Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Jesus? A Liberal?

My blogger buddy and sparring partner ER linked to an earlier post of his that I missed, entitled "Jesus was a Liberal".

After I went back and read the whole thread, I was very sorry that I missed it. A lot of good points were made by all who participated in the discussion, but it pointed out to me the fact that most people in America have lost sight of the real 'big picture".

So, since I missed it the first time, here is my take on this subject, in case anyone is interested.

The problem with this whole discussion is that everyone wants to claim Jesus as a proponent of their own point of view, whether they be Conservative, Liberal, Communist, Socialist, Republican, Democrat, whatever. What we do not realize is the sheer arrogance and sinfulness it takes for us, as mere humans, creations of God Almighty, to try to bend Jesus to our will.

It don't work that way.

Jesus did not subscribe to ANYONE'S political philosophy, no matter WHO you think you are.

We are supposed to follow HIM. Not the other way around. For us to forget that for even a moment is a sin, and we should repent as a group, and ask His forgiveness immediately. (I will now provide a brief moment of silence for this purpose.)

Now...As to what Jesus taught us about helping our fellow man, Yes he taught that.

He taught that WE (individually) should help our FELLOW MAN (one on one) by providing from our OWN RESOURCES (our own personal stuff, whatever we personally had) whatever he NEEDED (the best possible thing for him, our fellow man, not whatever he wanted or demanded), to help him out of his IMMEDIATE situation of need (food, clothing, company, encouragement), and while we did this, we were supposed to witness to him about the message of salvation of Jesus. (Or, more accurately, FROM Jesus.)

He never taught anything about us setting up impersonal Government programs, which rob from the rich, and punish achievement in order to give a meager subsistence to the poor, and allow them to sit and rot in the depths of their poverty, and discourage them from ever trying to lift themselves out of their situation, while simultaneously removing every mention of God, or Jesus, or Religion from the public lexicon.

So no. Jesus was not a Liberal.

However, he never advocated paying your workers the very bare minumum wage you could possibly get them to work for, while charging the very last dime that the market would possibly bare for your product, or taking an "every man for himself" approach to public policy issues, and pushing your own religious or social preferences down everyone's throat.

So I guess he wasn't a pure conservative, either.

So I guess neither side wins this argument. At least not in MY mind.

The very fact that we had the discussion makes me want to get on my knees and pray for forgiveness and guidance for the future of our Country.

I think that we are in SERIOUS trouble, and we don't even realize it.


Erudite Redneck said...

Sparrin' and jabbin' suspended for a sec.

Better late to the discussion than never, Tug.

I thought that was a very useful thread, and calling it "Jesus is a Liberal" was a great way to get it going. :-)

Yer right, of course. All this politics crap will be the first to go.

Here's where we differ in the meantime -- among many others:

I think that being a good steward of my vote means to vote one way, you think that good stewardship of your vote means to vote another way.

My conscience -- my Christian conscience -- leads me one way. Yours leads you another. There appears to be an inconsistency.

But the ways of the Lord are mysterious, indeed. God was on both sides of the War Between the States, I think. Two mostly Christian people at war!

So, the Pleasant Unpleasantness -- the Christian Right vs. the Christian Left, Americans all -- is just a small thing, really. (Can't really speak for either the heathen Left or heathen Right.)


Sparrin' and jabbin' resumed.



tugboatcapn said...

Thanks, ER.
And I apologize for missin' it the first time.

But I meant the things that I said in this post, probably more than I have ever meant anything that I have ever posted before.

We must be VERY careful when we begin to assign political beliefs to Jesus.

Political leanings are a HUMAN creation. Jesus had no interest in such things.

To assume that He would have agreed with US, (no matter what our particular leanings,) is to co-opt the message of Jesus, and divert it to serve our own desires.

I think that the Bible refers to this practice as "Blasphemy."

Not sparrin' and jabbin' this time.

Stating my convictions after much prayer and consideration.

tugboatcapn said...

And not tryin' to accuse you personally of the sin of Blasphemy...(I just realizeed how that sounded.)

I just felt a little bit of personal conviction when I read your post.

That's all I was tryin' to say.

Sorry...:) Peace!!

tugboatcapn said...

I don't mind sparrin' and jabbin' on the subject of politics.

Religion is a whole different ball of wax.

That is completely between you (whoever you are) and your God (whoever HE is.)

I do not pass judgement, because I do not want other human beings judging MY beliefs.

I will state my beliefs proudly, but I do realize that they are my own, and not necessarily everyone's, nor even anyone else's.

Lores Rizkalla said...

well stated, tug. i completely agree. i have to say that i so appreciate both the tone and the substance of what you shared.

rich bachelor said...

Since when do you (or any human) not pass judgement?
And ain't none of you, or me, knows what Jesus really was. This goes back to the whole Bible and all contemporary histories of Jesus being written by people, and therefore flawed, thing we were all arguing about a couple weeks ago. And they all had agendas of their own, too.
To say that one knows what Jesus was is hubris, a sin a lot more people need to think about. He's what he means to you, and that goes for everybody.

tugboatcapn said...

