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Go the commies

Tony Campolo wrote a book called "we have met the enemy and they are partly right". In it he looks at other ideologies and pulls out what followers of Jesus need to learn from these worldviews. I recently stumbled across a letter on an old article written by Keith Green that was written by an American Student breaking off his engagement to his fiancee after converting to communism. I love the tone of the letter, and want to have the same passion for cause and teaching of Jesus that this young guy had for communism. There is a lot we could learn from this dude...

"We Communists have a high casualty rate. We're the ones who get slandered and ridiculed and fired from our jobs and in every other way made as uncomfortable as possible. A certain percentage of us get killed or imprisoned. We live in virtual poverty. We turn back to the Party every penny we make above what is absolutely necessary to keep us alive. We Communists don't have time or the money for many movies or concerts or T-bone steaks or decent homes and new cars. We've been described as fanatics. We are fanatics! Our lives are dominated by one great overshadowing factor - the struggle for World Communism.

"We Communists have a philosophy of life which no amount of money could buy. We have a cause to fight for, a definite purpose in life. We subordinate our petty, personal selves into a great movement of humanity. And if our personal lives seem hard or our egos appear to suffer through subordination to the Party, then we are adequately compensated by the fact that each of us in his small way is contributing to something new and true and better for mankind. The Communist cause is my life, my business, my religion, my hobby, my sweetheart, my wife and mistress, my bread and meat. I work at it in the daytime and dream of it at night. Its hold on me grows, not lessens, as time goes on. Therefore, I cannot carry on a friendship, a love affair, or even a conversation without relating it to this force which both guides and drives my life. I evaluate people, books, ideas, and actions according to how they affect the Communist cause and by their attitude toward it. I've already been in jail because of my ideas, and if necessary, I'm ready to go before a firing squad."

I love the passion, the emotion, and the reckless flavour of this letter, and it reminds me of those first times when you knew Jesus was real, where I was blown away by the holiness of this God. I really want (and feel like we are slowly getting back to some degree of "first love" in recent weeks) that totally crazy sense "living like a dead man" with a life totally given to the cause and person of Jesus.
On top of this, I would argue that the early church looks like Communism functioning pretty well, with "no one having need", and the sharing of possessions amongst the community, anyway it looks pretty similar to my un-trained eye (see Acts 2 vs 42 - 47).
Inspiring and challenging stuff

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“Go the commies”

  1. Anonymous Naomi Says:

    This is awesome, Sam.

    You know what a leftie I am and it still gets me excited when people start to link up the fundamental bones of Christian teaching and instruction with a tangible political ideology that can be applied and used for the good of others in our society today.
    In my view, Communism is an extreme way of living (not a bad thing), and while in essence is something I really support, the trip-wire here is that it's been tried out before and failed miserably. Darn human corruption screwing up everything. There is a solution here but for the sake of your and others sanity I will save it for a face-to-face in case I end up writing an essay.

    In short, I think there is a political ideology that has a workable compromise between neo-liberalism and communism - it is that of socialism and maybe even "The Third Way" or social democracy. Another challenge is to communicate to other Christians the link in this thinking and the teaching provided for us in the Word. It really puzzles me how so called "conservative" Christians support Republicans (in the US) or the National Party in NZ when their social policies are so apposed to biblical teaching. How could God ever approve of a Capitalist regime? And how did George Bush become the poster-boy for Christians with the kind of policies he supports? How did everything get so confused? Perhaps more important however is the question - what are we going to do about it?

    Great. Another sleepless night wrestling with my social conscience. Damn you Sam Harvey.

  2. Blogger P-Style Says:

    Naomi,

    I suspected you'd enjoy that post. However, I think promotign any political ideologies rather misses the point. Sam is not talking about how certain political systems make sense, but rather how similar the church can look to aspects of those ideaologies when it is working properly.

    I rue the day when our governments are handed full repsonsibility for the care and nuturing of society, be they communist, neo-liberal or 'third way'.

    Have you ever considered that perhaps some Christians lean to the right in terms of political ideology because it is here that they feel the Chruch has the legal freedom to be the social institution that it can without the heavy hand of government pressing on it's shoulders. (although I realise that this 'feeling' may not actually be based on a realistic approach to the known effects of government).

    As to what we are going to do about it. We should be doing what Jesus commanded us to do. That is to love and provide for those in need out of our own. And not to expect the Government (Rome) to do it for us.

  3. Anonymous Naomi Says:

    Haha. Ok mate. We've had this conversation before. You know I disagree with you and you know why.

    The End.

  4. Blogger P-Style Says:

    The end? Without my consent, how rude . . .

    "You know I disagree with you and you know why." How presumtuous.

    I behove you to point out exactly what I wrote that you disagree with ;)

    -teilpgb "Teil Peg Board" a new game for German children.

  5. Anonymous Naomi Says:

    Haha. You can behove me all you like mate, it's not happening.

    The reason being that I feel like we'd be hijaking Sams blog to have a big wanky rant about something tangental to the original post.

    We had this discussion on Thursday! Re: methodological individualism, rationalism and the supremacy of the free market.