Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Jesus got angry

From "Jesus Wept" by Matt Labash:
...I have sat under roughly ten ministers in my life, on a regular or semi-regular basis. Of those, none were plagued by scandal. And most have done worthy things, from feeding the hungry to bringing the light to very dark corners of this world, sometimes at great personal danger. Whatever their politics, which I often didn’t know, they didn’t bring those into the pulpit. And even when I did know their politics, and might even have a good-natured (or good-enough) slug fest with them on one matter or another, they left it all behind on Sunday morning. They respected their calling enough to still preach out of The Book, and not some partisan hymn book. God, they understood, was bigger than Republicans vs. Democrats. At least he should be, if he’s at all worth serving. ....

...[T]he problem with cocked-fisted Christianity is that it often over-emphasizes the fists, and underemphasizes the Christianity. It gives short shrift to the most essential, if inconvenient, of Christ’s teachings — the very thing that is supposed to make a Christian what they are. (The root word “Christ” is right there in the name. It’s not terribly subtle.)

And what did Christ teach? Well, he said a lot of things, which hang together marvelously as a coherent body of work. There’s a passage in Matthew where he is asked what the greatest commandment in the law is. He responds with, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” But there’s a second-place finisher, which he says is “like unto” the first — in other words, just as important: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” In some ways, it might be the most difficult commandment in the Bible. But just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean it’s optional. ....

Christ wasn’t always peace’n’love, mind you. He wasn’t always Hippie Jesus, walking the countryside in sandals, blessing people and healing the sick. There is one incident — recounted in three separate Gospels, so you know someone wanted us to get the point — where Jesus genuinely blew a gasket. When he entered the temple, and saw the money-changers defiling the House of God, he turned the dump over, almost literally. Matthew tells us that he “drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers.” Mark tells us that he said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations. But you have made it a den of robbers.” John tells us that Jesus went so far, when driving out the defilers, to make “a whip of cords.”

Yes, Jesus got so angry, that he went all Billy Jack on us. I wonder what he’d do with the Let’s-Go-Brandon chanters? .... (more)
Matt Labash, "Jesus Wept: Are Christians hurting Christianity?"

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