Is This What Jesus Taught? Show me where.

I just watched a documentary on the Evangelical church in the USA. Can’t say I was exactly estatic for the faith after seeing the show – and some of the absolute mis-nomers I seen being taught and thought – as the true teachings of Jesus.

(1) Jesus’ name: There was a variety of different methods being used to push the gospel and get conversions – and all of them stake their claim in Jesus and his teachings. They must have shown about 10 various ministries and all of them more unique than the last (a comedian, rodeo, wrestling, creationists, protests, poltical agenda’s, putting up $25,000 crosses, huge rallies, a car show, skateboarders, etc). It got me thinking – how much of this is actually in the gospel message? If you look closely – not a single one of these ideas came from the original message.

(2) Politics: Why are Christians so ‘hell-bent’ on joining this faith with politics and spouting useless rhetoric like ‘let’s take this country back for God’? People like Falwell, Dobson, and others think this is one of the core mandates of the faith – heck, the Evangelical union helps to register all their congregants (and supplies them with the platform of the candidates according to what they label ‘Christian Values’). There is a very strong tie between Evangelicals and politics – and I am left speechless on the issue.

All I ask is one simple thing – show me where the gospels or the letters back this idea – and I will follow suit. It seems to me this an addition by the Evangelical church into the faith – as a direction – more than it is from the gospels/letters. The teachings seem to point more to working with people in a supportive level – locally and personally – than about swaying political agenda’s. Why mix your faith with Capitalism? – When the faith is more communal in nature. If politics was the answer I think the gospels would of mentioned that – however – they do not. I have to side with the teachings – and the teachings seem to proport the idea of acceptance, invitation, working as a support system, and working on behalf of one another – in such a way as to help those depleted and drained in society from the prisoner to the poverty stricken.

(3) Money: I couldn’t believe the amount of money being spent by the Evangelical’s on petty and useless things – like rallies, crosses, protests, cars, buildings, etc. I mean some of those political agenda’s and rallies were costing a pretty penny (one event even had fireworks). They booked the finest stadiums, had the finest press releases, and got some of the best entertainment – all of this adding up into the hundreds of thousands of dollars – dare I say, millions?

Simple question – where is this type of monetary extravagance in the teachings of Jesus? Show me and I will also donate to these ‘worthwhile causes’? I can’t find this type of teaching anywhere in the gospels – but it’s very prevalant in the Capitalist manifesto’s. So who’s fooling who here? All the teachings of Jesus seem to reflect that money is not what we want to gain in this life (nevermind churches storing it up for these big events) – but life is more important than money. Why isn’t this money being spent on worthwhile programs for people depressed, drug addicted, poverty stricken, disabled, elderly, etc…I mean, that’s life right there. Isn’t the biblical teaching about investment in other people and not about ourselves (or our agenda’s)?

(4) Salvation: The whole ordeal of this money spending and variety of gospel messages was about one simple thing – conversion or change. I am all for the salvation of the individual but I think the church is missing the mark here – these ‘one night stand’ conversion events. Isn’t our version of salvation a little deeper than that or more sacred than a ‘simple prayer’? Where is this version of salvation in the gospels? I mean people got ‘saved’ but the communities were a lot smaller – and if I am correct – in Acts they shared all they had with one another – they took care of each other (again – a support group). To me, conversion is a process and it takes time to create a whole new paradigm for life – do these big events provide that kind fo attention to detail?

(5) Acceptance: Mel White, a former ghost-writer for Jerry Falwell, was on the video also. He talked about his ‘coming out of the closet’ and how he still attends Jerry Falwell’s church – even though he is banned. He wants to know what they are saying and what their next political campaign against him is. I watched that in absolute horror and dismay – this attitude of self-righteousness and bitter hatred – where is this in the gospels? I saw Mel crying in the crowd, a man that loves his faith, and I couldn’t help but well up also – they treat this guy like he’s already dead. I just imagine that Mel see’s the same thing I do – crying for the people that are so hard-hearted they can’t even stop to pretend to care about people un-like themselves.

I commented after I seen the show ‘I wonder if Jesus was to walk into one of their services if they’d even recognize him?’. Then I realized ‘whatever you do unto the least of these (my brothers), you have done it unto me’.

I’d gladly shake Mel’s hand and invite him in to any place I went. I’d gladly take my money and donate it to people in society that are struggling. I’d gladly lay my life down to see another human have as much chance to succeed as I did. But I won’t lay my life down for a system that rejects ‘the least of these’ and does so with justification that can only be explained as additions to the teachings of Christ. I ain’t no skeptic – I’m just saying ‘show me where’?

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “Is This What Jesus Taught? Show me where.

