Sunday, November 28, 2010

Romans 13 -- protective coloration

You need to be careful what you put in writing. For example, if you have wronged someone, and wish to apologize, to try to make things right, do so in person, if at all possible. A written confession can expose you and all you have to legal jeopardy. This reticence and caution applies even more to wired media. A new-hire attending a corporate orientation updated his Facebook account with a contemptuous remark about wasting his time in a boring meeting. He was looking for a new job before that meeting was over.

If you enjoy energetic conversations in public online forums, do not participate under your own name. Choose a screen name, an alias, such as RJR Fan.

And, if you think The Man might be reading your correspondence, a little bribe might be in order. Say something nice about the people in charge. A Pentecostal preacher addressed an audience in Haiti on faith healing. "God can also heal through the hands of dedicated physicians, such as the honorable Doctor Duvalier," he said, speaking of the crazed dictator who then ruled the island. The sermon was being monitored -- and the preacher suddenly found himself with fresh opportunities, new resources, and a wider audience.

Since Paul was writing a newsletter, a missive that would be copied and passed around among many people, it would probably come to the attention of a Roman magistrate at some point, and be examined for subversive content. That, I believe, is one reason for this chapter: a bribe to Nero's team.
Rom 13:1 Herkes, baştaki yönetime bağlı olsun. Çünkü Tanrı'dan olmayan yönetim yoktur. Var olanlar Tanrı tarafından kurulmuştur.
Rom 13:2 Bu nedenle, yönetime karşı direnen, Tanrı buyruğuna karşı gelmiş olur. Karşı gelenler yargılanır.
Rom 13:3 İyilik edenler değil, kötülük edenler yöneticilerden korkmalıdır. Yönetimden korkmamak ister misin, öyleyse iyi olanı yap, yönetimin övgüsünü kazanırsın.
Rom 13:4 Çünkü yönetim, senin iyiliğin için Tanrı'ya hizmet etmektedir. Ama kötü olanı yaparsan, kork! Yönetim, kılıcı boş yere taşımıyor; kötülük yapanın üzerine Tanrı'nın gazabını salan öç alıcı olarak Tanrı'ya hizmet ediyor.
Rom 13:5 Bunun için, yalnız Tanrı'nın gazabı nedeniyle değil, vicdan nedeniyle de yönetime bağlı olmak gerekir.
Rom 13:6 Vergi ödemenizin nedeni de budur. Çünkü yöneticiler Tanrı'nın bu amaç için gayretle çalışan hizmetkârlarıdır.
Let's look at verse 4. The key word is yönetim, which being interpreted means "administration. management. direction. government. oversight. regimen. rule. running. stewardship. superintendency. trusteeship." Ama kötü olanı yaparsan, kork! If / evil / things / if you do, / be afraid!

Christians had additional reasons for loudly shouting, "HEY! We are good, docile, loyal, tax-paying folks who wish the politicians well!" In Acts 18:2, we read about a couple Paul attached himself to who were refugees from Rome:
Act 18:2 Orada Pontus doğumlu, Akvila adında bir Yahudi ile karısı Priskilla'yı buldu. Bunlar, Klavdius'un bütün Yahudiler'in Roma'yı terk etmesi yolundaki buyruğu üzerine, kısa süre önce İtalya'dan gelmişlerdi. Akvila ile Priskilla'nın yanına giden Pavlus, aynı meslekten olduğundan onlarla kalıp çalıştı. Çünkü meslekleri çadırcılıktı.
All of the Jews had been ordered out of Rome, at an earlier point in time. A contemporary pagan historian explains that this was because of "riots concerning the god Chrestus." Time after time, in Paul's ministry, Jewish agitators stirred up mob violence against the gospel. Apparently, it was the message itself which provoked them -- Paul had not had time to get to Rome yet, and already Christians were blamed for making waves.

A generation later, in 112, noted writer Pliny the younger cracked down on this "bad superstition" in his capacity as governor of the Anatolian province of Bithynia. In an effort to be fair, he released any prisoners who formally denied being Christians.
They called upon the gods, and supplicated to your image, which I caused to be brought to me for that purpose, with frankincense and wine; they also cursed Christ; none of which things, it is said, can any of those that are ready Christians be compelled to do.
But what were these curious creatures up to? According to those who claimed to have been Christians --
However, they assured me that the main of their fault, or of their mistake was this:-That they were wont, on a stated day, to meet together before it was light, and to sing a hymn to Christ, as to a god, alternately; and to oblige themselves by a sacrament [or oath], not to do anything that was ill: but that they would commit no theft, or pilfering, or adultery; that they would not break their promises, or deny what was deposited with them, when it was required back again; after which it was their custom to depart, and to meet again at a common but innocent meal, which they had left off upon that edict which I published at your command, and wherein I had forbidden any such conventicles. These examinations made me think it necessary to inquire by torments what the truth was; which I did of two servant maids, who were called Deaconesses: but still I discovered no more than that they were addicted to a bad and to an extravagant superstition.
Bottom line? God may place us under bad leaders, as a chastisement for our sins against Him. However, even leaders have a standard to meet. See verse 3:
İyilik edenler değil, kötülük edenler yöneticilerden korkmalıdır.
Good things / whose who do / not, / evil things / those who do / from the rulers[1] / it is necessary to fear. A ruler who punishes good people (like us obedient, tax-paying, Christians!) while ignoring evildoers, is not living up to his job description.


[1] Korkmak -- to fear -- is one of those minority of Turkish verbs that expects its direct object to be indicated by the -dan/-den/-tan/-ten suffix. Be sure to pronounce the second k when you notice aloud that a Turkish friend fears dogs -- köpekten korkiniz. If you say "köpekten koriniz," you've just told your new friends that they smell like dogs!

No comments: