Tag Archives: Jesus

Mike

April 30, 2016

My thoughts as I read “Left Wing Jesus” by Rev. Rich Lang:

Historical terms

“Left Wing Jesus?”

Left Wing” and “Right Wing” came into our vocabulary from just before the French Revolution in the late 18th Century. The National Assembly in Paris was divided into supporters of King Louis XVI and the “Ancient Regime,” men who sat to the president’s right. The supporters of the revolution were thus forced to sit to on the left. The Catholic Church supported the status quo and the Divine Right of Kings. The Deists and Protestants supported the French Revolution.

Right Wing” has thus taken on “conservative” and “support the old system” and “back the elites of power and wealth” associations. Those people honestly believe we already have the system that’s best for everyone and it should not be changed.

Left wing” as taken on “liberal” and “enlightened” and “back the people against economic oppression” connotations. Those people honestly believe that our system is corrupt and unjust and that things need to change.

American Political terms

The groups considered to be “Right Wing” are Fascists, Capitalists, Conservatives (both social and fiscal), Nationalists, Neoconservatives, Neoliberals, Reactionaries, Imperialists, Monarchists Libertarians, Authoritarians, and Religious Fundamentalists. These tend to gravitate into the Republican Party.

The “Left Wing” includes Anarchists, Communists, Socialists, Religious Progressives, Populists, Democratic Socialists, Social Liberals, and Green Party / Ecological Conservationists. These tend to associate with the Democratic Party.

Oddly, Conservationists are considered “Left Wing” but they are trying to conserve the planet. To do that they must challenge the political and economic system, thus leftists. Libertarians self-associate with the “Right Wing” even though they espouse Anarchy. They are Anarchists who have read Ayn Rand so want to be called Conservatives (they’re not), thus righties.

Economic terms like “Fascism” (big businesses and the wealthy run the government) or “Communism” (the workers own the means of production) are often misused, a legacy of World War II’s propaganda. Any of these positions can devolve into Totalitarianism due to Fundamentalist thinking (being sure you are the only one who has things perfectly correct and it’s your duty to force it on everyone and that those who oppose you are evil).

Religious terms

“Who Was Jesus?” How do we read the Bible and try to understand the answers given (always politically charged) by the authors and translators and scholars over the centuries to that question? Would Jesus sit on the Right or the Left in the French Assembly?

My pastor gave me an essay entitled “Left Wing Jesus” by Rev. Rich Lang. I’ve read it 1.5 times now. I wish he didn’t use the term “Fascist” in this context. Overall, I think he’s saying that we need to respect each other and value both “Right Wing” and “Left Wing” views of Jesus.

He’s up against Fundamentalism and “Right Wing Jesus” however. He should know about that imbalance of power. He’s the clergyman who stood with the Occupy Seattle folks and ended up getting pepper sprayed. His gentle words and thoughts, alone, are not going to rescue Coexist Jesus, no matter how important he is to the world we all occupy together.

Rev Rich Lang, author of Left Wing Jesus

Healing a poor beggar lame from birth?

Peter and John healing a man lame from birth

Acts 3: Peter and John healing the lame beggar.

Sunday’s sermon was on the healing story in Acts 3. You probably know it. Peter and John command in Jesus’ name that a man born lame stand up. He does. He dances. Everyone’s amazed because a lame person is standing up and dancing. Faith healings often have people abandoning wheelchairs or throwing crutches to dance around stage as part of their “thing.” I’ve always been skeptical.
Continue reading

The American Taliban

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) (L) gives a thumbs-up after introducing former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) to speak to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, March 16, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR3F2ZKBefore September 2001, Americans mostly ignored the Taliban. A few noticed when they blew up two colossal statues of the Buddha in Bamiyan province, but otherwise we used them to weaken the Soviet Union.

There’s a similar religious organization in the US. The destruction of religious and cultural objects is one aspect of its agenda called “strategic level spiritual warfare” (SLSW).

