Monday, May 28, 2007


“I came upon a dancing crab and I said, “Dance for me one more time before you hibernate and come out a crab cake” (Devendra Banhart).

Buy this man’s album. It is fascinating and mesmerizing, frightening and odd.

I am reading a book titled, The Non-Violent Cross. It was written in 1968 by James W. Douglass and was considered by the New York Review as “One of the ten best religious books of 1968”. I believe it should be considered one of the top ten religious theological works of all time. It is not well known. I have this odd hunch it was ripped off the scholastic shelves by the Government (Church). This book is powerful and makes some dramatic statements that dare the reader to dive into a radical, revolutionary way of life.

I am also reading, The Politics of Jesus, by John Howard Yoder. This book is a must read for any follower of Christ. One is limiting the mind if they refrain from this theological work. It is not a hard read, it is profound. I am reading both of these books in unison because I have a small break before my Christology class and want to better understand the non-violent movement that is rooted in Jesus.

Yoder makes a profound statement at the start of his book, in the very first paragraph of the first chapter, he states:

It may be a meaningless coincidence that some young men wear their hair and their feet like the Good Shepherd of the Standard Press Sunday School posters; but there is certainly no randomness to their claim that Jesus was, like themselves, a social critic an agitator, a drop-out from the social climb, and the spokesman of a counterculture (Yoder, 1).

A counterculture, the spokesman of a counterculture, this is who Jesus was. Looking at the modern church we do not see a counterculture, rather we see the culture. We see flat screen TV’s playing Christian Movies, Christians listening to Christian Rock music, reading Christian fiction, voting for Christian politicians, supporting Christian wars, wearing hip Christian clothing made in hip Christian sweat shops funded by hip Christians who go to hip Christian conventions littered with Christians, doing hip Christian things. These same hip Christians are the ones standing on the side lines as the not so hip Christians get stuck fighting the wars they fund.

In all reality it is not hip to be like Jesus, especially the Jesus of the Gospels…you know the true Jesus. When did it become hip to die on a cross? When did it become hip to hang out with hookers, revolutionaries, the despised and the dejected? When did it become hip to turn the other cheek or to walk the extra mile? When did it become hip to sell all you have and give it to the poor? Ya, know…the things the Son of God did.

It has not become fashionable to die on a cross. Instead it has become fashionable to support wars, the death penalty and sweat shops, to not let hookers, revolutionaries and the despised and dejected into the Church. Instead of turning the other cheek we go to Christian Man Conferences that teach us to suppress women and to hate homosexuals and that Catholics are dirty and Protestants are extremely mighty. I have sat through many a sermon when the Pastor in the pulpit has blatantly made fun of another denomination, rooting his teasing in some right winged, fundamentalist driven ideal. Saying something along the lines, “They believe Mary is more important then Jesus, Mary is a woman and she bowed down to the J-Man not in reverse, Mary did not die for the sins of us!!!! Amen, we like to get a little excited in this Church, we like to get a little wild, to let the spirit slay some folks” and in the background the crowd goes nuts with “amen’s and hi-fives”. The complete misunderstanding of the Catholic faith makes me want to induce vomit.

I have never in my studies of the biblical text read anything about the Peasant Revolutionary saying, “Blessed are the rich, mega churches and SUV driving Christians of this world. Blessed is America, the fascist nation, for I hold this nation above all others as the others are filled with dirty liberal homosexuals”. But this is what I see when I look at the modern church landscape. I see a church rooted, enslaved to the American way. A church that has let go of the values it was built on, value that are summed up in the cross.

The other morning I was at the coffee shop in downtown Lakewood. It is a safe haven for ordinary radical, artists, musicians, Buddhists and poets. It was early and a woman was talking to the barista, she said “Ya know it would be nice to have a Christian that was an extremist”… I was at first shocked but stepped back trying to make it not obvious that I was listening intently, she went on “Islam has extremists, although they miss the point in the sense that they kill others, but ya know Christians do that all the time, look at the abortion clinic bombers or racists… but it would be nice to see a Christian actually act like Jesus by loving others in a radical way, giving away all they had for the sake of others, to turn the other cheek”. She continued on like this for a little while longer, her words broke my heart. She, like all of us are searching with all that we are worth for a savior.

So many in today’s world have become fed up with a Christianity that marginalizes others and is exclusive in who is saved and who is not. Worlds in which we see the radical following of every religion plastered all over the television, every religion accept Christianity. Instead we are shown the Moral Majority and the Wayland Baptists spitting in the face of Christ with words of condemnation and the throwing away of the “Golden Rule” by blindly supporting the unjust war against the poor and sojourner. I am done rambling .

1 comment:

Chad Rinehart said...

"put me in your breakfast, put me on your plate. You know I taste great, you know I taste great." That is also Devendra Banhart, maybe it's on the same album. Yeah, Christianity as a counter-culture, not to prevalent in our times. We must get away from the idea that the church is to look like the culture. That's where many double standards begin. We believe just by adding some cheesy slogan to a thing it somehow makes it valid. Like "Godd wants me to be blessed" somehow translates into "so I'm gett'n this $1,200 purse," or "this $1.5 million home."
I just finished the book Freedom of Simplicity, I thoroughly enjoyed. Come to Nashville, man. You'd love it. We must hang.