Update (3/8): This little seemingly inconsequential post caused quite the comment thread on Facebook and represented every reason I’ve started this series. I got challenged and my view of the book of Esther got broadened more than I ever could have imagine. I’ve reproduced those comments below.
In every province, wherever the king’s command and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting and weeping and lamenting, and most of them lay in sackcloth and ashes. —Esther 4.3
Notice here that when the Jews are faced with political persecution, and an actual existential threat from the political authority, their response is not activism, nor violence, nor lobbying, it is instead to pray, weep, lament, fast, and cry out to God, their true king and political leader.
Mordecai also gave him a copy of the written decree issued in Susa for their destruction, that he might show it to Esther, explain it to her, and charge her to go to the king to make supplication to him and entreat him for her people. —Esther 4.8
Well…Okay, okay. I see that only a few versus later, Mordecai does try to appeal to Esther, the political insider, to lobby on behalf of her people. So, that sort of goes against what I just said above.
But, notice that they still did not use violence or mass political demonstrations or mobilization. They peacefully engaged those from their community who were specifically equipped to engage politically. They didn’t see themselves as primarily political creatures, nor their problems primarily as political problems, nor the answers primarily as political solutions. The political piece was merely one facet in the kaleidoscope of human experience through which God works his will, and not even the main one.
My not-so-subtle point: the Evangelical obsession with political activism and using politics to accomplish (what they view as) the goals of the Kingdom are anti-biblical and find no basis in Scripture.
See other Marginalia here. Read more about the series here.
[image credit: “Esther and Mordechai write the Second Letter of Purim” by Arent de Gelder]