lee camp’s book “mere discipleship” is a great read, and gives a good (biblical) rationale as to why politics is the wrong place for christians to be, generally speaking.

    but, keith, just because we have freedom of speech doesn’t make things any better, especially for the church. as emerson would say, things never get better or worse in society, they only change. one run up the ladder, one rung down. there is only lateral movement in society.

    as christians, we gain this “freedom of religion” but we lose something, too. the church is fat and lazy in america. when all you have to do is shout your opinion and vote for someone that will take care of your business (whether it is the right that will make people act better, or the left that will make people feel better), then why would you want to waste time being a real disciple. that takes too much action.

    like i said, read that post and lee camp’s book. please do it. it’s worth the time. in fact, i’d be willing to mail anyone my copy of his book if they want to read it. john yoder’s “the politics of jesus” (not the other, newer books with similar names, this one is older) is also a good explanation of anabaptist ideas. i don’t currently have a copy, or i would share it, too.

  3. Sean,

    I’ve read the blog post that you linked to… interesting read and I understand the criticism that the author is promoting, but, in my mind, it is entirely ineffective in moving the argument forward. Both you and James Smith have pointed out some potentially inherent problems with the American political system, as well as shortcomings of the religious left, but I’m sincerely interested in more than simply “poking-holes.”

    I’m really not trying to be pretentious here, but what are the appropriate alternatives that you would promote? In his post, James Smith concludes with these (rhetorical?) questions: “What about setting aside participation in a state and politics which requires such bifurcation? What about opting out of a democratic rationality which demands ultimate allegiance?”

    What about it??? What does that even look like in the USA (and beyond) in 2006? Any further explanation you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

  4. as a small aside, i would like to point out that the problems smith talks about with the religious left are the same with the religious right.

    i’m not talking about poking holes in problems, either. the constitution was written with specifically unchristian ideas and principles in mind (those of the deistic persuasion). this is the problem smith is getting at, not just the posturing and puppeteering. that isn’t poking a hole in something.

    what i’m saying is that the american political system and the aim of the church are as far apart as east is from west. certainly, some in this government want to try to do “positive” things. however, the kingdom of natural men (the powers and prinicpalities, as paul refers to them) and the kingdom of god diverge on what is “good” and “positive.”

    the kingdom of god is what i’m talking about, man. jesus came to bring the kingdom of god in its fullness (which he will do ultimately, but not in a ‘left behind’ way). but until then, that coming age has seeped into this age. we, the church, have the kingdom of god (the sovereign reign of YHWH, as n.t. wright would say) active in our lives. it is our job to be a light to others, living like jesus is lord, essentially saying “here is the kingdom, see how it works.” it is counterintuitive to the way of natural man. it is counter-cultural. the things that men hold dear naturally aren’t held in esteem in the kingdom and vice versa (this is where the whole “first will be last, last first” things comes from).

    this is the crux of the point i’m making. this fallen age is about prestige and power. the reign of god is about humility and love. how can we actively swear our allegiances to governments that have their foundations in this fallen, dying age?

    christians in america have allowed the concept of “freedom of religion” to make them think that they can give allegiance to the church and the government equally. but this isn’t the case. the government (especially the way many contemporary political philosopher’s discuss the role of government) wants to say, “we are god. we make truth. we make right.” obviously, not a literal god. but whoever has ultimate say on what is true or untrue, right or wrong, wins the position of god, practically speaking.

    caesar said “i am god” in a more obvious and literal way. but his aims were the same as every government before him and after him. now that we live in a postchristian society, this can be seen more obviously. the early martyrs died because they said, “jesus is lord, caesar is not.” why can we now say that “jesus is lord…and so is george bush (or any figure representing the government)?”

    bam, you asked “what does that even look like in the USA…”

    therein lies the problem. if you are going to continue to look at the church within the confines of this world, what the world says will and won’t work, then i can never help provide you a sufficient answer. we aren’t talking about what this example would look like within the socio-political structure of america. the kingdom of god transcends america. if you read the sermon on the mount, the new testament, then you have the answer. but if you want to talk about how it will work according to the societal and cultural standards of the USA, that won’t help. many people say, “this won’t work in the real world.” the problem is that they think “the real world” denotes this fallen age. the real world awaits us, but it is also here in our midst, waitin for our participation.

    read camp’s book. he explains it much better. mainly because i’m trying to summarize it all (and then some) in this post, and he wrote a whole book.

    i did my best to write this while i was pretty busy here at the office, so i’m not sure if it’s the most coherent thing i’ve ever written. if anyone wants clarification, let me know.

  5. Sean,

    I feel like you’re dancing around my question here, so I’m going to try to reframe my quandary within some supporting context.

