Religion and Politics: a post for the pub

A snippet from Obery M. Hendricks Jr.’s The Politics of Jesus:

In his own time, Jesus was a strongly political figure who had a deep commitment to the economic, political and social well-being of his people. Yet in our time he has become meek, mild, and decidedly nonpolitical. How exactly did this remarkable transformation take place?

[…]

The belief that Jesus– or anyone else, for that matter, and particularly a person whose life was dedicated to the welfare of his people– could live for three decades in a social, economic, and political environment and yet be untouched by and unconcerned with the realities of that environment is a fantastic assumption.

Jesus was a revolutionary; a progressive acting on a stage of hunger, debt, poverty, and oppression. He was put to death for advocating social disruption and political revolution– not for the criticisms of any individuals. He spoke out against a system that didn’t work for people, and the Roman empire killed him for it.

As I begin looking ahead to January and the rest of the winter, this is where I am standing. Questions to ask include:

  • How did an American political movement take over, distort and corrupt the very character of Jesus and the fundamental revolutionary lessons he taught?
  • Why have we bought into such a skewed view of what it means to live out our faith?
  • Are we willing to be content with this? Are we comfortable with such a selfish view of the world?
  • When did Christian faith change from being an active, progressive verb to something tangible; a written rule-book? Is Christianity still a movement??

Most importantly, I hope this congregation is ready to look at how this shift in our contextual view of Christianity strips the already oppressed and poor (“the least of these”??) of the empowering example of Jesus’ response to the political, social, and economic situation in which he lived.

I hate to say it, but I truly believe the early Christians– who sacrificed so much– would be ashamed of the direction their movement has taken in many communities. Imagine if we started to view our religion as something more than a club– what if we became enlightened again to the idea that we’re part of a movement– a radical, progressive, ground-breaking movement meant for EVERYBODY who believes in the cause??

Ephesians 5:11-16

Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ.

Wake up from your sleep,
Climb out of your coffins;
Jesus will show you the light!
So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!

Stay safe, and be good to each other.

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2 thoughts on “Religion and Politics: a post for the pub

  1. Way to make me think and challenge long-held assumptions!

    I’ve heard Stephen Covey say that we need to “keep the main thing the main thing.” I was taught that the main thing was “The Great Commandment,” but we silly humans keep trying to impose our own personal or political agendas on God’s will.

    I guess that’s just our sinful nature, but it’s frustrating to observe it in others, and extremely humbling when I catch myself doing it (over and over).

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