Do Not Fear

Today Trump told Christian leaders to be afraid. They are one vote away from losing everything they have gained. Not that different from any other day in this presidency. I am of course tempted to reference Hauerwas at this juncture and his oft quoted reminder that their is only one instance of democracy in the Bible, and they choose Barabas.

(For my more secular readers, The romans give the “crowd” a choice of sparing one of two prisoners – Jesus or Barabas. The crowd seeing on one hand a freedom fighter and the other a troublesome parable telling rabbi… chose… as one does… the less loquacious of the two and condemned Jesus to crucifixion.)

And though contemporary United States politics does present a rather easy target for Christian theology, I want to focus this rant on the fear Trump uses here, specifically fear of violence.

I get it. In a land where refusing to sell a cake to a same sex couple is high martyrdom, the thought of actual physical violence must be so outside the american christian’s daily experience that this must seem apocalyptic. (ugh… I hate I used the word that way… but i’ll leave it and rant later on how in talking theologically, one should avoid using Apocalypse in such a lazy fasion.) Violence against the church? Who could imagine such a thing? Surely this is something other (poorer and tanner) Christians must deal with but not here in good ‘ol WASP country standing up for God by not kneeling for the anthem.

Jesus had a lot to say about fear. He keeps talking about it, goes on and on and on. His disciples probably wish he’d move on or at the very least explore the other side of topic for a bit. But Jesus was rather consistent. His basic philosophy can be summarized thusly: Don’t.

And violence? The guy got cruxified. And his follwers were lucky if they didn’t get cruxified. There is a reason St. Lawrence can joke while being roasted over a fire, he’s dying in a novel and interesting way.

Christians used to die rather than to pledge allegiance to any other Lord other than Jesus…. now we rake coals over football players protesting the violence against their community by kneeling during a song cuz ‘Merica and Jesus, maybe?

So no, Christians you have nothing to fear from the vote come December or any other vote. You are not first and foremost an American, your Lord does not dwell in Washington.

If your going to be temporarily fearful… be afraid of your neighbor not having enough to eat, the widow being alone, the homeless cold.

Then do something about it and stop being fearful.

For Jesus is Lord and you are His subjects, so let try once more to act accordingly. Spread the Gospel to all the Earth, this Ceasar has no real authority. Fear not, God loves you and me, yes even you and me.

Thou shalt not ignore assholes

And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes. And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee.
—Mark 1 21-28.
King James Version, because I don’t have the energy to deal with copyright permissions this morning.

Before we begin…

The following is not a sermon. Nor is it a theologically deep analysis of the above passage Thoughtheological it remains.No great interpreters of scripture will be referenced. In fact the whole excursive rant could be viewed as entirely humanistic. To which I would respond, ‘yes, and…’?

My second thought for a title revolved around ‘the asshole in me acknowledges but in no way accepts the asshole in you’ but really that’s a bit lengthy and one too many assholes for a blog title.

Jesus and the Heckler

Our passage here opens with Jesus teaching in a synagogue. The crowds, per usual were quite impressed with his TED Talk. What great words! This guy has really thought out this meaning of life stuff. Now amongst them was a fella with an unclean spirit. We can safely assume everyone knew about this. It was just one of those things polite people don’t talk about. They wouldn’t want to be thought of as not being nice would they? It was the sabbath after all. Just a little bit longer and service would be over and they could all disperse. Oh yes, there goes… lets say Bob… yes… there goes Bob again being Bob. I mean, that guy sure has issues. oh yep, he’s doing the “art thou come to destroy us” bit again. Used to really creep us out but you get used to it. Just smile and it’ll pass. Really, Jesus… this happens every Shabbat service. Nothing to worry about. Jesus? Jesus, what are you doing?!

Is Christianity nice?

I do not know when Christianity first became associated with niceness, but i’ll bet the rise of television ministry did not help. It’s hard to do a keep an audience tuned to a fire and brinstone sermon when you’ve got Andy Griffith on the other channel. (I certainly would turn the channel) However with this polish, with the smiles, with the ‘God will bless you’ ministries questions soon arise.

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