Sunday, May 06, 2012

Resistance and Ignoring Jesus

Matt, at the blog, The Church of No People, had a challenging post the other day. As usual, it started with his title: Sometimes, It's Best to Ignore Jesus. From there he only gets more challenging by posting a number of quotes from Jesus that we often choose to ignore. Like:

  • “Turn the Other Cheek” and
  • “Do Not Judge”
I am sure we all have our pet quotations that we will quickly ignore, re-translate, allegorize, or just plain forget. That's the real problem with Jesus. He never does what we expect.

This fit well with an earlier post on Internet Monk titled Evangelical Resistance to the Gospels: How & Why by Timothy Gombis, 4/26/2012. Gombis said at one point:
We strip away the “husk” of Jesus’ clear words to find the spiritual “kernel” that we apply to our hearts and motives.

This is a reading strategy whereby we keep Jesus safely tucked away in our hearts, self-satisfied with our piety. But we intentionally avoid doing what he says with our bodies, social practices, and community dynamics.

It’s too threatening. If we actually did the things Jesus says to do, we’d have to change, and we just don’t want to.
It isn't just evangelicals who do that, It's every one of us. We don't allow the depth and power of this life-changing God to truly enter into our lives. We don't allow the incredibly radical, revolutionary, and grace-filled direction of Jesus to become our direction. We are scared of that kind of life. If we are given grace, might we have to do the same?

But more so, Jesus did not preach a Gospel of prosperity or material comfort or the priority of the nation-state as our central tenet. He did not offer a feel-good piety. Which is what we want. At least those of us who are the comfortable who need to be afflicted.

Now, if I can only apply that to my own comfort zone of faith.

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