Browsed by
Category: Commentary

The Politics of Jesus 4: The Radical Thread in the Hebrew Scriptures

The Politics of Jesus 4: The Radical Thread in the Hebrew Scriptures

For most Christians, the Bible has a fundamentally conservative emphasis. A superficial reading of the Bible reveals a God who thinks of himself as a sort of Warrior King, who sanctions state enacted genocide, and who promotes a string of saintly kings, like King David. When Jesus arrives, it is to start a Kingdom of God that, apparently, seems content to co-exist with earthly rulership. In fact, Jesus himself says to “render to Caesar what is Caesar’s” and Paul advocates being good subjects to the governing authorities. Therefore, Christian radicalism is a contradiction in terms, right?  Furthermore, the sorts…

Read More Read More

American Jesus

American Jesus

Matthew 5:38-45 American Exceptional Version 38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, do not merely resist an evildoer. If anyone strikes you on the right cheek (or is even thinking about striking you on the right cheek), strike them down. Strike down their families. Strike down their villages. Strike down their nation, so that even their descendants live in fear. 40 If…

Read More Read More

In Defense of Extremism

In Defense of Extremism

I am frustrated with the widespread mental habit of equating being “extreme” with rigidity or fundamentalism. Being “extreme” simply denotes having a view that is towards the ends of a bell curve. Many current mainstream ideas were once extreme. And many mainstream ideas today will become, at some point, extreme. The popularity of an idea isn’t an indication of its rightness. Abolitionism, for example, was once an extreme view. In the early centuries of the American institution of slavery, the…

Read More Read More

May the Heavens be Torn

May the Heavens be Torn

The Baptism of Jesus is a serious deal to the Gospel writers. And for Mark it is one of three events where a voice speaks from heaven declaring Jesus to be the beloved Son with whom God is well pleased. Mark loads it with meaning, putting upon Elijah imagery evocative of Malachi, Isaiah, and Elijah. The baptism in the Jordan is reminiscent of the crossing of the Red Sea by Moses and the entering of the Promised Land by Joshua….

Read More Read More

The Rich Young Ruler

The Rich Young Ruler

A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’” “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still…

Read More Read More