Reflections of a Broken Man


Obama: A New Hope? by StephenMac
November 6, 2008, 9:31 am
Filed under: Reflections | Tags: , , , ,

**still listening to New Surrender… iTunes tells me that I listen to this album ten times more than any other music in my collection… including the rest of the Anberlin collection**

(h/t Byron for his thoughts on this topic)

In preparing for my sermon on evangelism and the churches role in mission (yes, conflating two distinct topics…) I was struck by Jumbo’s FB status which said that he was “watching the world crave a saviour”. Within two hours of Obama’s victory, stock markets all over the world were reporting increases. Rob Henderson, head of market economics with National Australia Bank in Sydney, said: “Well, it can’t be negative for markets. It’s a vote for change and has to inject a degree of optimism that America can again reinvent itself.”

obama1“A degree of optimism”… well, according to the SMH, Kenyans are so optimistic that they declare today to be a national holiday…

I don’t want to sound cynical, but I would have to suggest that the world is seeking a saviour, and the rhetoric of American exceptionalism (with all due respect to my American readers) seems to point the world to this. I am by no means claiming that Obama genuinely thinks that he is the salvation to all the world’s ills, but it seems to me that the world over is seriously looking not just to Obama, but to a “reinvented America” to solve the world’s problems. The world craves a messiah.

The American election received attention the world over. I’m ashamed to admit that there were quite a few number here at college who spent the day in front of the TV, not playing the xBox or Wii, but watching the election coverage. This is news that the whole world wanted to know. This is news that the world thought important enough that they should pay serious attention to.

Barack Obama, despite now being the most powerful man in the world, leader of the most powerful nation in the world, has got nothing on Jesus. And yet, the world still cries out for a saviour. News about Obama’s victory spread rapidly around the world – how quick are we to tell people of the news of the victory of Christ, a real saviour, who brings real change, whose leadership is not four, or even eight years, but eternity? This news is the Gospel. This news will bring real change and real hope.

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6 Comments so far
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If Barack is the New Hope, with whom shall the Empire Strike Back? 🙂

I’ll go back to study now.

Comment by Jason

Elequently put. I found the messianic zeal surrounding this (and probably many other) election(s) depressing. As you point out, this is looking in the wrong place for a saviour.

… and I wonder how people will feel when he makes his first big mistake.

Comment by Daniel Saunders

Though I’m critical of the hype and the misplaced (quasi-) messianic expectations, I still think this was an important election and that there are some “small” hopes now possible as a result.

Thanks for the link!

Comment by Byron

Cheers Byron. Thanks so much for your article (for those who haven’t read it, may I seriously recommend it). Regarding the “small hopes”, sure, this election is obviously a backlash against the current Bush administration, and so people are hoping that Obama will not be another Bush. Yet there was an air of optimism in the immediate aftermath of the result, and it is this I question. The myth of American Exceptionalism is a term I heard at uni from an American lecturer, who pointed out that America sees itself as a saviour-type nation. As “anonymous” pointed out on your blog, this is a stereotype of America, yet from the reactions of “the world”, it seems it’s one that “the world” accepts.

While I don’t doubt minor change, the world expects great things… just from a man, and not from the God who is actually able to implement real change…

Thanks again Byron

Comment by StephenMac

You’re right – he will disappoint. He will not heal the world as his rhetoric has suggested. But he might be considerably less bad than the alternative. And for that, I am thankful (and hope and pray). Can’t there be a little optimism?

Comment by Byron

Touche. Yet, this blog is titled “Reflections of a Broken Man”… Did you really expect optimism? 😛

But yes, he does seem to be better than the current alternative, and the US seems to agree too. And I think that as responsible Christians, we should all be thanking God, and hoping, and praying for real change.

Thanks Byron!

p.s. Love your stuff on ethics (Starting with Christ: the limits of neutrality and Ethics is good news)… I’ll have to have a serious sit down and think after exams… I wrote an honours thesis on just war theory in small wars which I am interested in resurrecting and perhaps publishing. I have a feeling those posts will definitely come in handy. Cheers!

Comment by StephenMac




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