Jesus initiated and announced a most fascinating kingdom… A society with characteristics completely different from what the people in his day had ever experienced. That kingdom has been expanding ever since, and to this day it is still completely upside down, refreshing, attractive and unlike any other kingdom or society. The Jesus way teaches us wild things like:
- Include the kids, even act like them.
- Love people as you would yourself.
- Love your enemies.
- Pray for those against you.
- Give people what they ask for or more.
- Include the excluded.
- Accept the rejected.
- Deny your rights and privileges.
- Sacrifice for the other.
- Lay your life down.
...to name a few. So revolutionary. It's why Jesus continues to be sought after by billions. And it's clear that these principles and values apply to people (individuals) who want to join the Jesus way.
But I have a growing question in my heart over the last months, a question that is even more pressing since my new President, Donald Trump gave his inaugural address Friday.
Do the Jesus principles, teachings and values apply to communities or groups that identify as "Christian"? Or are they just for individuals? Is there another set of rules for "Christian" groups?
And what happens when a group/community or nation, teaches and embodies the opposite of what Jesus announced? Then, what are they? Still Christian?
Let me be clear, I don't mind if they call themselves something else. I don't even mind if they ARE something else. It's been years since I stopped believing in such things as "Christian Nations"! In fact, I have way more respect if you're just honest about who you are and what you are. I just mind when groups or nations that don't act Christian call themselves Christian. Call yourself what you are. Not what you're not.
So, to be clear, the following ideas are not Jesus ideas:
- Us first!
- Our safety is our priority.
- Remove anyone who is a threat.
- Illegals, get out.
- Keep our guns.
- Empower the military.
- Reject or control gay people.
- Beware of Muslims.
- Kill off ISIS
- We need more money.
- Relationship only as it benefits us.
- Don't purchase or hire from others.
- Us first!
You, or any group, including America, is welcome to believe in these things. Just don't call them Christian. It's killing me. And I'd rather there be zero prayers at an event celebrating these things. Having six prayers or quoting the Bible multiple times does absolutely nothing to make a group become "Christian" or their values become "Christlike". If Jesus isn't invited into the party, don't tease everyone by putting him on the front of the invitations. Just leave Jesus out of this. Stop attaching him to things he doesn't stand for.
There. I said it. Have been dying to get this off my chest, and then I remembered I had a blog! Cheers!