  1. Oh man, you are preaching to the choir society. The fact that this kind of shameful stuff is even allowed to make it to mainstream Christianity at all (let alone in such a prevalent and bold manner) is the whole basis of my harsh stand on our institutions. While I don’t believe we Christians should be pushing morality on secular society, I think we have a duty to address those who call themselves followers of Jesus yet they disregard all that He taught and exampled. I am afraid they will one day here Jesus say;

    “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? Luke 6:46

  2. Brother, that was a wonderful post! Evangelical Christianity has so ingrained itself into our society that it is seen as the only choice! It’s sickening to say the least. We have Christian music, Christian television, Christian bookstores and on an on! What we don’t have is the truth!!
    Keep shaouting it from the rooftops, brother!

  3. Do you remember the woman who broke the perfume vase over Jesus’ feet? Judas was indignant and demanded that the perfume should have been sold and the money given to the poor.

    Of course, Judas didn’t actually care at all about the poor. He just wanted to look really altruistic and spend the money later.

    I would rather put my money into a revival any day of the week! I do care about the poor, but it is written man does not live by bread alone …

  4. “Why mix your faith with Capitalism? – When the faith is more communal in nature?”

    Paul says that he who does not work should not eat. And a worker deserves his wages …

    The Kingdom of God doesn’t mean the “haves” should be forced into handing over what they have (although in death everyone will hand over everything) and give it to the “have-not”s. It means they should not put their trust in their riches.

    That will all be sorted out later. Lazarus told the rich man that he was rich in the last life but now he isn’t so he should not complain. That doesn’t mean humans should try to equalize all the property in the world.

    Christian giving means giving in a spirit of love. The materialistic doctrines of socialism don’t care a lick about love or anything spiritual.

  5. “Do you remember the woman who broke the perfume vase over Jesus’ feet? Judas was indignant and demanded that the perfume should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” (BB)

    Contextually, this lady loved Jesus and Judas’ remarks were out of bitterness to this lady – and he was pilfering the cash for his own use – ie – Judas didn’r care about Jesus (so much as he did the money). But the real question is – I am saying this in my ‘rant’? Do I look like Judas to you? Do I want the 30 shekels of silver to crucify my Lord – again? I would say the context of that story and the context of mine are quite dis-similar.

    “I would rather put my money into a revival any day of the week! I do care about the poor, but it is written man does not live by bread alone …” (BB)

    Why? What if better altervatives could be developed for all that cash spent at ‘revivals’ or other meetings – for ministries directed at those in society suffering? Is there better ways of spending all the money that goes into ‘revivals’ for helping people in a more tangible/personal way? These are the questions I raise becuase if no one does – then no one looks for alternatives or to develop new programs.

    But I am curious about this saying and how it relates to the convo ‘man does not live by bread alone…”?

    Also, does Paul or any of the disciples seem to promote any system of gov’t? (Capitalist or socialist)

    “The Kingdom of God doesn’t mean the “haves” should be forced into handing over what they have” (BB)

    I find it funny the choice of the word ‘forced’ – is it really that much of an endeavor for rich people to give to the ‘have nots’?

    “That will all be sorted out later. Lazarus told the rich man that he was rich in the last life but now he isn’t so he should not complain” (BB)

    Later huh? Why not now? We are all in the same place now. We all live under the same gov’ts now. We all face the same conditions in life now – some less fortunate. It seems a little callous for churches to be sitting on a lot of ‘money’ and not try relieve people that are suffering – right now. As for later – well – if the church takes that view it can retty much justify any action – in regards to the latter (or after-death).

    I guess what I am asking is quite simple – how much of these ideals are we writing in from church tradition, American tradition, and politics. You have given me some scripture and even in that (ie: Lazarus story) some of the points behind the passages are used to defend what I see as blatant mis-management of scripture by the church as a whole entity (so scripture is used to defend some of the churches mis-nomers). Is this true? Is the church using the bible to back anything they so choose as ‘the will of God’?

  6. Hi Svs,

    I wasn’t saying you were like Judas (if socialism is indeed your opinion, I didn’t know). You said you do actually care about people, and I think I know you well enough to know this is true.

    On the other hand I am totally convinced the proponents of alternatives to capitalism are have no concern for the people whatsoever … Lenin, Marx, Jong Ill. Their view was always that it was okay to kill and ruin the lives of a few individuals for the good of the whole. And everyone suffered.

    The only exception is probably Fidel Castro who actually seemed (in his own confused way) to care about the Cubans. But for whatever good he accomplished, he made Cuba into a third world nation. And now all the Cubans wish they lived in America. That’s what good socialism/communism does for the world.

    The problem with socialism/communism is that it eleminates the incentive for the individual. Marx noted on Feuerbach that the thing to be eliminated was what he called “subjective idealism”. That is to say the personal opinion of the individual … and this is the very thing Jesus was attempting to instill in his audience.

    This is why Jesus tells his disciples they are blessed when all men hate them. It’s because they have something individually (the kingdom of God) that “society” and “the public” will never have en masse.