Continue reading

Ecclesia semper reformanda est

ML95The German theologian, Karl Barth, first declared “the church is always to be reformed” in 1947, but the idea goes back to the great Reformers; The Wesleys in the middle 1700s… Luther and others in the 1500s following the availability of printed Bibles. I, too, believe the Church needs to be constantly reforming itself back to First Principles and constantly adjusting itself to the dynamic world. Semper Reformanda Est.

Continue reading

Are there homosexuals in the Kingdom?

hqdefaultIt’s a charismatic church that seldom discusses policies or doctrines. The emphasis is the Kingdom, on earth as it is in heaven. They seek more. Worship is authentic and heart-felt. The community is warmer than most in the PNW. Calls to faith and repentance are left to the work of God’s Spirit, changing lives touched by Love.

Sounds perfect, you say?

Continue reading

40 Days

Tomorrow is Easter, and many Christians will celebrate the fear-ending news that when we die we get to go to heaven with Jesus.

I ask myself “How could the Church have gone so off the rails, be so far afield from what Jesus and the Early Church were all about?”  I think we need to reconsider all the Bible’s references to 40 days. In the case of Easter, many today ignore Lent or relegate it to some meaningless religiosity. Our culture skips Holy Week, attends the annual Easter Pageant complete with the Evangelical Rolling Stones. Colored eggs will be hunted, a family meal partook, and poor chocolate bunnies will be beheaded by toddler teeth. And poof! Jesus will have disappeared to sit in invisible realms with 24×7 harp music. Continue reading

Who do you say he is?

who-is-jesus-1-728

There is no historical record of Jesus of Nazareth. Don’t let those desperate to prove they picked the right church tell you otherwise. The Shroud of Turin is a fake. The graves, bones, stories of his supposed wife; all that stuff is props. The search for the Historical Jesus is pointless. We’d expect that a leader and teacher powerful enough to provoke a public death sentence and to have been raised from the dead would merit some mention by someone, friend, enemy, historian. There are stories of other “Messiah” figures with followers who were executed. But of Jesus? nothing.  Continue reading

A Mandate to Love

Today is Thursday of Holy Week, Maundy Thursday.

One of the most intimate worship experiences of my life was a Maundy Thursday.

It’s the least known and least attended of the Christian Holy Week worship opportunities. Those who long for intimacy and have not found it in traditional Christian worship have probably never participated in the Sacrament of Foot Washing.
christ-washing-the-feetChristians know the words of institution that start “On the night in which he was betrayed, our Lord Jesus…”  The Last Supper is part of Maundy Thursday, as is Jesus’ arrest. It’s a somber and dark liturgy that ends with the altar stripped, like Jesus was, a black-draped cross, and the congregation leaving in silence. Maundy Thursday ends with a “to be continued” but doesn’t start that way.

Continue reading

This is the day the Lord has made.

Some Psalms are sung at the various Jewish holidays every year. Music used in that way occupies a special place in minds and hearts. Think of cherished Christmas music. It becomes associated with a season, with the deeper meanings of the festival, and with how we feel hearing that music with family and friends, year after year.

Those Psalms are 113 through 118. It was Psalm 118 that the crowd sang as they lined the road down the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem, waving palms and laying their clothes on the path. That’s traditionally the song that follows the Passover Meal (the Seder). If you ever get a chance to share Seder, do it; from bitter tears and hard labor, praying for enemies, lifting the glass to honor the Almighty, the kids, the fun, and the one place set for “someday” when the Prophet Elijah will join the feast. It’s great symbolism, family time, and a time for hope. Jesus was headed into Jerusalem with the Passover Seder in mind and Psalm 118 echoing on the voices of his followers.

22 The stone which the builders refused is become the headstone of the corner.
23 This is the Lord‘s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.

24 This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
25 Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord.

Verse 25 is the word HOSANNA!
Verse 27 (the King James translators had trouble with it) describes palm fronds tied to poles the same height as the altar to make a “booth” as in Succoth.

The last words Jesus would have heard as he entered the eastern gate to set up his kingdom would have been “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, and his mercy endures forever.”

tumblr_mdgemc5esp1r2y5tjo1_1280