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Christian Boxing Match?

In Church and State, Recent Headlines on March 11, 2010 at 6:46 pm

 Ladies and Gentlemen, 

Thank you for joining us this evening at our boxing match. In this corner, we present Glenn Beck, in red shorts and mercifully wearing a shirt. In this corner, we present Jim Wallis, similarly attired, but with shorts of blue.
Face off, men.

Whoa! Wait one little Biblical day!

*Or less if you prefer since most of us may not live long enough to see an entire Biblical day if we believe the entire earth was created in seven of them.* 

Two Christian men fighting? Christians posturing and showboating to make their point. Can’t be. No, because when I read about Jesus, that guy who started this whole thing, this is about the furthest from What Jesus Would Do. Really. 

Jesus had many dissenters. Jesus had plenty of folks who did not agree with his message. They feared change as much as the Glenn Becks of this world. This would be the entire premise of the Pharisee and Sadducee stories in the New Testament. Not really Fair, you see, and truly pretty Sad, you see

Never once did Jesus call for His followers to rebel or sign petitions or even assemble in His name. He wasn’t like that. In fact, the Jesus we love once was driven to a cliff and merely walked through the crowd. The magic of Jesus was that he never “got in people’s faces” he merely stated what he saw, what was truth, and invited people to listen. 

We Christians spend an inordinate amount of time disagreeing with each other. We disagree about Baptism, Communion, and Marriage. We find reasons to tell each other we’re right and you’re wrong on a regular basis. We embrace our freedom of speech as freedom to judge. Yes, we are free to speak, but just because we can say anything we want, should we? Is it wise? 

We can argue all day and night about fine points. I thought to put them in this post and dissect one by one, but rather, I’m going to attempt to do what Jesus would do when challenged. I trust you are scholarly. I trust you know a lot of verses and quotes to tell me why either is right.

I contend that we need each other. We should not be dividing our house. We are Christians and we walk in the name of Jesus. 

Instead, I will ask you three questions: 

Who do you say He is?

What do you think we should do?

Are we behaving as Jesus would teach us?

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  1. I think you’ve got a good point about how frustrating it is to see Christians disagreeing and hurting each other. There is a time, though for overturning the money-changers tables in the Temple, I think. I actually think Jesus was an extremely divisive character. It depends a bit on which gospel you’re reading, but he’s pretty out-there with talking about dividing people into two groups, talking about throwing people into a lake of fire, etc. I think it comes down to, as you ask here, Who do you say he is? What does Jesus regard as good or evil?

    When I think about Gandhi, MLK, etc I think of some pretty divisive speeches. Perhaps they seem less divisive because we are in a new context that generally, though not always or fully, accepts some of their vision. But in their context, they were radical and pissed off other Christians.

    I loved our current president’s centrist rhetoric in the campaign, but there does come a time to say strongly, no, you’re wrong, and stop trying to reason with the unreasonable, and provide leadership. I know the difficulty is that some thing GB provides it, while others think JW provides it. But I don’t think we can get around that, just hope the majority of listeners comes to some kind of middle ground.

    I really agree with you about arguing about baptism, communion, etc. We need to figure out what is really worth dividing over and what is not.

    Thanks for the thoughtful post!

  2. #1. HE is a wrestler. (Genesis 32:24)
    #2. Stop posturing and take action. (Takedown, two points!)
    #3. We stopped “behaving” long ago…

    Forgive my levity, it is my disposition.

    I rely on THE WORD personally moreso than other peoples perspective/interpretation of it. I tend to over-simplify, but it works for me. GOD is LOVE. JESUS is FORGIVENESS.

    I do wish more Christians were compelled to take action in his name. Like you have!

    Thank you for this moment of reflection.

  3. I’m just so tired of infotainment as news and divisive drivel as a big money magnet. But really, it’s not Beck, it’s us. We give him and his vitriol an audience. We don’t have enough prominent progressives out there in the public eye (the media wants none of it. Only one way in the Christian path if you’re in the media of divisive drivel), so Wallis becomes the mouthpiece he is not for all of us.

    I’m tired of it. Sick, sick, sick of it. I understand why people felt that they needed to stand up in opposition to Beck, but really? Just ignore him. If we all collectively ignored the vitriol, the divisive b.s. tactics, these fools would die of atrophy.

    As for your questions,
    1. He is a healer, a rebel, love made flesh and a call to action.
    2. We should do as he commanded us, “I have but one commandment for you, love one another as I have loved you.” If we could manage that, nothing else would matter.
    3. No, of course not. The disciples didn’t either. We are broken and foolish but loved despite it. But FORTHELOVE, PEOPLE, we could at least TRY to behave as he commanded.

  4. HE is, God incarnate, the only begotten Son of God, our Saviour, our Rabbi, our advocate, and a servant.

    I think WE should familiarize ourselves with the Scriptures as we have been instructed. I believe we are expected to do so personally and not simply follow what our “pastor” tells us. Each of us is instructed in the first chapter of James, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, in faith believing…” IF we do so and IF we then follow the great advice therein our lives will be a blessing unto others and we too will be the servants we should be in this life. We, each of us individually, is accountable for our actions and our lives. None of us will ever find salvation on the coat tales of someone else.

    I don’t think any of us behaves as Jesus would expect us to. I am wont to say from time to time that the greatest enemy of Christianity is Christians themselves. If we made an honest attempt to understand scripture completely through prayer and meditation, believing we would receive one and anticipating an answer, and then implemented the prescriptions, commandments, and promises found therein, we would come much closer, I believe, to following the desires for each of us held by Jesus.

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