Jesus was a revolutionary. Dear Christian– are you?

9 Nov

I’m resurrecting my super old WP blog to say some things too long for a Facebook status. I abandoned this long ago and have been only sporadically writing in my paper journal… While sometimes thinking guiltily of this dusty, lonely blog. I’m fairly certain fewer people will read this posted here than on FB, but perhaps it’s for the best as some of my friends might consider this passive aggressive anyway. I just can’t get into any more comment wars with people I care about and profoundly disagree with.

Here’s the gist of what I want to say. It makes me so angry and sad when I see Christians purposely and publicly stand against people who are being oppressed. Speaking ill of the character of strangers, thinking the worst of their motives, denying the pain of people who have experienced racism/sexism/ageism/ableism and calling them “whiners,” who simply need to “get over it.” Saying deliberately offensive things under the guise of being too honest for “political correctness,” or as some would call it– RESPECT. I see and hear Christians using public spaces to say these kinds of things, or to applaud others who say them. Not just occasionally but regularly. Not just in the general media but on the social media of people I know.

I can’t reconcile this with the life and teachings of Jesus.

Jesus was brown; while scholars still argue about exactly what he may have looked like, he was a Palestinian Jew according to scripture. Depictions of a white Jesus erase his Middle Eastern identity and are inherently racist. He was an undocumented immigrant child. He advocated for the rights of women in a time when women were considered chattel. During the time of his ministry, he had no safe place to lay his head. He depended on others for food and shelter. His disciples were unemployed men; they walked away from their jobs to follow him. He gave away free health care to all in need. He spent time with prostitutes and treated them with compassion. He broke bread with thieves. He told the wealthy to give generously to the poor with no conditions attached. He was CONSTANTLY calling out people who were pious and upright in public but had arrogant and judgmental hearts. Condensing some of these facts about Jesus, we could simply say that he was a revolutionary. He challenged and violated the norms of his culture. He treated the lowest people with respect and dignity. He spent time with them. He listened to them. He cared for them.

Followers of Jesus should be standing in solidarity with the same people that he did– the poorest, the most disgraced, those whose voices are silenced by people in power, those looked down upon due to their gender or ethnicity, and yes, even criminals. What does our Christian witness look like if we don’t follow Jesus’ example? It looks like people thinking that Christians are judgmental, hypocritical, sexist, racist, xenophobic, and hard hearted. And unfortunately, for many nonChristians I meet in America– that IS what they think about Christians and the Church.

I realize even this post is a sign of my own arrogance in judging other Christians and I will own that. But I want to challenge more people who say they follow Jesus to think about how they would treat him if they met him today.

Remember, he didn’t speak English either.

I’m honestly not trying to be obnoxious to politically conservative Christians by posting this. I believe what I have written here; I think the few links I have added to scripture make a case for why. I have often found myself frustrated trying to have this conversation in person and so writing it out has been a helpful exercise to process some of my anger and grief. I am tired of the culture wars. Jesus loved everyone. It’s time for his followers, myself included, to take up the yoke of that incredible challenge.

Love. ESPECIALLY love those who society doesn’t love. ESPECIALLY love oppressed people. ESPECIALLY love your enemy. Jesus taught it, Jesus did it. If you love Jesus then Go and do likewise.

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2 Responses to “Jesus was a revolutionary. Dear Christian– are you?”

  1. Lydia November 9, 2014 at 5:33 PM #

    soooo good. Thanks for all the reminders :) Love you friend!

  2. Julie Longacre November 10, 2014 at 12:14 PM #

    you’re a prophet, katie! i mean that. sometimes i wonder if we act the way we do because we have so much stuff to protect. it changes how we feel about everything. living as though this world is our home… i appreciate your challenge here. let’s do it!

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