Okay, perhaps I should have said that I TRY not to pass judgement...

I can know what Jesus was by knowing the things he said, and while the Bible may have been PENNED by humans, I do not necessarily believe that makes it flawed, any more than I believe that my computer has any input into the substance of my posts or comments, other than being used by me as a tool to get my message out.
God uses us when and how he sees fit, all of us, whether we believe in Him or not, and while we have the free will to follow him, or reject Him, He still uses us either way.
Glad to see you back, by the way, Bachelor...

Erudite Redneck said...

But here's the gig, and it realy was summed nicely: WWJD?

I can't fathom Jesus voting "conservative." If he lived in a time in a place where his vote could move mountains of resources, I think he would do so. I think he would not choke on the concept of "redistribution of wealth."

Jesus-God said, "Y'all come, follow me, give away what you have, the Lord will provide."

Jesus-Man would have walked into a ballot box and voted similarly, to feed the hungry, house the homeless, etc., etc. -- regardless of all else.

That's what I think. Not lookin' to drag this out. But that's what I mean -- trying to figure out how to live by Jesus's clear example and the big hints he gave otherwise - using "liberal" or "conservative" as a mere label.

And that aint blasphemy. It's what James called "working out your salvation."


Daffy76 said...

The more I'm presented with this subject the more I believe that Jesus wouldn't have voted. In the one biblical incident I can remember in which politics are even mentioned Jesus tells the Pharisees to render unto Ceasar that which is Ceasar's. In other words, leave politics to politics and spiritual matters to spiritual matters. That's not to say that WE shouldn't vote or that Jesus wouldn't care how we cast our vote. Just that I don't think that Jesus would have tripped all over himself to get to the polls.

Anonymous said...

Jesus loves you, Bruiser!

alaletos said...

I agree with daffy and tug. I may not be that old but I know some stuff.

Jesus followed God, and we (those who believe) in turn follow him.
If I remember correctly it was the politics of "religion" that he fought against.

Jesus knew the one thing that most people have forgotten. That this world was created by God and in order to affectively govern it all decions made should be God-decisions.

Jesus votes for God.

Erudite Redneck said...

You know, havin' slept on this, I'm comin' down again on the side of Jesus bein' liberal, if not radical. He was definitely countercultural. And THAT, is the main reason he was crucified. He went against the establishment, he went against the established law, and he caused a ruckus within the Jewish community that spilled over into the broader Roman empire, which acquiesced in his execution. Jesus is a hippie whoi gloriously resurrected after the law lynched him.


Erudite Redneck said...

Oh, and Tug, I swear I didn't put that last thing up to rile you. I honestly did dwell on it going to sleep last night, and it was on my mind this morning. I don't think I'm trying to mold Him to fit me. I really am "working out my salvation," I think, in the way, James meant it.

This whole Katrina mess honestly did knock me flat on my face before the Cross. In shame. I've started going to church again for the first time in years. It's God workin' on ME, and me, as usual, rasslin' with Him, just llke Jacob. Again. Again.

So, anyway, these are just my thoughts.

Peace out, uh, dawg. :-)


tugboatcapn said...

ER, there is one thing that you never have to worry about. You never have to worry about making me mad.

I'm not sayin' that it won't ever happen, (it probably will,) I'm just sayin' that if you do, it's still alright.

I think that you and I identify with each other more than we identify with anyone else that we interact with on these ridiculous little blogs. (At least that's the way I feel...)

You summed it up a few days ago.

We fight like brothers.

We can disagree with each other, but we don't have to hate each other to do it. I think that this is a beautiful thing.

It is the spirit of honest debate which founded this Country, and you are one of the few on your side that I have encountered who understands this concept.

I appreciate that very much.

That bein' said, here is my response to your last comment.

Putting the government in charge of helping the poor and downtrodden takes away the opportunity to witness to them about the message of Jesus, Salvation.
In fact, it PREVENTS that opportunity, in the name of political correctness.
I mean, after all, we can't force our religion down anyone's throat.
Without this opportunity, our efforts become meaningless, if we are really doing what we do in the name of Christ, whether that is feeding the hungry out of our own lunch money, or voting for the candidate who SAYS he will feed the hungry with the 23 cents of every welfare dollar that actually goes to the poor.

The fact is...Setting up an inefficient government bureaucracy to to help the poor with our tax dollars in the name of Tug and ER, is a poor substitute for Tug and ER using our OWN resources to help the poor, in the name of Jesus.

I do not want this subject to cause trouble between you and me, but I can never agree with you on the subject of Jesus' Liberalism, because I firmly believe that Conservative policies help the poor, in the long run, far more than Liberal policies do.

I would much rather create jobs, and support the corporations that provide employment for these poor people so that they can provide for themselves eventually, than to simply hand them just barely enough to keep them alive and miserable.

Liberal welfare policies makes Government slaves out of their recipients.

Conservative policies create opportunities for them to succeed on their own, and do things for themselves, thereby liberating them, and allowing them to reach their full potential.

