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.