    I acknowledge that there is a time and a place for high-minded, esoteric thinking, but I’m trying to get at this issue at a very practical level. I’m talking about the kingdom of God too, man. I don’t think you and I disagree on the virtues of love and humility that Jesus intends for us to emanate in this world, but after reading your thoughts I’m left feeling terribly unresolved with regard to my everyday living.

    Here’s what I’m hearing you say, in a nutshell:
    – The very fiber of the American governmental design was based on “unbiblical” ideals, thus the entire system is “whack.”
    Therefore…
    – Christians have no business in American politics or “flirting with the left or the right,” as you say.
    Yet, at the same time…
    – You are not “advocating theonomy.”

    These are very black-and-white statements you’re making here. So, it begs the question: What, EXACTLY, are you advocating then?? Do you pretend that the government doesn’t exist? …or that it doesn’t pertain to you?

    Furthermore, I’m not really sure how one can negate the value of human government. In fact, I would wager that you validate the necessity of government everyday. You validated it when you drove between the lines on the road, when you opened a bank account, and when you paid the sales tax on the computer you’re using right now. As the global community becomes increasingly intertwined, the far-reaching geopolitical effects of these simple daily tasks demand our attention in trying to better understand how to go forward, given our current situation.

    I’m sorry that you feel my ability to comprehend your ideas is stunted because I “continue to look at the church within the confines of this world,” but, just as you acknowledged, we are called to be salt and light IN THIS WORLD. Believe me, I understand that God is far greater than all of the temporal things around us, but we all have decisions to make everyday that we’re in this world and I’m ultimately concerned with figuring out what Jesus would have me do.

    If the system is “whack,” then you certainly must not vote because doing so would validate the necessity of the system. Yet, I don’t understand how you feel comfortable holding that view of our country’s governmental structure while simultaneously benefiting from its direct byproducts (e.g. police/fire protection, public municipalities, economic regulation, etc).

    My bottom-line in this dialogue: I’m honestly trying to figure out how I am called to interface with politics as a believer in Jesus. I, too, am disgusted by how so much of the political arena plays-out, and I don’t what party to align myself with, if any. I don’t have the answers, but I do know that the solutions are much more gray than black & white. Accordingly, I’m primarily interested in hearing comments and perspectives that move the conversation forward, in everyday terms, because this is what we have to work with.

  6. Maybe the idea of NOT aligning with a political party is a good one.

    I am not sure pushing through a religious agenda through the political system is a good one.

    Requiring a life style as a matter of law is only a path to resentment, not spirituality. Religions of the world should be examples of why a life of faith is a good (key word here) CHOICE.

    Think about your own lives, when were you more likely to accept a message? When your father said it was for your own good, or you saw for yourself that a particular action was a good one.

    I almost think churches getting bogged down in the quagmire of politics devalues the pulpit.

    To quote a favorite song title of mine…just thinking, thats all 🙂

  7. i’m not saying that you can’t comprehend what i’m saying. what i did say was that the thoughts and ideas i’m advocating won’t be satisfactory to you because of your position.

    jesus said to give caesar what is caesar’s, give god what is god’s. i think that pretty much sums it up. that’s how our interaction with the powers and principalities of this world should play out. that doesn’t negate the value of human government. rather it states the value of human government. it puts it in its place. jesus didn’t say that human government should be subverted on an overtly political level (i.e. revolution, treason, dissension) simply because it was human government. what he said was, essentially, “let them do what they want. we have more important things to attend to now. give them what is theirs if they want it. but remember, that is not your way of life.”

    i think that the talking about paul’s use of the colonist imagery may be helpful in eludicating something, at least. paul says that we are to be colonists of the kingdom of god. most people just assume that means, “act like this isn’t your home. your home is in heaven.” that’s a bad exposition of this concept. in rome, they would send colonists to different places (asia minor, north africa, europe) to help spread the roman way of life. these colonists did not go there to adopt the indigenous people’s way of life. they went there to live the roman way, showing the people there the “best” way of life. they were advocates for rome. they weren’t there to cowtow to the cultural norms of the nonromans, though they were to be perceptive to them.

    likewise, paul says that this is to be our position as colonists of the kingdom of god. maybe that helps in this discussion, maybe it doesn’t.

    i also want to be clear about the fact that these ideas aren’t esoteric in the least. and, as well, these concepts are the most practical concepts that can be discussed. this is about everyday living, your ethics. the things that shape your decisions. the kingdom of god (eschatology in general) should affect how we live our life more than just about anything. i’m not trying to discuss abstract philosophical categories. i’m trying to say, “here is how we’re called to live.” just because you don’t agree with what i’m saying doesn’t make it abstract or esoteric. these are ideas that people have been putting into practice all over the world for centuries.

    read this, too: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Howard_Yoder
    there’s a little bit about john howard yoder’s theology and ethics there, which is very similar to what i’m talking about. yoder was a big voice in anabaptist principles and things along those lines. n.t. wright also has interesting things to say that are very similar, though not quite anabaptist. stanley hauerwas, too. check him out.