Jesus was neither Liberal nor conservative.

He was God, in human form.

These ideals are so far beneath Him as to be completely insignificant.

I will never claim that Jesus would stoop so low as to agree with a creature as unimportant as me, on a subject as stupid as political partisanship.

I believe the way that I do, because my beliefs make sense to me, and when I pray about things like this, I feel led by the Lord the way I am led.

But then, I only know what I, as a human being can know.

God knows all.

Xena76 said...

I think it is possible that God leads both Conservatives and Liberals to believe what they believe so that we have the opportunity to articulate our position. Without the need to actually think through what we believe we can become like cattle, led by the noses to any "sounds good" policy.

God created us to be THINKING individuals. He wants us to think through and develop the ability to support our positions. Through this analysis and debate, each group pulls toward each other until, hopefully, we find the right road.

RebelAngel said...

Great debate, Tug, with lots to think about from both points of view, without a lot of screeching at each other.

Personally, I don't think Jesus would have voted. Why would he need government resources to move mountains and feed the hungry when he had the power of heaven at his command? And he was known for using it, as when he did feed the hungry fishes and loaves. I can't remember any example of him going to any government organization and depending on them to get the job done.

But mainly, I just don't like the idea of putting our worldly labels on Jesus. When we put him in our manmade boxes we diminish him.

If you start thinking of Him as a Liberal or a Conservative you quit thinking of him as God, and there is a real danger in that.

We shouldn't be trying to make God choose sides. We should be trying to make sure we're on His team, and His team has room for Liberals and Conservatives.

RebelAngel said...

"as when he did feed the hungry fishes and loaves." Okay, I didn't meant the fishes were hungry. You know what I meant. :)

tugboatcapn said...

Well, Angel, if His eye is on the sparrow, then surely He feeds the hungry fishes as well... ;)

Erudite Redneck said...

Re, "you quit thinking of him as God, and there is a real danger in that."

But there is as much danger is forgetting thast he also the Son of Man.

One of the most incredible mysteries of Christology -- the theology behind describing who and what Jesus was and is -- is that he was 100 percent God AND 100 percent man, that is, human.

Otherwise, Satan didn't *really* tempt him, He didn't *really* "die" on the Cross, and his "resurrection" was just a parlor trick, not the absolute defeat of death that we believe it was.


RebelAngel said...

ER: That's so very true, he was 100% man as well. No argument from me there. But it doesn't change the crux of my statement. Even as 100% man, he still put his faith and dependence in God -- not temporary, man-made instituitons. And that's the example we should follow, yes?

Now, I'm not saying we shouldn't vote, or it's wrong for us to belong to a political party, I just think that to label Jesus is to diminish who He really is.

pecheur said...

Good post, tug

o-likewoah said...

This all amuses me greatly. Dude Jesus.. Jesus is the son of, and also fully God! (given i think all you guys know that)

But think about this- Jesus was a HOMELESS guy! he had no alligence to any country (though he did say render to cezar what is cezar's meaning obey the laws of the land you live on)

Jesus was a REVOLUTIONARY- he tromped all over the said "religeous" practices of his time- pissed off royally all of the religeous officials, and made it very clear that THIS WORLD IS NOT OUR HOME! Christians are not to think that this world is to be made the best of- its forfit.

And that whole idea- Jesus' message, is right out in orbit. I mean really, Jesus would have to either be crazy just like the bum who tells you he is the mesiah, or he is fully who and what he said that he is! Son of God! NO middle ground- no "profit" shit- end of story.

Either you are onboard with this revolution or you arnt.

And about that whole voting thing- yeah be a good stuard, but who are we to think that we are part of "God's Nation" as americans- again to the whole Christians not being of the world. Man yall, our kingdom is somewhere else! And thanks and praise to God that it is.

So if you are a Christian (which btw means literally "little Christ") you are also, perhaps unknowingly, a citizen of a soverign government in another world- and our mission is to help others hear and come to hope!

Because Christ brought hope of something better than this broken and (by ALL standards of ANY political party, anywhere)MESSED UP world.

o-likewoah said...

By the way- another comment on voting or not voting- When Jesus said the whole "Cezar" thing, he was speaking about paying taxes- the Jews didnt want to have to pay because cezar on the coin was considered to be an "idol". But the point was that they had to use the money to exist in the society- under the government in power. The Roman government was in power by force- there was absoulutely nothing that jews or early Christians could do about it. Christ said this so that people would obey the laws and realize that government and earthly "power" was not the point.
But we, blessed so much to live in the nation we do, can vote for what we believe will make our lives better. We have a chance to protect certian freedoms. So choose to vote or dont- just remember that, once again this world is not our home.

o-likewoah said...

(and i worded the opening to my first post poorly- i should have said: "This debate has spurred me into deep and riviting thought.") I apologize for sounding a bit arrogent- i did not mean to be!

Toad734 said...

Actually Jesus was a socialist

tugboatcapn said...

Actually, Jesus was a Theocrat.

Joseph Stalin was a socialist.