Lately the Christian message of xenophobia, Islamaphobia, and "marching to war" has dominated the headlines and is the answer to all things different from and unlike the "westernized American version" of church civilization. This dire message is in the news media, preached on the political dias, and can be found throughout social media networks.
As a bystander observing the crazies of my Christian faith and the rashness of America's governmental leaders I might suggest that the Jesus of the Bible is one of "victim, and sufferer, and minister" to all the wrongs of society. And because of Jesus' apocalyptic vision of love and peace He was unjustly scapegoated and horribly crucified for his religious views and acts of ministry (sic, Rene Girard's Mimetic Theory of Scapegoating and Victimization).
Might I also suggest that this same Jesus is the one whose beloved disciple John looks forward to in the book of Revelation as the world is shown blowing itself up in the rage and turmoils of its economic, ecologic, and societal wars. That John envisions this "helpless God" once crucified as the "Lamb of God" to return as the "Lion of Judah" to end sin's judgment of evil behavior and acts of injustice. That in His coming Jesus will resurrect what He had begun before dying at the hands of His "religious" countrymen and secular governments.
And lastly, might I also suggest that rather than purposely hastening the "Coming of the Day of the Lord" through prayerful glee and unholy vindictiveness we might step back and consider the spiritual importance of the church's role as God's peacemaker, mediator, and arbitrator of sanity, to an insane world locked in its many apocalyptic versions of end-time religious battles, economic/ecologic woe, and civilization's collapse?
That perhaps the biblical future we tell ourselves, or imagine, is not the one we think we read and rant about. That those popular imaginings might be an incorrect view playing out our own hatred, fears, and racisms. That the conquering "Jesus of War" we envision striding through the bloody fields of our slain enemies might actually be a Jesus marching through the aftermath of what we have done to ourselves. A Jesus terribly angry, whose wroth would smite any refusing to relent of their hatred and anger to one another.
Now that would be a Jesus I think many of us may not wish to welcome. A Jesus who comes to judge all mankind and not just the ones we think He should judge. And isn't it written that Jesus will judge both the sheep and the goats? That He will open up "the books of deeds and of life" to find all those who acted - or didn't act - according to His Holy Will? And if so, then this is a truer picture of an end-time apocalypse than the one I hear so popularly preached defending our actions of economic usary, enslavement, greed, inhospitality, and callousness to the suffering and oppression of other society members, cultures, genders, and races. This is the kind of stuff we find in the books of James and 2 Peter judging our words and behavior with eternal consequences.
So then, my plea is that the church learns to hate war; seeks to make stronger efforts at waging peace with her enemies; and immediately forsake all sinful idols of self-righteousness and unholy anger. That we be in our own selves God's worthy lambs and emissaries speaking His words and acts of peace, love, mercy, and forgiveness. For without these holy jewels we are all the more impoverished and destined to self-destruction, perhaps eternally. And if this happens, then yes, all has been lost... even the eternal life which "the Prince of Life" had promised.
November 18, 2015
Tony Campolo - Religious Alternatives: Choosing Love Over Power
Tony Campolo - "Red Lettered Christians"