Defunding the City of Man

In political, social and economic life, there is no “neutral” ground. Good and evil are competing for control of the same institutions (political bodies, corporations, education, the arts and entertainment) because those institutions matter. We live our lives within them, and they shape the world around us.  They can help bring us closer to God or pull us away from him.

The key is to understand the nature of the competition for social life and our role as Christians within the temporal sphere.

Recently, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis hosted a “playful demon summoning session” for families, where children were invited to create a trap for their own demons so they could get to know them better. Walker Art Center’s description of the event reads as: “(d)emons have a bad reputation, but maybe we’re just not very good at getting to know them.” Alpha News called attention to the event in an Aug. 11 online article.

The event is a good reminder that the battle we wage in this life is a spiritual one against the powers and principalities who wish to enslave the world. St. Augustine called this contest one between the City of God and the City of Man. They are two cities, with two loves and two aims.

One city, the City of Man, seeks to devour the Father’s creation and condemn his children into a life of slavery to sin and fear of death. Satan and his legion of demons have a special desire to devour the youngest and most vulnerable — embodied today in the forms of child abuse, sex trafficking and abortion.

The other city, the City of God, seeks to bring all into right relationship with God the Father and with each other through his son Jesus Christ — a true king, savior and liberator from the powers that control this world.

Both cities are competing for our hearts and minds, our institutions and all of God’s creation.

What does this have to do with what happens inside the Minnesota Capitol? We see our state dollars going to divisive organizations more often than we would like. The demon-summoning session at the Walker Art Center may even have been funded with our tax dollars, since the museum receives millions of dollars per year from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Renewed in our minds through Christ (cf. Rom 12:2), we must see our task as not giving over an inch to the kingdom of Satan — meaning that we must not cede control of society’s institutions, including political institutions, to those who, wittingly or unwittingly, have become his servants.

It is important to remember that those who are enthralled to dark forces are not our enemies. What they need is to be liberated by the grace of Jesus Christ and his army of angels. Thus, like the first Christians in the Acts of the Apostles, we are called by the power of the Holy Spirit to bring the love of Christ to our enemies and help free them from the power of sin and death.

Perhaps proactive laity will work to have the Walker Art Center defunded and help ensure these sorts of troublesome public programs are not promoted further by other institutions receiving public money. In other cases, we will use the power of the dollar to not support corrupt businesses.

This task might seem daunting, but we must remember that we have a savior, and it is not us. The battle has been won, and we must have the confidence of those early Christians, greatly outnumbered. We are merely called to be faithful and bring the same sacrificial love that Christ showers upon us to those around us — which includes our proactive participation as disciples in social, economic and political life.

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