    these aren’t things i’m going to be able to write down on a blog and persuade you about. it would be good to read some hauerwas, yoder, wright, maybe even ellul (though i’m not as down with ellul). and it would be even better to find some real living examples of these principles close to you, and talk to the people personally who are putting these things into practice.

    also, i agree with keith’s last post. much wisdom there. but don’t forget, within the church, a certain lifestyle is almost “a matter of law.” it is more about command and duty in love than just “laws we have to follow,” but nonetheless, it is the case. of course, this being the case within the church, where people have willingly subordinated themselves to these rules, it’s much different than trying to make it the case outside of the church.

  8. Ok, Sean, ok. It seems that we’re at a bit of an impasse here. You claim that I disagree with what you’re saying, but the fact of the matter is, I really don’t understand WHAT you are saying… chances are that I largely agree with the nature of your thoughts, but I still haven’t been able to illicit a response from you that deals with elements beyond a conceptual level (for instance, given you’re perspective, did you or did you not vote last week?)

    You challenge me to find individuals around me that are putting these “things” into practice, so there certainly must be understandable ways to put these “things” into practice. That’s what I’m trying to learn: what does this look like? I’d surely be interested in learning more if I could understand at least that much. But perhaps if I read through that laundry-list of authors, then I too will enjoy this literally unexplainable enlightenment.

    P.S. Thanks Zach for creating a venue where these types of discussions can take place. Sorry for taking up so much space on this thread!

  9. well, in lee camp’s book, he does use specific, real life examples of things that have really, actually happened. i will get some of them from the book when i get home, and i’ll post them on here later.

    http://www.rebaplacefellowship.org/ check that out, it’s a pretty fair explanation of what i’m talking about.

    and i’m sorry it’s been tough for you to get what i’m talking about. i understand that i haven’t quite explained myself too awful well. but it’s tough to articulate an entire worldview that is heavily nuanced in a blog comment. i would like to think that the complexities of life and how we see the world shouldn’t have to be beaten down to the lowest common denominator so that they can be transported from medium to medium, blog to blog. life and living it is tougher than that. however, i don’t really think that it is as hard to grasp most of what i’m saying as you make it out to be.

    i’m giving you principles and concepts. some of the things i’ve talked about (the model of the colonists, jesus statement about caesar, etc.) aren’t hard to work out practically. but they do go against our own nature and way of thinking. i can’t give you all of the concrete answers, because i can’t live out your life. the only way you can really get down to the nitty gritty of this stuff is by saying, “who am i swearing my allegiances to? what is at the base of my own worldview? what are my philosphical underpinnings? where am i oriented” and then you have to live your life out accordingly. most people, myself included, don’t want to ask these questions because the answers are scary. but if you want concrete answers to the questions you keep asking me, then look to yourself, not to me.

    i will tell you this, though. i did not vote. i purposely witheld my vote on two counts. one was theological and the other political (but both are related). theologically, as i’ve mentioned before, i feel that i have more important things to do within the kingdom than decide how the dead will bury their dead (to use a biblical picture). i don’t want to waste my time trying to get things done in the political sphere that won’t really help the mission of the church (which is to be the church, simply put). the government has different aims than the church. they want to be the people in power, influencing history. that is wrong. politically, i’m protesting the flagrant use of the church as nothing more than a means to an end. i’m trying to say to others in the church that we need to rethink our involvement in politics. either the church is used to make people act better (on the side of the republicans) or to make people feel better (on the side of the democrats), to paint in fairly broad strokes. that is bad. and the only way that the church is allowed to function within the american political system is by being a means to an end. that is not biblical. let us focus on our business and let the government focus on theirs. sometimes we will clash, and when that happens, it happens. it is inevitable. we are both trying to offer a way of life that is mutually exclusive of the other. if that means we get in trouble, so be it. if that means we get killed, so be it. it happened to jesus.

    while the following statement may be a bit cliché, i will throw it out there, because it does at least partially help shed some light on how i’m talking about living. “we shouldn’t be working to make abortion illegal, we should be working to make it unthinkable.” a tall, nigh impossible, order indeed. but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t aspire to it. obviously, that is only one of many things that we should work for (and not even necessarily something we should make an issue of preemptively). we should not seek to influence laws that may or may not “help people,” we should be forging relationships with people out there on the streets.

    but as i’ve said before, read the sermon on the mount. there isn’t much else to say about how the church is to be the church outside of that passage. the things jesus says in there aren’t lofty and abstract philosophical concepts. they are things we can work out practically in life (whether or not they “make sense” to those around us). the sermon on the mount is a hard read, to be sure. but that isn’t because the concepts are hard to grasp. it’s because they are hard to swallow.

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