Posted by: rogermitchell | October 28, 2010

Africa and Europe

I am here in Abuja Nigeria where I was given the honour of declaring the Jubilee of Nigeria at the inaugural prayer breakfast of the Nigerian Parliament [why me?!]. So I did it in celebration of the extraordinary richness of Nigerians and their land, in the context of the substance of what Jubilee is all about. This as I see it and declared it is a return to the material, relational and creational purpose for the people that make up the corporate entity of Nigeria, based on Leviticus 25 but now fulfilled in the kingdom of God, that is embodied in the life, death and resurrrection of Jesus and available to all humanity in the Holy Spirit. As Nigeria go forward from here, and play their part in the future of Africa, I believe that they can demonstrate the way forward for Europe to. So all in all an exciting few days here!

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Responses

  1. I´m a bit surprised by this. I thougt your theology was heading towards anarchism, not towards the parliament. What is it that I have misunderstood and why? Any thoughts?

    • Thank you Jonas for your very direct response! I am not at all an anarchist, I believe the gospel is far more radical than that. What I am trying to do is reconfigure the way we understand power, which is the complete opposite of the way it is understood in the domination system that currently prevails. This is why we gladly went through the door that opened for us to cooperate with our Nigerian friends in repenting for the mixed seed that European and particularly British missionary and colonial initiatives brought into the continent. I will attempt to make this clearer in coming blog posts.

      • Well, I still don´t understand, and I hope (and feel) that what you are searching for isn´t just to re-formulate things. We need a new way of life, not just new theological thinking. Your post made me worried that you will be promoting connecting to the power structures of the world in the old tired constantinian way. I think christians should always avoid making alliances with the powers that be, and the power use by parliament and governments is ALWAYS a “power over”-kind of power, since it always relies on national borders, weapons and violence (military and police), judging (the juridical systemt) and hiearchy. What we need is power from below, power from the margins, the power of servandhood, of example, of direct action. And to avoid using hierarchy. In my opinion.

        That´s why I think christian theology would tend to an anarchist political stance (without worldly powers), as people like Dorothy Day (Catholic Worker), Leo Tolstoi, Jaques Ellul and Jesus Radicals have argued.

  2. Following Martin Scotts blog he is travelling to Nigeria as well?? (must be something going on up there??) As comment on the other comment by Jonas (not to take away from Roger’s reply…), I would say: we, as God’s people can’t endorse non-government/ non leadership. We need godly government and leadership for sure and there in Nigeria is a small beginning, where the inaugural Parliament is accompanied by prayer(!). Of course this is not fulness, but very much to be noted!! God’s kingdom will be on earth and will have strong, godly leadership to inaugurate it!!!

    • Thanks Gerrit, I agree with this, but [and this is a big BUT], we have to completely reconfigure what we mean by ‘government’ and ‘leadership’ and most importantly what we mean by ‘godly’ in this context. Views of authority, sovereignty and law that have not been developed through the incarnation [life, death, resurrection and ascension] of Jesus can sound Christian but are actually alien to the gospel. I will be developing this in the coming posts.

  3. What is going on in Nigeria at the moment? I know of another Minister – Peter Wilks who has strangely taken off to Naija in recent days. Is something going on there?

  4. By Godly government are we implying Christian nation? And if so what does a Christian nation look like for certainly we can’t possibly demand that everyone join our “club” – conforms to our theology. Early in US history, the Puritans, trying to establish a godly government, killed many of the native population. The colonial governor at the time said, “It’s too bad we couldn’t convert these Indians before we killed them.” Seems to sum up how many have viewed power within godly government. Starting off with noble, even inspired vision but resorting to manipulation and even violence as a justifiable way to protect the “colony.” To many people the idea of a Christian nation is a venue for oppression. In that regard we desperately need to reconfigure and redefine ourselves in light of the gospel. Can’t wait to read more, Roger, as you tackle these tangled world views.


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