…are we talking about the same guy?
The Jesus I know was a Jewish carpenter turned itinerant preacher with calloused hands who liked nothing better after a long day than to have dinner and a glass of wine with a large group of friends, acquaintances and anyone else who showed up. He very much enjoyed deep discussions about the meaning of what it meant to be fully human – to live with authenticity and compassion – to bring the “golden rule” to life every single day. He didn’t shy away from discussions about the plight of the poor or the oppressive rule of powerful authorities, whether religious or political.
Despite the fact that his words often cut to the quick of the soul of anyone listening, people were drawn to his authenticity and compassion. The Jesus I know definitely walked his talk, and folks wanted to follow him and be just like him – they craved to embody the same depth of humanity that he exuded.
Of course, those cutting words often cut the religious authorities the wrong way. Jesus never shied away from looking them straight in the eye and telling them they had missed the whole point of life – their rules bound people to misery instead of freeing them to live fully. They hated that he hung out with all the wrong folks, eating and drinking and raising the religious awareness of the lowest members of society. In fact, the hate was so deep they conspired with the political authorities (who were no less concerned about the unsettling impact this itinerant carpenter-rabbi might have on the masses) to kill him.
That is the Jesus I know.
I do not know the Aryan-ized, Pharisee-friendly, corporatist, nationalistic Jesus who laughs at racist jokes, proscribes narrow rules of morality based on sexual ethics, blesses profits while children go without food and water, and wraps himself in flags and endorses one political party over another. I do not know the Jesus who agrees that the lowest members of a society are “takers” or that food, shelter, healthcare, education, or any basic human need is a commodity best trickled down in measured doses via any economic system by the wealthiest to the neediest.
That Jesus I do not know. And don’t want to know.
Which Jesus do you know?