Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Politics of Jesus

I found a crazy picture on Facebook the other day, portraying Jesus as the Savior of the United States of America.  Ironically he's surrounded only by Americans (I guess he didn't save anyone else), of whom the drastically large majority are white or Anglo-European Males. [Click on the photo for a larger version]

He's also dressed in what my eyes looks like the outfit the king wears at the end of the LOTR Trilogy: The Return of the King.  I'm not sure that's appropriate, authentic or kosher according to the historico-critcial exegetical tradition.  Compare the pictures for yourself.

It's located on a website that turns this picture into an educational opportunity, or a propaganda tool (depending upon your perspective).  LINK.

My question in the end is about the politics of Jesus (a book I'm currently reading).  Why is it that we so often say that Jesus wasn't political, that Church \ Religion shouldn't, isn't, political.  Yet everything that Jesus did in the gospels seems to be political, exposing the abuse of the powers, the deception of violence as an objective power, the vision of "them" versus "us" in terms of culture, race, ethnicity and socio-economic status.  Yet somehow in America, even within what we call the "multicultural" church we tend to see Jesus through a purely American lens, as if he belongs to the Democratic or Republican party or was the original framer of our constitution.  Ironically he was killed because of his non-violent refusal to embrace nationalism.  Why is it that we today want to use him to undo his original, timeless, message in order to serve as propaganda crutch for our nationalistic, tribalistic and\or enthocentric political agendas.  Shouldn't faith be larger than just a party that seeks to get everyone under a "big tent," appoint righteous candidates in a religiously-based-nepotistic way, or force religious observation on others?  What was Jesus talking about when he said give to Ceasar what is Ceasar's and to God what is God's?  I don't think he was saying that they're too different realms, or merely speaking in a spiritualized, metaphorical way.  Why do we struggle to recognize that the Good News of the Gospel is good news because it changes our world, not just the silence in our hearts?

Somehow we're missing something when we simply associate Jesus as a card carrying member of the NRA.

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