Jared Witt l December 14, 2017
Here is a list of issues that many Christians have strong feelings about in our day followed by the number of times that Jesus mentions them in the four gospels:
Gay marriage – 0
Pro-life vs. pro-choice – 0
Patriotism – 0
Gun rights – 0 *
Marijuana – 0
Democrats – 0
Republicans – 0
The nuclear family – 0 **
Heaven – 0 ***
Keeping himself in Christmas – 0
Prayer in schools – 0
The Ten Commandments in schools – 0
“Two Corinthians” – 0 ****
*Although, he was adamant that his followers must renounce any form of violence, even self-defensive violence (Mt. 5:21-22, 38-48; 6:12-14; John 18:1-11).
**The times where he mentions family at all would seem to indicate that he was somewhere between ambivalent and skeptical of how certain cultural definitions of family can very often be used to reinforce an unjust status quo; instead, he sought to create a new definition of family among his followers (Mt. 10:34-39; Mk. 3:20-21, 31-35).
***The greek term ouranos refers literally to the sky and symbolically to wherever God’s Spirit, and the love and justice that materially accompany God’s presence, happens to dwell at a given time—not to an alternate reality, which we experience in the afterlife; references to “kingdom of heaven” in Matthew are a Hebraic circumlocution for talking about the “kingdom of God” (as opposed to the kingdom of Caesar) without impiously saying the word “God” in vain.
****President Trump’s favorite book in the Bible.
So if Jesus didn’t address virtually any of the topics that are strongly associated with “the Christian vote” in our society, what did he talk about?
Well here is one thing: money. He talked about money a lot. Obsessively. Would you believe that, if we were to do a Microsoft word search on the sheer number of mentions, Jesus was over 100 to 1 more interested in what we do with our money than even what we do with our genitals (he does mention the latter a few times—Mt. 5:27-32; Mk. 10:1-12; John 4:1-45; 7:53-8:11—but the moral thrust of the teaching is always pro-fidelity, never anti-LGBTQ relationships, anti-masturbation, anti-dancing, or really any of the antis that are so stressed in modern day religious schools).
If you’ve ever heard someone grumble about it in church, just remember that Jesus is the original preacher who “talks about money too much.”
So ubiquitous are his teachings on the subject that one struggles to catalogue them in a blog like this. But here is a somewhat random sample of what he has to say.
Hopefully, it will be apparent by now, why this pastor gets a bit confused whenever “Christian values” are cited in this or that debate. That is, unless there was some meeting I wasn’t privy to, where everyone agreed that the term “Christian” should just describe a set of stances and dog whistles that no longer have any discernible link to Christ. Otherwise, it's not clear where any of these dogmatic stances so often associated with Christians are coming from.
Does the fact that Jesus never weighed in on a modern day issue mean that it deserves no attention? Passion, even? No. But if we’re not all agreed on throwing out what Jesus had to say, entirely, then might I humbly suggest that we give a little airtime to the things that he actually cared about as well?
Cheers and Peace,
How Castle Church is stirring up a new spirit in the church from a brewery in Orlando, FL.