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Author Topic:   Reclaiming Jesus

Posts: 9275
From: CA
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posted June 26, 2018 08:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for PixieJane     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is more religious than political, though the political aspects are so strong I'm not certain it belongs in DD. However, I'm putting it here for mirage, and for others who may feel disillusioned with many evangelicals in the political sense now. (And I do know plenty of blue collar evangelicals, as well as general conservatives, not being happy with the current climate, even if they see "both sides" as extremely problematic right now).

As for myself, I found it a relief. I wish more Christians were vocal like this in this way. It's worth noting that I have seen more than one National Review (right wing) article at least talk about the moral decay that other evangelicals seem determined to embrace in the name of politics (choosing Mammon over Jesus, to put it in the least offensive terms), and not in a hold their nose way as it's the lesser evil, but eagerly. (I don't read much NR anymore so I don't know how common such articles are. My impression is that they're rare, but they're still there, and they can still get published, so that's something.)


We are living through perilous and polarizing times as a nation, with a dangerous crisis of moral and political leadership at the highest levels of our government and in our churches. We believe the soul of the nation and the integrity of faith are now at stake.

It is time to be followers of Jesus before anything else—nationality, political party, race, ethnicity, gender, geography—our identity in Christ precedes every other identity. We pray that our nation will see Jesus’ words in us. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

When politics undermines our theology, we must examine that politics. The church’s role is to change the world through the life and love of Jesus Christ. The government’s role is to serve the common good by protecting justice and peace, rewarding good behavior while restraining bad behavior (Romans 13). When that role is undermined by political leadership, faith leaders must stand up and speak out. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state.”

It is often the duty of Christian leaders, especially elders, to speak the truth in love to our churches and to name and warn against temptations, racial and cultural captivities, false doctrines, and political idolatries—and even our complicity in them. We do so here with humility, prayer, and a deep dependency on the grace and Holy Spirit of God.

This letter comes from a retreat on Ash Wednesday, 2018. In this season of Lent, we feel deep lamentations for the state of our nation, and our own hearts are filled with confession for the sins we feel called to address. The true meaning of the word repentance is to turn around. It is time to lament, confess, repent, and turn. In times of crisis, the church has historically learned to return to Jesus Christ.

Jesus is Lord. That is our foundational confession. It was central for the early church and needs to again become central to us. If Jesus is Lord, then Caesar was not—nor any other political ruler since. If Jesus is Lord, no other authority is absolute. Jesus Christ, and the kingdom of God he announced, is the Christian’s first loyalty, above all others. We pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). Our faith is personal but never private, meant not only for heaven but for this earth.

I. WE BELIEVE each human being is made in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:26). That image and likeness confers a divinely decreed dignity, worth, and God-given equality to all of us as children of the one God who is the Creator of all things. Racial bigotry is a brutal denial of the image of God (the imago dei) in some of the children of God. Our participation in the global community of Christ absolutely prevents any toleration of racial bigotry. Racial justice and healing are biblical and theological issues for us, and are central to the mission of the body of Christ in the world. We give thanks for the prophetic role of the historic black churches in America when they have called for a more faithful gospel.

THEREFORE, WE REJECT the resurgence of white nationalism and racism in our nation on many fronts, including the highest levels of political leadership. We, as followers of Jesus, must clearly reject the use of racial bigotry for political gain that we have seen. In the face of such bigotry, silence is complicity. In particular, we reject white supremacy and commit ourselves to help dismantle the systems and structures that perpetuate white preference and advantage. Further, any doctrines or political strategies that use racist resentments, fears, or language must be named as public sin—one that goes back to the foundation of our nation and lingers on. Racial bigotry must be antithetical for those belonging to the body of Christ, because it denies the truth of the gospel we profess.

II. WE BELIEVE we are one body. In Christ, there is to be no oppression based on race, gender, identity, or class (Galatians 3:28). The body of Christ, where those great human divisions are to be overcome, is meant to be an example for the rest of society. When we fail to overcome these oppressive obstacles, and even perpetuate them, we have failed in our vocation to the world—to proclaim and live the reconciling gospel of Christ.

