state of South Carolina, we have a long history of not wanting anybody to tell
us what to do with our land, our possessions, or our money. This has created a
sense of fierce independence, as history bears out.
I live in a part of the country where the five-letter word taxes
is often used as a four-letter word. Folks around here are highly
skeptical of government even as they say we have the best government in
Noting that Jesus’ interlocutors in today’s gospel reading were truly
amazed at his answer, Stanley Hauerwas comments that it’s too bad
Christians have not been equally amazed. Rather than being amazed that
Jesus has come to usher in God’s reign, we are preoccupied with the
politics and rulers of the world.
It’s been widely assumed that a political ethic can be read in Jesus’ answer to “Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor or not?” and that the social location of the conversation can be ignored or considered irrelevant. But only the most interiorized notion of discipleship can be indifferent to the social circumstances in which discipleship is embodied.