Monday, May 23, 2022

The Jesus I Never Knew


I am reading the book THE JESUS I NEVER KNEW with my 10th graders.
Each chapter, we all pull something out that really speaks to us. Here's one of the things that jumped out at me. And keep in mind, this was written the year I graduated from High School (1995!)
"A political movement by nature draws lines, makes distinctions, pronounces judgment; in contrast, Jesus' love cuts across lines, transcends distinctions, and dispenses grace. Regardless of the merits of a given issue -- whether a pro-life lobby out of the Right or a peace-and-justice lobby out of the Left -- political movements risk pulling onto themselves the mantle of power that smothers love. From Jesus I learn that, whatever activism I get involved in, it must not drive out love and humility, or otherwise I betray the kingdom of heaven."

Here's another quote that really spoke to me:

"For this reason, I must say in an aside, I worry about the recent surge of power among U.S. Christians, who seem to be focusing more and more on political means. Once Christians were ignored or scorned; now they are courted by ever savvy politician. Evangelicals especially are identified with a certain political stance, so much so that the news media uses the terms "evangelical" and "religious right" interchangeably. When I ask a stranger, "What is an evangelical Christian?" I get an answer something like this: "Someone who supports family values and opposes homosexual rights and abortion.

"This trend troubles me because the gospel of Jesus was not primarily a political platform. The issues that confront Christians in a secular society must be faced and addressed and legislated, and a democracy gives Christians ever right to express themselves. But we dare not invest so much in the kingdom of this world that we neglect our main task of introducing people to a different kind of kingdom, one based solely on God's grace and forgiveness. Passing laws to enforce morality serves a necessary function, to dam up evil, built it never solves human problems. If a century from now all the historians can say about evangelics of the 1990s is that they stood for family values, then we will have failed the mission Jesus gave us to accomplish: the communicated God's reconciling love to sinners."

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