THEREFORE, WE REJECT misogyny, the mistreatment, violent abuse, sexual harassment, and assault of women that has been further revealed in our culture and politics, including our churches, and the oppression of any other child of God. We lament when such practices seem publicly ignored, and thus privately condoned, by those in high positions of leadership. We stand for the respect, protection, and affirmation of women in our families, communities, workplaces, politics, and churches. We support the courageous truth-telling voices of women, who have helped the nation recognize these abuses. We confess sexism as a sin, requiring our repentance and resistance.

III. WE BELIEVE how we treat the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the stranger, the sick, and the prisoner is how we treat Christ himself. (Matthew 25: 31-46) “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” God calls us to protect and seek justice for those who are poor and vulnerable, and our treatment of people who are “oppressed,” “strangers,” “outsiders,” or otherwise considered “marginal” is a test of our relationship to God, who made us all equal in divine dignity and love. Our proclamation of the lordship of Jesus Christ is at stake in our solidarity with the most vulnerable. If our gospel is not “good news to the poor,” it is not the gospel of Jesus Christ (Luke 4:18).

THEREFORE, WE REJECT the language and policies of political leaders who would debase and abandon the most vulnerable children of God. We strongly deplore the growing attacks on immigrants and refugees, who are being made into cultural and political targets, and we need to remind our churches that God makes the treatment of the “strangers” among us a test of faith (Leviticus 19:33-34). We won’t accept the neglect of the well-being of low-income families and children, and we will resist repeated attempts to deny health care to those who most need it. We confess our growing national sin of putting the rich over the poor. We reject the immoral logic of cutting services and programs for the poor while cutting taxes for the rich. Budgets are moral documents. We commit ourselves to opposing and reversing those policies and finding solutions that reflect the wisdom of people from different political parties and philosophies to seek the common good. Protecting the poor is a central commitment of Christian discipleship, to which 2,000 verses in the Bible attest.

IV. WE BELIEVE that truth is morally central to our personal and public lives. Truth-telling is central to the prophetic biblical tradition, whose vocation includes speaking the Word of God into their societies and speaking the truth to power. A commitment to speaking truth, the ninth commandment of the Decalogue, “You shall not bear false witness” (Exodus 20:16), is foundational to shared trust in society. Falsehood can enslave us, but Jesus promises, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32). The search and respect for truth is crucial to anyone who follows Christ.

THEREFORE, WE REJECT the practice and pattern of lying that is invading our political and civil life. Politicians, like the rest of us, are human, fallible, sinful, and mortal. But when public lying becomes so persistent that it deliberately tries to change facts for ideological, political, or personal gain, the public accountability to truth is undermined. The regular purveying of falsehoods and consistent lying by the nation’s highest leaders can change the moral expectations within a culture, the accountability for a civil society, and even the behavior of families and children. The normalization of lying presents a profound moral danger to the fabric of society. In the face of lies that bring darkness, Jesus is our truth and our light.

And it goes on in the same way.

Having just learned about this, I shared about it with my grandmother over the phone (she doesn't have internet) and was glad this was coming about. There are too many in her Bible Belt town that are overlooking far too much in the name of politics, or at best, figuring God will make it all somehow work for the best so they stay the course. And in either case, it reminds her too much of Pharisees condemned by Jesus (and is under the belief that going to church doesn't make you a Christian anymore than going to a garage makes you an auto mechanic). And this should not be mistaken for "liberal Christianity" for I get the impression they greatly respect tradition, but in the Enlightened Christianity version (the same version that rejected slavery even as other churches promoted it as godly, but believed in respect for the past).

Many of the Christians who participate in the volunteer work with the poor and dispossessed were also glad to hear of this (and it's through them that I heard of it and looked it up to learn more). These are the good guys of Christendom, and I'm glad they're organizing a stand against the wolves in sheep's clothing claiming to be acting in the name of Jesus, and they're saying "not my Jesus."

And so I'm sharing with mirage and others who might find this relevant to their interests so they can spread this as well, as a way to oppose the unsupportable without, at the same time, joining with other groups they find unsavory or suspect at best.

Good luck. We need the blessings of the God and Jesus as described by Reclaiming Jesus than ever before (at least since the Civil War).

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posted June 27, 2018 02:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Sulkyarcher     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The bible gave us a platform, we should use its ideas to decide our actions. Depending on if you're a Christian, or not.

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posted June 28, 2018 02:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Randall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

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posted June 28, 2018 12:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mirage29     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
P.J. … I just saw this today.
Thank you sooo much.

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posted June 29, 2018 04:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Randall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

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