Folk singer Pete Seeger recently turned 90 and the New York Times did an interesting story on his birthday party/concert. While I am not a huge Seeger fan, he was largely influential on many of the musicians love so I took the time to check it out. I was very surprised to see that President Obama was mentioned almost as much as Seeger throughout the article. Consider the concluding paragraph:
"Mr. Seeger led the crowd in “Amazing Grace,” calling out lines in a spooky, hole-filled, appealingly weathered voice. It was one of several brawny, moving exercises in mass vocalizing: “We Shall Overcome,” “This Land Is Your Land,” “Well May the World Go,” “This Little Light of Mine.” (No “Kumbaya,” though — something of a relief.) Ninety years after Mr. Seeger’s birth, 50 or so years after the height of the folk music movement, 40 years after the civil rights movement, and 104 days after the swearing-in of the country’s first black president, those songs no longer sound defiant or expectant, but instead matter-of-fact."
Although I am certainly not a ultra-conservative Obama-hater, this line of thinking greatly disturbs me. This article, like much of the American population, seems to be looking to the President as a Messianic figure who will usher in an Utopian society where everything we have hoped for will happen. That may be a little hyperbolic, but I honestly thought that this sort of media hype would have died down post inauguration.
The crazy thing is that I do believe in a coming Kingdom where our wildest hopes will be true. Indeed, this land will be your land and my land and evil will be overcome. I also am looking a man that establishes this Kingdom- but I believe it is someone who has already inaugurated this work.
However until Jesus Christ returns, we live in the tension of an already-but-not-yet Kingdom. Because of what Jesus has done on the cross we have been restored to live out the kingdom (cf the Sermon on the Mount), but until he returns we will still struggle with sin and live contrary to the Kingdom.
History is moving towards a telos, but I do not believe this consummation will be fulfilled by any human government or political leader.