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4.09.2006    |    Jesus the politician
The protean Gary Wills is at it again, today in a serious op-ed in the New York Times. The piece was doubtless prompted by the left's darling, The Hillary, and her recent tone-deaf comments on Jesus.

Wills' own politics are left-of-center, and he's not shy about bashing his own Catholic faith. So, when he starts railing against bringing Jesus into the public square, it's a pretty sure bet that his primary targets are conservatives.

Here's what shocked me after reading the op-ed: Wills is right on the mark. Jesus' gospel is not about politics. It is not about going to church and singing in the choir. It is not about having a creche at city hall, or a display of the Ten Commandments in a public building. It is solely about accepting Jesus Christ as your savior, and knowing that he died a heinous death so that we might live.

The details of the gospels are, as Wills rightly points out, not very politic. It's even worse than what is posed, of course, since Wills omits that Jesus will return to judge the living and the dead. And that judgment will include burning unbelievers "with unquenchable fire" (Matthew 3:12). But, I was pleased to see the op-ed, as it's a good antidote to the usual fluffy bunny Christians who come out this time of year with their Peeps and chocolate bunnies, averting their eyes from any notion of the pain and suffering that Jesus endured.

As for Jesus in politics, Wills is spot-on:
If Democrats want to fight Republicans for the support of an institutional Jesus, they will have to give up the person who said those words. They will have to turn away from what Flannery O'Connor described as "the bleeding stinking mad shadow of Jesus" and "a wild ragged figure" who flits "from tree to tree in the back" of the mind.

He was never that thing that all politicians wish to be esteemed — respectable. At various times in the Gospels, Jesus is called a devil, the devil's agent, irreligious, unclean, a mocker of Jewish law, a drunkard, a glutton, a promoter of immorality.

The institutional Jesus of the Republicans has no similarity to the Gospel figure. Neither will any institutional Jesus of the Democrats.
Jesus is Lord of all. It is demeaning and insulting to think that He's on your side in earthly matters, that any group or political party has a monopoly on Him.

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.