Politics of Jesus (part 1)


I was discussing the recent conflict between Israel and Hezbollah with a friend.

My friend and I disagreed on several key points.

He was upholding the view that God continues to give Israel special standing in the world and the promised land. I was pushing the other side of the argument, that the true Israel is one that understands God is not bound by land or temples or anything made by hands, that God wants all creation, all nations to enter his family, that our persistence in U.S. nationalist interests that endorse Zionist interests can and does bring injustice in the world.

My friend believes recent events are part of the end-times prophecies and he suggested that we are within a few years of the end of the world. I told him that I want to be ready today, that the certain message that I’ve seen in Scripture is to be prepared, and I wondered aloud to him if all the end-time prophecies by modern day televangelists and writers is not a waste of time and effort.

He was disturbed by my non-orthodox views that would try to observe and act fairly to all people regardless of race, Iraeli or Arab, slave or free, American or German, Greek or Jew. He was disturbed that I do not take prophecies in Scripture as signs of the end times today. I had told him that often prophets were concerned for events of their day, to preach God’s disciplinary message, to redeem both Israel and all nations.

I’m concerned often with the tone of conversations I have because they think I’m a heretic and I think they have bought into lies propogated by Evangelical Christianity that has been co-opted by U.S. nationalism and Republican interests.

I made a plea to my friend to look at Jesus for model of how we react, think, act in political life. He replied that “Jesus was more about the personal, Spiritual life . . . ” I don’t agree. I told him I think everything Jesus did was political. Politics means what we do in public. We operate with a distorted view of politics, so we discount the politics of Jesus or fail to realize he has anything to say about public life. I believe he does.

In the coming posts I’ll share what I’m learning as I read the Gospel of Luke. I asked my friend to read Luke again and begin to lift the glasses of Evangelical American Middle Class culture. It’s not easy but that’s the challenge. I’m reading Luke because Wade is preaching from Luke and I’ve taken the challenge to read on my own, internalize, memorize, live into Jesus’ teachings there, Jesus’ life that’s found on those pages.

By Greg Taylor Posted in General

3 comments on “Politics of Jesus (part 1)

  1. I have to agree that politics is totally part who we are. Being a follower of Christ is the reason behind every decision we make whether spiritual, personal, emotional, political, social, etc.
    But just like a board spectrum of Christian brothers and sisters will have a broad spectrum of biblical interpretations, the same is true in our interpretations of how Jesus intended us to live that.
    I think of the song “Wayfaring Stranger”. I’m going there and that’s at the heart of all matters.

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  2. Greg…have you read the book “God is not…” it’s quite thought provoking… Also, Mark Love put together a panel on this very thing as a main session at ACU in September. It’s something a lot of people are thinking about.

    Personally, it feels (though feelings are often wrong) that people fall into two camps:
    1) the depressed, America does nothing right and everything wrong camp. They cheer when there is a setback for the military and Iraq…feeling it’s a demonstration that we are in the wrong.
    2) The camp that believes America can do no wrong. America is God’s country, to them, and what we do is a reflection of what God would want done on the earth. Capitalism is a theonomic for them, and “personal responsibility” is the only grid by which to judge a person or country’s “worthiness” for receiving help.

    There are obviously points all in between the two camps.

    Here is what I do believe saddens God: the decline of civility in dialogue about subjects like these.

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  3. I can’t believe you captured my thinking so well, especially as it relates to the Israeli-Hezbollah war in the Mideast. I keep trying to imagine Jesus using artillary or jets loaded with bombs to make his peace with humanity.

    How can Republicans, evangelicals and so-called conservatives continue to bask in such killing … and do it all in the name of patriotism, freedom, God and of course, protecting the chosen people of the Israel.

    You are quite right, Greg. There are no boundaries, no elected parliaments, no cultural nationalities that gain an advantage with the Father above. He chose us — all of us, before we were created, to be His chosen hands, hearts, voices, ears and feet. Wherever we go is Beulah Land because Jesus came to free us from the ordinances that were against us, the silly rules that were impossible to obey and the principalities and powers of this earth.

    Why can’t we see Him? He is so vividly standing above the frey, weeping over our wars, waiting to be invited into hurting hearts that simply cry out to Him. Can you, for one minute, see Jesus pushing a button that would launch a missle through the air and kill three dozen children with one blast?

    Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called Children of God.

    That beatitude might well be reversed: Blessed are those who are Christians, for they will always be the peacemakers of the earth.

    Or, is that too liberal?

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