Jesus for President (JFP): Section !

"Jesus for President" isn't the latest fundamentalist cliche' to get people to hate Obama. This book is a paradigm shaker... and one of the first for our generation. JFP is about questioning our love triangle which has forced Jesus/Church, the State and Us into unholy matrimony. I am a bit skeptical at this point because our state is literally made up of us. "We the people" are the federal government and so it would be hard to see us apart from ourselves. But I love the idea and know a bit about the author to know that his view about being set apart has not kept him from some Holy mischief and protesting injustice, voting and counseling presidents. The point of this book is very clearly laid out, "This book is a project in renewing the imagination of the church in the United States and of those who seek to know Jesus" (p. 17).

Section 1
"We hear people talk about 'the man' or 'the system,' but the prophets talked about 'the beast.' The images of the beasts remind us that these creatures have mutated far from what God intended, even compared with the most savage of the wild animals. These aren't snakes or scary grizzlies; these are demonic monsters of terror. The beasts are the manifestations of those systems of imperial power that had become so corrupt that they were only mutations of things made by God. The beasts of the prophets were not animals but fantastic, horned, flying, fire-breathing monsters, as if to say that these powers and empires had grown so far from God's original creation that they had ceased to be human, natural, or a part of the divine order. They no longer reflected God's image or goodness. They were dehumanized systems that no longer had life or love or beauty in them and no longer did anything that humans were created to do, like love and be loved" (pp. 42-43, images of "the beasts" can be found in: Daniel 7:7 & Revelation 12:3).

This idea of the prophets railing is not something new to me. I knew that they were often the first to fight injustice and spread the peace of God. But the idea of them railing against the empire is very exciting. To rail against hunger is simply getting mad at the symptom. To rail at the empire, the system that justifies, promulgates, and promotes injustices with it's systems they call just is the problem. We even uphold capitalism (competition for privatized resources) as if were the gift of God, as just as it can be. We qualify it with meritocracy (equal opportunity) but it all falls so very short. We can say things like, "How dare the government take my hard earned money." This is wrong on so many levels. First, we are the government, the people have spoken no matter who you voted for, we are giving our money through self-taxation to relieve suffering and make sure there is no poor which are both goals of Christ. But then we have the audacity to believe the lie of meritocracy, that we have equal opportunity. We will say, "I shouldn't be penalized because: I went to school or I worked hard and made may way to the top. They could've done the samething, they just choose not too because they are: lazy, apathetic, just want a handout, have a mindset that they deserve it, etc."

This is the most dangerous type of thinking. It, first, separates and create division between Christ's creation. This is the exact purpose of Capitalism. If we have to compete for resources and jobs, then we forget that we are one and we remian disunified. Why do you think business pays so much money to fight unions, to keep union legislation to be passed, to keep us competing and selfish? Secondly, it is a lie. We don't have the same opportunities. Our schools, from the earliest grades, are different, segregated, and class based. In my own home town, everyone knows that Ophir is where the smart, rich kids go. I went to the poor schools, in a poor part of town, in an already poverty stricken town. My wife has even had comments made to her about the school of her youth and how awful it was and how surpirsed they were for her to have come out of it so succesfully. Almost to insinuate that they have written 'those kids' off and expect very little from them. This is just a microcosm of the disadvantages faced by many. Poverty, gender, sexual orientation, race, age, who we know (networks), institutional affiliation all play a huge factor. Why do people want into Harvard? Why are there only men at the top of everything? Why is this our first multi-racial president?

God would give the Israelites all kinds of things to help them remember that they were once slaves in the empire and that they should stay away from it by following Him. He reminds them before the 10 Commandments. He gives them the year of the jubilee. He tells them in Deuteronomy 24:19-22, "When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow. When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this."

Yes, there are those who make it through. I am one. But I am an anomoly. I am an exception. Not because of anything I did, but because, I believe, that because I made the right friends in highschool, I have changed my social network and with the right clothes, I can blend in. Sometimes my tongue slips and this uneducated southern twang shows up, being raised by my uneducated mid-west and southern grandparents. This is a gift I will keep, for it will always keep me humbled and be a sign to me, from my Grandparents and God, to remember that I am not of the empire that tread so deeply in. That I am rescued at a high price and walk as an alien in this land.

May you see that you do not belong to the empire, that you have to live in the world but not be of it. May you not make the foolish mistake and say, "this is mine, how dare they," for God asked the farmer of his field to sacrifice much for those who had none because we too once had none and now have plenty. May you always remember that The Kingdom is much more important than our kingdoms as one produces love and peace and the other produces pride and violence. And may we always remember to distinguish and uphold the values of Christ's Kingdom, even though ours rarely does.

Blessings and Peace!

I thought this was hilarious


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