Revolution in Jesusland

It’s just those Bible-Fundamentalist, Anti-Enlightenment, Creationist, Republican-voting Christian Neanderthals again…Move along. Nothing to see here.

Except that they’re wrestling with what Jesus meant when he said they would find Him among the poorest of the poor…And it’s leading them to think about turning the economy upside down…As they struggle desperately to find ways to rescue everyone in poverty.

Watch the video of evangelical leader Chris Seay, filmed at a baseball stadium. He talks about children dying because they don’t have clean water or medicine, and about the inequalities and disparities of income that allow this to happen. It ends with him saying, I just had a $9 drink and $8 hot dog and got a text message on my cell from one of our workers in Africa who said some children just died because of a lack of medicine. We could have bought that medicine for what I just spent here. And what do we do with this? He means, how do we, emphasis on the “we”, get the help to those who need it?

There is an incredibly large and beautiful social movement exploding among evangelicals right now that stands for nearly all of the same causes and goals that secular progressives do. Those goals include: eliminating poverty, saving the environment, promoting justice and equality along racial, gender and class lines and for immigrants–and even separation of church and state.

Sounds like secular progressives and these evangelicals have lots of common ground and that what the evangelicals are doing represents a real grassroots movement for social justice and change.

Tip: Boing Boing

  • Perhaps they are beginning to come round to the view that some people hold, that Jesus was the first socialist. Though a further look at history would tell them that Jesus was a Cynic from the school of Anthisthenes and Diogenes from around 200BC, who some people label as the first anarchists.

  • DJ

    The revolution you describe is not new to Christianity. See for example Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker organization. It’s not even new to evangelicals– but it has been (and remains so far) a minority position.

    However, I believe that what Chris Seay means, when he asks “So what do you do with that?” is not “how do we get the help to those who need it,” but “how can we sleep at night knowing that the $17 we spent on a hotdog and drink could have saved lives if we’d given it away instead.”

    The Gospels are indeed a set of revolutionary documents, but it’s easy to miss that, especially considering the way we were TAUGHT to read them. Read them again– and if you still don’t see it, read John Howard Yoder’s “Politics of Jesus.”

    Let’s be clear: there are untenable economic ramifications here. Jesus did not offer an economic system, he called on us to continually examine our behavior in light of a moral code. The Kingdom he speaks of is NOT a government, but a group of like-minded people who are willing to sacrifice (as Jesus did) for others. At best, Jesus’s teachings apply to an intentional community– never to a State.

    Jesus was not a Marxist; he never taught economic equality, nor did he teach compulsion. Rather, he taught that money will not make you happy– that giving to the poor is not a governmental act but a personal sacrifice. Some (including myself) believe he promoted voluntary poverty.

    The early community was not Marxist either: Acts says, “Those who had little did not have too little, and those who had much did not have too much.” But above all, helping others was (and remains) a choice– one we face on a daily basis.

  • Let’s just hope the Jesusland crowd stays on their turf and the progressives stay on theirs. If they come together, the Jesusland folks will do to the progressive community what it has already done to the GOP. Two groups working for social justice and change is cool, but keep it two groups, not one.

  • petra on

    In the mid-1990s I was part of what is now known as the Emerging Church and spent some time traveling the country to speak on the emerging church in the emerging culture on a team put together by Leadership Network called the Young Leader Network. But, I eventually had to distance myself from the Emergent stream of the network because friends like Brian McLaren and Doug Pagitt began pushing a theological agenda that greatly troubled me. Examples include referring to God as a chick, questioning God’s sovereignty over and knowledge of the future, denial of the substitutionary atonement at the cross, a low view of Scripture, and denial of hell which is one hell of a mistake.

    – Mark Driscoll

    Chris Seay is a parent bashing, cigar smoking, drinking, destructive
    man. He is trying to rewrite the Bible according to his opinions.

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