    Secondly, consider the parable in Matthew 20. The master tells his wicked servants that his money is his to spend and he has the right to spend it any way he wants. If Jesus wanted to change the social order (which is what everyone wanted him to do but he refused) he would have said it differently.

    Historically speaking, the best any government has ever been able to do at creating prosperity is to allow the individuals who work and entrepreneur to be rewarded by the free market and those who don’t to suffer. And statistically speaking a person who does only three things is virtually guaranteed of staying out of poverty:

    1) Get a job, any job
    2) Don’t fornicate / commit adultery
    3) Graduate from highschool

    This is in America (I don’t know about Canada), and America is one of the most free market countries in the world. The poorest of the poor in America does better than many if not all Soviets during the height of their civilization.

    Historically speaking the poor are best served by the free market. Anyone who tells you different simply envies the rich, and not even the USSR could reduce (much less eliminate) greed and envy.

    I am however sympathetic to your desire to have things better “in this life”. What I meant when I said man does not live by bread alone is that we have something on the inside that no sum of money or central planning could ever give us. And if a person has this, what further need for consolation do they have?

    We will always have the poor to give to (through what Paul calls, “The most excellent way”, that is, charity), but not everyone has Jesus. No government program or redistribution of wealth can bring people to know Jesus. In poverty there is suffering, but without Jesus, life is simply not worth living. And that is why giving money for people to know Jesus is better spent than money on government hand-outs.

    For further reading on the matter I recommend The Brothers Karamazov (where they discuss the great folly of people who think Christianity is served by Communism) and the subjectivism of Kierkegaard in Concluding Unscientific Postscript.

  7. You Burning Bush – glad to see your response – I do invite the comments and I think I need to know all side of the coin – thanks for weighing in on this whole thing. Now here is my comments.

    As far as Socialiam and Capitalism go – I support neither nor any political party or political stance – none of these things (which are meant for the choosing of a side) are ever clearly represented as part of the gospel. Paul does mention work and Jesus teaches about responsibility a lot – but neither get to the point of backing a single poltical stance.

    “consider the parable in Matthew 20. The master tells his wicked servants that his money is his to spend and he has the right to spend it any way he wants. If Jesus wanted to change the social order (which is what everyone wanted him to do but he refused) he would have said it differently.” (BB)

    First off, the message of that story isn’t about the ‘money’ – it’s about responsibility – the responsibility each person has with their talents, gifts, etc is to the next person – or to ‘lay up treasure where moth and rust don’t corrupt’ (investement in the individual). This idea is a central tenet of Jesus’ teachings – rich young ruler, ‘give unto ceasar that which is ceasars’, the parables about the talents & person who saves his money in a barn as examples. To say Jesus never challenged the idea of using a monetary system is accurate – but to say he never challeneged the way we use that money is just not true.

    Why should that rich young ruler give it all up? In theory the ruler could have just kept it all, lived posh, and followed Jesus no problems whatsoever and howsoever he chose – very common these days when we consider the Capitalist Jesus version. But Jesus asks the ruler – ‘give it all to the poor & follow me’ – in one sense the ruler could not follow Jesus at all without giving up the loot – which he likely gained by means of extorting the poor. See Enron scandal and big corporate business in general for the same practices.

    “statistically speaking a person who does only 3 things is virtually guaranteed of staying out of poverty:

    1) Get a job, any job
    2) Don’t fornicate / commit adultery
    3) Graduate from highschool” (BB)

    This actually is false, it only became true after the 80’s big business rush. Prior to that time anyone could have a grade 10 and get a job, you could afford a family of 8 kids and not be in extreme poverty, and welfare existed. What happened if you look closely at business is the replacement of the small time, local run business for the huge multi-national business – which in turn created major problems (in cities and rural areas). People lost their income and then got sub-standard jobs for minimum wage – all the while utilities and inflation rose – yet the rich got richer – while the poor got poorer – until you have what we have now – 5% of people own 95% of the wealth in Capitalist countries (and almost all the small community businesses died out). Capitalism is awesome! Would Jesus back this also?

    “In poverty there is suffering, but without Jesus, life is simply not worth living. And that is why giving money for people to know Jesus is better spent than money on government hand-outs.” (BB)

    Now that’s quite the stand – and it could use more explanation. I thinking giving to make people live’s better on earth will also lead them to Jesus – why does it have to be this (revivals) or that (setting up programs) as Christian charity? How is it not better to help someone who is dealing with poverty in their life – to get out of poverty – as a Christian ideal – it seems closer to ‘love others as yourself’ than setting up huge meetings talking about a salvation neither of us can own or dish out at our proverbial wills. I think helping people in real ways is better than spending money on a huge salvation meeting – in which many people leave with nothing. Can’t we just help people on a case by case basis with that cash?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s